For the second straight year, the Golden State Warriors begin the season as odds-on favorites to win the NBA championship.
The last team, other than the Warriors, to be an odds-on favorite to start the season was the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan. That Bulls team was coming off a then-record 72-win season and was around a -125 favorite to win the championship the following year, according to oddsmakers.
This year's Warriors are around -240 favorites to win their third title in four years.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are next at 4-1. No other team has odds in the single digits at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
The Boston Celtics are 10-1, followed by the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs at 16-1. After that group of contenders, the Washington Wizards have the next-best odds at 40-1. More bets have been placed on the Celtics to win the NBA title than any other team at multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks.
While the Warriors have emerged as big favorites, sportsbooks have hung attractive enough odds to get bettors to bet against Golden State. At William Hill's 107 Nevada sportsbooks, seven teams -- including the Los Angeles Lakers -- have attracted more bets to win the NBA title than the Warriors. But the larger money is backing Golden State. In fact, 26.6 percent of the money bet on the NBA championship odds at William Hill is on the Warriors. That's more than double the amount that's been bet on any other team.
The Warriors (-225) are favored over the field (+195) to win the title in a proposition bet offered at William Hill books. As of Sunday, 90 percent of the bets and 98 percent of the money wagered on the prop were on the field.
The Westgate has taken 18 bets that the Warriors will not make the playoffs at 100-1, with the average amount wagered around $80, according to the assistant manager Jeff Sherman. The Warriors are -100,000 to make the playoffs. No one has bet on them at that price.
"Our worst-case scenario [on the playoff props] is if the Warriors miss the playoffs and the Lakers make the playoffs," Sherman said. "We don't need those two."
The Lakers are 5-1 to make the playoffs and -700 to miss the playoffs at the Westgate. The first 56 bets on the prop were on the "Yes," including some four-figure bets on the Lakers to make the playoffs. As of Sunday, there had been just two bets on the Lakers to miss the playoffs.
The NBA season tips off Tuesday with a doubleheader on TNT. The Cavaliers are 3-point favorites over the Celtics in the first game. The Warriors are 9.5-point favorites over the Rockets in the second game.