The second half of the lockout-shortened NBA season is about to start and teams are primed (hopefully) for the stretch run. Who will be the team left standing? Who will be the MVP?
NBA Championship Odds:
The Western Conference is more open than the East. If Miami doesn't make it the only other real competition is the Chicago Bulls. If the Knicks put everything together and many things break right they might be able to give one of those teams a fight, but it's a long shot. Chicago is 5/1 and New York 20/1.
One other big if, the Magic are rumored to be going after Steve Nash. I think it's unlikely, but if they did they would be in the mix. 35/1, if you believe Nash will get traded there is a great value.
There are some interesting long shots in the West. Spurs 14/1 and the Mavericks at 18/1 are both solid bets. The Spurs need the right match-ups and the Mavs seem to be on their way to putting together a strong second half. Dirk Nowitzki has found his legs, which makes Dallas dangerous.
The Memphis Grizzlies have stayed afloat without Zach Randolph, who is rumored to be back sometime this month. Z-bo returning makes their bench stronger moving Marreasse Speights as the first big to enter the game. The Grizz are a capable team as we saw last year in the playoffs when they knocked off the Spurs. At 50/1 they are the best pick of any of the teams 20/1 or higher.
LeBron James has the best odds at 1 to 2 and honestly he is the only person I would bet. He's having a historic season and the only way he doesn't win MVP is if a bunch of pompous people who have votes don't feel like voting for him.
There are four guys in the race for second - Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love in no particular order. If you want to throw Tony Parker in that group I understand your argument. Kobe is 9/2, Durant 6/1, Paul 9/1 and Love/Parker are 30/1.