NBA & NHL Futures Report
February 7, 2013
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The NHL and NBA are the only professional sports leagues in town now that Super Bowl 47 has come and gone, meaning it’s time to look ahead and other cities that could see a victory parade in the coming months.
NBA Future Title Odds
Nobody is surprised to see the Miami Heat leading the way at 12-5 as they look to be on the path to repeat. LeBron is simply the best player in the game and is virtually un-guardable. For a team to beat Miami they will need to have a dominant defensive scheme the way Dallas did when they beat Miami, but even then nothing will come easy. Miami’s biggest threat in the East has got to be Indiana (30-1) because the Pacers are 2-0 SU vs. Miami already this year and learned a lot from playing them in the playoffs a season ago.
Over in the West, San Antonio and OKC are co-favorites at 5-1 respectively and it’s tough to envision one of those two in the Finals. The Spurs championship window is closing fast with Duncan, Ginobli and Parker all on the wrong side of 30, but experience and leadership pays off in the playoffs and the Spurs are one of the richest teams in that department.
Oklahoma City will likely be back to multiple Finals in the Durant era and he should be able to get a ring or two. But it will be interesting to see how this team does in the playoffs without the grit of Harden coming off the bench as they have been lacking that physical play already at times this year.
A longshot to keep in mind are the aforementioned Indiana Pacers (30-1). The Pacers have been absolutely dominant at home and Paul George has emerged into an elite scorer in this league. They have one of the top defenses in the league and are showing recently that they can win in a fast-break, shootout type game too. They understand how to beat the East’s best (Miami, Chicago) and have more than enough size to compete with all the big men out West.
NHL Stanley Cup Odds
The NHL season is only a few weeks old but already Pittsburgh (6-1), Boston (6-1), Chicago (7-1) and San Jose (8-1) have shown that they have a strong desire to hoist Lord Stanley this spring. All four of these teams have enough scoring talent up front to bury teams at any point and also never be out of a game if they are trailing. Combine that with solid goaltending on each front and it would be surprising not to see two of these four in the Finals come June.
There are a few other teams to keep your eye on and they include L.A. (16-1), Anaheim (20-1) and Tampa Bay (30-1).
L.A. has gotten off to a bit of a slow start but we all saw how strong they finished the year a season ago and the experience of winning a Cup is a tremendous confidence boost going forward. They have a tough division to get through (San Jose, Anaheim), but they are the most sound defensively of those teams and it is defense that wins championships.
Anaheim and Tampa Bay are longer shots and I believe they both have a good shot at making a deep playoff run. The Lightning are only two years removed from an Eastern Conference Finals appearance and appear to have solved their goalie issues by bringing in Lindback. With Lecavalier, St Louis and Stamkos up front they can score with anyone and have proven it already this year.
Anaheim is a similar case as Perry, Getzlaf, Ryan and Selanne are the core of this team that can produce at any moment. G Hiller has been inconsistent so far in his career but when he is on, he stops everything and the Ducks have shown recently that they have no problem winning those 2-1, 3-1 type games. This team still has quite a few holdovers from their Stanley Cup win back in 2006 and with that experience, 20-1 isn’t a bad price at all.