Round one is nearly done, it’s time to see which of Europe’s finest will be most likely to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy. We’ll be checking out NBA odds over the course of the playoffs and right now the market is talking.
Cleveland and Russia’s Timofey Mozgov remains the European baller most likely to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Mozgov has been a difference maker for the Cavaliers and at +150 his Cleveland team are co-favourites with the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship at +150.
Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, and Marco Belinelli are the next most favoured Euros as their San Antonio Spurs are third favourites at +500. It’s a big drop from the front runners to the Spurs and that’s got far more to do with Golden State’s prowess than anything else. The Dubs have been immense on their own floor all season and with home court advantage throughout the playoffs, that 39-2 regular season home record is going to stand for a lot with bettors.
The drop-off in the West however is nothing compared to the East where the Chicago Bulls are the second best rated side at +800. Nikola Mirotic has been a revelation in Chicago this season and the former Real Madrid man knows how to put up gaudy stats. The concern veteran European viewers have over Mirotic is his ability to disappear when it comes to the really big games. In Mirotic’s defence, there is far less pressure on him to deliver in his role in Chicago and with veteran Spaniard Pau Gasol and France’s Joakim Noah alongside him he’s got the familiar talent needed to succeed. The Rockets are co-fourth favourites with he Bulls at +800.
Despite finishing with the best record in the East, the Atlanta Hawks are sixth favourites at +900. Regular BiE fans know this side loves Pero Antic but he’s not going to be the difference in these playoffs and Germany’s Dennis Schroeder is going to be far more important for the Hawks in their quest to prove the doubters wrong.
After the big six, it’s a big drop to the chasing pack. Marc Gasol and the Grizzlies remain unfavoured by bettors as they are way out at +1500 but anyone with a working pair of eyes know the younger Gasol brother and his Memphis brethren won’t be an easy out. The Clippers are also at +1500 at this stage of the post-season.
Bojan Bogdanovic and the Brooklyn Nets are all the way out at +30000 despite being tied at 2-2 in their series with the Hawks. The big problem for Brooklyn is that following an unimpressive regular season, the Nets won’t have home court advantage at any stage of the post-season irrespective of what happens. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are hanging in against the Bulls but like the Nets, the market doesn’t think they are going to hang around long in the post-season as they are way out at +30000 as well. The next Euro likely to bid adieu to the playoffs in the West however appears to be France’s Nicolas Batum as his Portland Trailblazers are way out at +30000 and in a 3-1 hole.
For my money, the smart bet has to be Mozgov but there’s a long road ahead.
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