The NBA Playoffs have just got underway, and basketball fans will be engrossed in the action on the court for the next couple of months.
The Eastern and Western Conference champions will meet in the NBA Finals in July, but the betting market for the outright champions is already heating up.
Still, which sides should fans be most intrigued by at this early stage of the playoffs?
The Brooklyn Nets have been the team that most gamblers have decided to stick with throughout the second half of the regular season and into the playoffs, and in truth, it isn’t hard to see why.
Brooklyn are getting stronger with every passing month, and if they can keep their spine of talented players fit and healthy, then it would be incredibly hard to look past them winning the NBA this season.
Bigger challenges could come later in the Eastern Conference playoffs, as there could be a huge showdown against the Milwaukee Bucks, but they look primed to reach at least the finals.
James Harden’s arrival from the Houston Rockets has been the biggest factor behind their success, as he has averaged 24.6 points per game, and 10.9 assists per game. There is a reason why he is included in the Top 5 best shooting guards in NBA history according to TwinSpires Edge list.
Coupled with the star power of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets have everything that you would expect from an NBA champion this season.
Los Angeles Lakers
There will be some fans that will still feel as though the defending champions are the team to beat in the NBA this season. The Lakers have had a tougher season this term compared to last and needed to squeak into the playoffs through the play-in tournaments.
However, unlike many of the other leading contenders, the Lakers have a killer instinct when it comes to the playoffs, and their experience from 12 months ago will leave them in good stead for another charge towards the title.
The Western Conference is the more difficult division to call in the post-season, but the Lakers certainly looked to have got their mojo back in their recent win against the Phoenix Suns.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis were both in good form in that win, as they scored 23 and 34 points, respectively. It would be difficult to rule out any side with the number of winners that the Lakers have, and with a fully fit LeBron, they are certainly in a strong position to go far.
The Utah Jazz remain a popular pick for the outright winners of the NBA despite enduring a difficult start to the playoffs. Utah caught many by surprise throughout the regular season, as they produced an excellent campaign to top the Western Conference.
They achieved one more win than the Phoenix Suns, and ten more than the Lakers. Obviously, playoff basketball is completely different from the regular season, but the Jazz certainly still have all the tools needed to go deep in the playoffs this season.
Their record with home court advantage was excellent during the regular season, as they lost just five of their 36 games, which was an NBA-leading record. The Jazz have a number of players that are averaging over ten points per game, and that is a huge plus for the playoffs.
Donovan Mitchell leads the way with 26.4 points per game, while Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic are averaging 18.4 and 17.0 points per game, respectively. Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, and Joe Ingles are also players averaging more than ten points per game so far this season in the NBA.