In late June, the Golden State Warriors secured their fourth NBA Championship in the last eight years when they took a 4-2 win over the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.
Looking at the makeup of the league for the 2022-23 season, the Warriors and Celtics could once again meet in the Finals. However, with the competition now in each conference, no two teams are a guarantee. It has been since the 1980s with Lakers and Celtics or Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 1990s since any team stood above everyone else in their conference’s playoffs or in the NBA Finals. Both Golden State and Boston are near the top of the odds boards again this season as NBA favorites. They sit tied with the Los Angeles Clippers at (+600).
The NBA Championship odds are obviously close as the season begins next Tuesday evening with the Nets (+700) and the Bucks (+800) rounding out the top five.
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NBA Championship Odds 2023
Golden State Warriors
Training Camp, fueled by @Gatorade pic.twitter.com/Ld0ivFbtiv
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 8, 2022
Warriors Can Once Again Be Championship Favorite With Solid Chemistry
As Golden State again will relish having Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, the familiarity these players have with each other and the key dynamics of those games are sometimes two entities that cannot be tamed. Add Andres Iguodala back into the picture and you find a total of only 31 players in NBA history who have won four titles with the same squad. This shows the expediency of how a group can depend on each other and their familiarity can work together to win titles.
The Warriors have proven an ability to win at such a high level behind coach Steve Kerr. Golden State has shown the ability to keep Kerr, who is looked at as one of history’s greatest coaches. He has the highest playoff winning percentage in the NBA in history as he has won 22 of the last 24 playoff series. Curry’s shooting ability is renowned as he is the best shooter in the game. However, as he is a superstar, he still accentuates a team-first attitude where he even came off the bench for the first four games in last season’s NBA Playoffs. He had missed the previous 12 with a left foot sprain.
As a defensive stopper, Green has made the All-Defensive Team in seven of the last eight years as he has made it to the first team on four of those occasions and the second team on three. Thompson could be evaluated as one of the most underrated players in the game. He is only a five-time all-star in five of his 11 seasons and he started 31 games last season by averaging 20.4 points per game as he shot 38.5 percent from three. Golden State’s NBA championship odds appear to offer value as they’re tied at the top of the best NBA betting sites.
Celtics are Ready for Another Run Despite Loss of Udoka on Bench
Boston still matches Golden State and Brooklyn with those (+600) NBA Championship odds. The Celtics’ potential comes up in spite of the loss of head coach Ime Udoka, but former West Virginia guard and Bob Huggins’ guard Joe Mazzulla will take over the reins.
When you look at the matchup, Jayson Tatum and Jaylin Brown are as tough of a one-two punch as you can find on any roster. Both players can score with immediacy as Tatum proved last year during the playoffs when he went from 35.3 percent in the regular season to 39.3 percent during the playoffs. He and Brown became only the fourth pair of NBA teammates in league history to record 50 points each in four different games in 2021-22.
Boston can burn up the three-point shot as it made 35.6 percent a year ago and they were first defensively as they gave up only 43.4 percent (1st/NBA) from the floor and 104.5 points per game (1st/NBA). They shoot 81.6 percent from the line (2nd/NBA), but need to get there more than 20.9 times (24th/NBA) per game.
🗣️ COUNT IT!
📺 @KTLA | @Reggie_Jackson pic.twitter.com/yrqqAeSd1W
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 10, 2022
Sailing those NBA Seas with the Clippers
Getting Kawhi Leonard back pushes the Clippers into the middle of where fans and ownership dreamed they would be when they brought him and Paul George together three seasons ago. As they add John Wall into the point guard position with Reggie Williams, it shows why sportsbooks have the Clippers posted with (+600) NBA Championship odds.
Many people forget that the Clips have had the third-best record in the NBA (.625) over the last 10 years. With the setting, adding Leonard back into the lineup makes LA a solid favorite as he is able to take over games and score repeatedly. George was also injured last season as he missed 43 games, but he is like Durant in that he can totally take game’s over with his scoring ability. Bringing point guard John Wall onto the scene makes the Clippers deep on the point with Reggie Williams. Wall will push the pace which will get Leonard going to the rim while George can drill the three alongside Williams.
