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August 2, 2014

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Sports books favor Heat to win next year’s NBA title but Clippers moving up

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Miami Heat players pose as they are introduced, Monday, June 24, 2013 during a celebration for season ticket holders at the American Airlines Arena in Miami. The Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 in Game 7 to win their second straight NBA championship.

The Miami Heat’s championship parade drew to a close Monday in a fashion typical for these types of celebrations — with talk of next season.

The back-to-back NBA champions fielded questions about potentially pulling off the first three-peat in more than a decade next season. Las Vegas has answers, or at least valuable insight into the likelihood of it happening.

Sports books all around the valley posted future odds to win next year’s NBA championship after Miami downed San Antonio in game seven of the finals last Thursday.

Oddsmakers think the Heat’s chances are high, even higher than they were to repeat a year ago when Miami brushed aside Oklahoma City in five games.

At the LVH Superbook, the Heat are listed at 2-to-1 to win the 2013-2014 NBA Finals. They opened a tad lower, at plus-175 (risking $1 to win $1.75), before oddsmakers adjusted.

Four other teams are offered at 10-to-1 or less. The Thunder, coming off of a season where they posted the best against the spread record in the league, are the second choice behind the Heat at 9-to-2 odds.

The return of Russell Westbrook, who suffered a torn meniscus in the first-round playoff series against the Rockets, is expected to bolster the Thunder. The other headliner coming off of knee surgery next year is 2011 NBA MVP Derrick Rose.

Rose’s Bulls are tied with the Spurs at 7-to-1 to earn the next Larry O’Brien Trophy. It’s worth noting that Rose led the Bulls to a better regular-season record than eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami for two straight years.

The Los Angeles Clippers moved further into the title conversation with yesterday’s acquisition of coach Doc Rivers. They shifted from 15-to-1 to 10-to-1 with the hire.

Rivers’ old squad, the Boston Celtics, dropped drastically from 40-to-1 to 60-to-1 with the clear signal of rebuilding underway.

Click to enlarge photo

Chris Paul cuts through the Canadian defense during Team USA practice in this file photo.

The only team below the Celtics that didn’t make the playoffs this year is the Dallas Mavericks, which are 40-to-1 despite a mediocre 41-41 season.

Dallas is among the teams with the most salary cap space to sign free agents this offseason, which helps explain its relatively low number.

Chris Paul and Dwight Howard are the headliners of the free-agent class. The Atlanta Hawks are the only team with enough money to add both, but their 50-to-1 odds reflect the dual signings are far beyond a long shot.

Paul is likely sticking with the Clippers, another reason that they’ve joined the elite on Las Vegas betting boards.

Conference runner-ups Indiana and Memphis are 15- and 20-to-1 to win next year’s title, respectively.

Look below for the full list of odds to win the 2013-2014 NBA title courtesy of the LVH Superbook.

Heat — 2-to-1

Thunder — 9-to-2

Bulls — 7-to-1

Spurs — 7-to-1

Clippers — 10-to-1

Pacers — 15-to-1

Grizzlies — 20-to-1

Knicks — 20-to-1

Lakers — 25-to-1

Nuggets — 25-to-1

Warriors — 25-to-1

Rockets — 25-to-1

Mavericks — 40-to-1

Hawks — 50-to-1

Nets — 60-to-1

Celtics — 60-to-1

Jazz — 100-to-1

Blazers — 100-to-1

Timberwolves — 100-to-1

Pelicans — 100-to-1

Kings — 100-to-1

Cavaliers — 100-to-1

Wizards — 100-to-1

Raptors — 100-to-1

76ers — 100-to-1

Bucks — 100-to-1

Suns — 300-to-1

Pistons — 300-to-1

Magic — 500-to-1

Bobcats — 500-to-1

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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