By Mark Strotman | | 8 mins
Golden State Warriors Title Odds Surge As NBA Elite Struggle
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It didn’t take long for the Golden State Warriors to prove they’re back among the elites of the NBA. Powered by a strong MVP-like start from Steph Curry and contributions across the board, Golden State has raced out to a 5-1 start and has seen its NBA title odds shrink from +1100 to +850 in a span of two weeks at sportsbooks.
What’s caused this surge and is there still value to be had at NBA betting sites?
Other Contenders Stumble In October
The Warriors have seen their NBA futures improve because of their own play, but other contenders’ slow starts have also contributed. Excluding Golden State, the top six title contenders by title odds were a combined 21-18 in October.
Odds via BetMGM and current as of publication.
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We expect that teams such as the Nets and Lakers will eventually right the ship and be fine come playoff time, but the Warriors aren’t even at full-strength and already look like one of the league’s best. That’s great news for Steve Kerr’s group, and bettors may want to jump on these NBA odds before they shrink even further once Thompson is back in the mix.
Warriors Defense Keys Title Odds Surge
The Warriors made the NBA Finals each year from 2015-2019. And while their high-flying offense led by the Splash Brothers made the headlines, it was their defense that really made them an historic group. In those five seasons, the Warriors finished first, sixth, second, 11th and 11th in defensive efficiency — and they’re back at it again in 2021.
Through six games, the Warriors’ 98.7 defensive rating is fifth best in the league — and a better mark than any of their title-winning teams. While they’re not that good, the Warriors certainly look like a defense worthy of a championship. It’s tough to say what Klay Thompson will look like when he returns, but he’s a premier defender at his position — so this group is only going to get better. Betting sites could trim these odds further.
The offense is lagging behind only slightly, ranking 11th in efficiency behind Curry’s scoring. They haven’t exactly played the toughest defenses in the league, but they put up 121 points on the Lakers and 115 on the Clippers, and we’re never going to worry about an offense when it has Curry at the helm. That offense is going to truly explode if Thompson can return to his old self, but Golden State has to be happy with what it’s done thus far.
That combination has given Golden State a sparkling 7.8 net rating (fourth in the NBA). They’re one of the best teams in the NBA, and they’re getting it done on both ends: Only the Warriors, Heat, Jazz and Blazers have top-11 offenses and defenses.
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Curry’s Got It Going – And Now He’s Got Help
Curry won the scoring title last season, but he still felt undervalued. Perhaps it was because Golden State was seventh in the West and didn’t advance past the play-in tournament, but Curry was great last season and has kept that momentum going. He’s averaging 28.7 points, 6.5 assists, and a career-high 7.5 rebounds. He’s shooting nearly 40% on a laughable 13.0 3-point attempts per game, and he’s made 33 of 34 free throws for good measure.
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So, what’s different this season? His supporting cast has taken a step forward. Draymond Green remains a perfect complement to Curry’s game and is a defensive whiz, and Andrew Wiggins is a consistent third scorer. It’s the guys such as Jordan Poole (14.0 points, 4.0 assists) and Damion Lee (14.0 points, 46.2% 3FG), who have both made solid jumps, and reliable vets Otto Porter (43.8% 3FG) and Nemanja Bjelica (5.8 points, 5.7 rebounds), who round out the rotation to perfection.
When Thompson and blossoming sophomore James Wiseman return, this roster could realistically go 10 players deep.
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