He also is a tough cover for a point guard or a wingman who gets consistent shots. Last season’s statistics are interminable with all the injuries this team had but the Clippers were tough on the defensive end of the floor where they allowed opponents to shoot just 45 percent (6th/NBA).
Nets Preside On Solid Paths Toward NBA Title
The Brooklyn Nets (+700) and the Milwaukee Bucks (+800) are solid teams with the ability to crack into the Warriors, Celtics, and Clippers’ opportunities to win the NBA title.
Brooklyn was a solid team last season, but Kyrie Irving’s status in refusing to get his vaccine for covid created an extra storyline that the Nets didn’t need. Although Kevin Durant was stymied with an MCL injury, the Nets were able to make the playoffs where they were swept by the Celtics in the first round. Brooklyn shot 47.5 percent from the floor (4th/NBA), but without being able to rely on Irving’s presence, the Nets garnered a different personality than they would have had.
While they have the talent to make a deep run into the playoffs, the Nets are going to need a situation where the players converge and focus in their entirety.
The guys are vibing. pic.twitter.com/oVLAsRdHKw
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) October 11, 2022
Bucks’ Stability Puts Them Back in Title Conversation
Milwaukee (+800) is a more viable team to make a run into the NBA Finals with a stellar superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo, who shot 55.3 percent from the floor while leading Milwaukee with 29.9 points per game. The Bucks were upset in the second round by the Celtics, mainly because of Khris Middleton being out for the last 10 games of the NBA Playoffs with an MCL sprain in his left knee.
Middleton’s shooting prowess and his ability to find lanes to the basket keep his teammates in positions where they can make their own marks throughout the season or in an NBA playoff series. He is a consistent player on both ends of the floor and gives Antetokounmpo a legitimate threat to score and spread opposing defenses out to where they have to worry about defending both players.
Jrue Holiday was an underrated point guard for the Bucks last season as he led Milwaukee with 6.8 assists while shooting 41.1 percent from three. Bobby Portis may be one of the three toughest matchups on Mike Budenholzer’s roster as he shoots 53.3 percent from two and 39.3 percent from behind the three-point line. Milwaukee averaged 115.5 points per game (3rd/NBA) and totaled 46.7 boards per night (2nd/NBA) last season.
Suns Looking For Deeper Playoff Run
Phoenix (+1200) finished with the best record in the NBA last season at 64-18 as they outlasted many opponents with the top shooting percentage in the league at 48.5 percent.
The biggest key was getting Deandre Ayton back into the middle with a new four-year deal as veteran Chris Paul searches for his first NBA title while Devin Booker is one of the top shooters in the NBA with a 38.3 percentage from three-point land. The Suns will battle the Warriors as well as presumably the Clippers for supremacy in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference once again this season. Their odds to win the NBA Championship do offer value considering how talented they are.
Defensively, Phoenix has come a long way under coach Monty Williams as the Suns hold opponents to 107.3 points from the floor (8th/NBA) and they hold them to 44.4 percent (3rd/NBA) as well.
Sixers Look to Feature Embiid Deep in East
Philadelphia (+1500) center Joel Embiid has the overall talent to be a kingpin in a 76ers’ playoff run.
With his size and touch around the basket, the 76ers use his use as a focal point in their attack every night. Embiid’s size worked the 76ers’ shooters around the three-point line where they shot 36.7 percent in the league (7th/NBA).
Point guard Tyrese Maxey is close to bursting onto the scene as a superstar in the NBA as had the second-best points average (17.5 ppg) on the 76ers.
Bucks vs. Warriors Look Like Finals Matchup
Both teams have recent titles as the Bucks won two seasons ago with the Warriors winning last season. Milwaukee features a superstar in Antetokounmpo while the Warriors have, of course, Curry. The role players these teams have can pick up for the superstars even if they struggle.
Milwaukee returning Middleton to go with Giannis is a major entity because of his shooting ability. The viability of both of these teams is excellent, but take the experience of the Warriors for potentially one last NBA Championship with the 34-year-old Steph Curry as Thompson, Green, and Iguodala all are over 30 years of age as well.
Between the two, I like the Warriors to win a second consecutive title as their overall talent, depth and leadership is second to none.
NBA Championship Pick: