I'm not going to lie, one of my favorite parts about sports is placing the occasional wager on a game. No better way to generate interest in a match-up you might not care about than put some money on it. I can tell you from personal experience that it can make you care about professional snooker.
That said, I don't like to gamble on my own teams. I have an irrational fear that doing so would have an adverse effect on the team's juju. As if somehow my bet could disturb the forces of the universe to change the outcome of a game or season for the worse. So for the benefit of all in Clipper Nation, I won't be placing any wagers on the Clips this season. But I do think they are the best bet to win the 2014-2015 NBA Championship.
By saying best bet I don't mean I think they are the most likely to win. I mean to say that, risk versus reward, the Clippers are the smartest place to put your money. The standard line for the Clippers to win a chip on most betting sites and in Vegas is 10/1 (bet $100 to win $1,000). On odds alone it seems like a solid bet, but it looks even better when you look at the teams around the Clips.
The Cavs are the odds on favorite at 5/2 (bet $100 to win $250). I don't like this because I'm not sure how well Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will work together, especially under a first time NBA coach. While they certainly could pull it together for a title run, it's by no means as sure of a thing as those odds would portray.
The Spurs are next at 4/1 (bet $100 to win $400). This would be the most sensible bet. Low risk. Solid but not too thrilling, kinda like the Spurs. There just isn't enough juice in this bet to move the meter for me.
After the Spurs come the Bulls and the Thunder - both at 11/2 (bet $100 to win $550). I must say I am baffled by bookmakers' odds for the Bulls. I just don't have that much faith in Derrick Rose's knees nor the feet of Pau Gasol. As for the Thunder, I'm just not a believer in Scott Brooks. I have trouble seeing OKC bringing home a title with Brooks steering the ship.
Now we have the Clippers, who can win you almost double to quadruple what the preceding teams can. I for one do not think any of those teams have that much better a shot at taking home Larry, except maybe for the Spurs. The Clippers are now in their second year under Doc with a core who already know the system. While we lost a few great assistant coaches, one could argue we brought in even better ones. The addition of Spencer Hawes could prove to be the best signing of the summer and the team has great chemistry on and off the court.
The next teams after the Clippers are the Mavericks and Rockets at 20/1 (bet $100 to win $2,000) and the Warriors at 25/1 (bet $100 to win $2,500). The Rockets will miss Chandler Parsons; I think they will have a hard time making up for his absence. Also, if James Harden doesn't decide to play defense, they won't go very far in the playoffs. Conversely, I don't think Parsons will do enough on the Mavericks to make up for the loss of Shawn Marion and Vince Carter. While the Mavs do have a championship pedigree and the 20/1 is tempting, I don't think it is worth the risk. The Warriors have a first time coach with a vastly different style than his predecessor, so who knows how that will go over in the locker room and on the court.
After the Warriors you just get into long shots. While anyone could theoretically catch lightning in a bottle and win a championship against enormous odds, it's too unlikely to properly justify betting on with any actual hope of winning.
So there you have it, why the Clippers are the best bet to win the 2014-2015 NBA Championship. Who would you put your money on?