The Golden State Warriors are going to be favored in every series they are in, by a fairly large margin. They are the best team in the league with the most talent and homecourt advantage. They should dominate every series on their way to a title, if things were just about what’s on paper. No matter what we learned last year about how sports are defined by teams defying the odds, the odds still are what they are.
And man, are the odds in the Warriors’ favor this year.
Let me break that down for you. Vegas is saying:
Cavs-Raptors: “Well, the Cavs are heavy favorites, and it would be shocking, but sure, there’s a scenario where the Raptors win.
Spurs-Rockets: “San Antonio is better, but Houston is in this thing.”
Celtics-Wizards: “Well, Boston took Game 1 and Markieff Morris is hurt, so yeah, they’re good favorites, but these are two good teams.”
Warriors-Jazz: “It is more likely that the sun explodes than the Utah Jazz beat the Warriors four times out of seven games.”
That’s a 17-to-1 return on the Jazz to win. To make money on the Warriors winning, you pretty much have to mortgage your home and sell a kidney. Which is appropriate, as that is the going rate for a two-bedroom in the Bay Area at this point.
That is a wild disparity between Golden State and the other favorites. They are almost 10-times-the-favorite that the Cavs are, vs. what you could argue is a better Jazz team. But then again, the Jazz were wiped off the mat by the Warriors in the regular season (though almost never at full health) and the Cavaliers have been cavalier about their defense. The Spurs won 60-plus games and are only minus-250.
Golden State should beat the Jazz, no question. You can read our predictions for the second-round here . But these numbers show that the idea of the Warriors being considered as close to “unbeatable” as you can get isn’t just a narrative constructed by analysts and writers. It’s a real construct. Though it should be noted …
Either way, the Warriors are facing unbelievable expectations, and, viewed from this lens, the Jazz really have nothing to lose.