Now that the dust has settled from the NBA All-Star Game between teams captained by LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, almost all of the attention that basketball continues to attract will be switched back to the NBA.
Team Giannis had managed to record a 184-175 victory over Team LeBron in the annual game, however while it was packed with star-studded talent across the court, none of it will matter to many of the sport’s fans.
Race to the NBA Playoffs Continues to Hot Up
Indeed, at this point of the NBA season, many will be more focused on how the teams that they support are doing and what their chances of reaching the postseason and competing for the NBA Championship are looking like.
The league – which will return with matches on Thursday, February 23 following a short break – has simply been hotting up with each fixture and round being played. There are teams like Giannis’ Milwaukee Bucks who are seemingly dominating, while the Boston Celtics have been a little inconsistent over the course of 2023 despite a very strong start to the overall campaign.
Of course, there are a number of teams that simply do not look like they will be involved in the race, and their time on the court will come to an end at the conclusion of the regular season. The San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets have had horrible seasons in the Western Conference this year, with both franchises on losing streaks of 14 and seven respectively, seemingly unable to buy a win at this moment. The Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference are also enduring a torrid time, with the iconic organization on a six-game losing streak, too.
Nonetheless, while these teams do not look set to compete in the NBA postseason, there are many that will be focusing on those who are most likely to do so. In fact, many are already looking to try and make their predictions about which teams could be the favorites to win the NBA Championship this season.
Who Are The Favorites According to FiveThirtyEight’s Statistical Model?
With the help of FiveThirtyEight – a statistical analysis website – fans are able to get a math-based idea about the likelihood of a certain outcome taking place. This resource can be a great way for sports fans and even betting enthusiasts to try and make predictions regarding what could happen.
Indeed, with sports betting on the rise across the US, there has been plenty more attention on the race for the NBA Championship with states nationwide having legalized the activity over the last handful of years.
One such operator to have emerged as a big and established brand for sports wagering is Caesars, with the sportsbook continuing to offer a number of competitive markets and odds across all sports, including basketball. Furthermore, incentives that can be unlocked using the Caesars Sportsbook Promo Code available to players are also possible to utilize, which has made wagering on competitions such as the NBA even more appealing and attractive than ever before.
As a result of the emerging sports betting industry in America, statistical analytics provided by organizations including FiveThirtyEight has become more and more useful. So, who have they predicted are the favorites to win the 2023 NBA Championship?
Despite having mentioned that they are currently being rather inconsistent, the Boston Celtics still appear to be the main favorites to win the 2023 NBA Championship at this stage of the season. They have been given a 37% chance of making the finals, while also being handed a 23% probability of winning the event!
Of course, the team’s fast start to the season has clearly helped as it gave the team some leverage in the Eastern Conference. They remain top of the division as they have a winning percentage of 0.712, and sit 0.5 games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics reached the NBA Finals last year but were beaten by the Golden State Warriors 4-2 despite having led 2-1 in the series. Stars such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be doing their best to ensure that they return to the Championship Series and go one step further.
Given their position in the league – and the fact that they are on an impressive 12-game winning streak – it is hardly a shock that the Bucks are also considered to be one of the main favorites. A 28% chance of reaching the final has been predicted, while a 17% chance of winning has been projected.
With superstars on the team like Giannis, anything is truly possible; especially as losing does not appear to be in the playbook at the organization presently.
Denver Nuggets & Memphis Grizzlies
While it would seem that the Eastern Conference has the best chance of having a team crowned the 2023 NBA Champions, two Western Conference teams are also thought to be contenders when looking at FiveThirtyEight’s algorithm.
Of course, there will be a franchise from the west in the NBA Finals, but this year it would seem it could be either the Denver Nuggets or the Memphis Grizzlies. Both teams have been performing well throughout the campaign and both have been impressed with the results that have been obtained.
According to the data, the Nuggets are believed to have the best chance of winning out of the two, as they have a 29% chance of reaching the Finals with a 15% probability of winning. The Grizzlies sit back a little further at 21% and 10% respectively.
Still a Long Way to Go
With 20+ games still to go for each organization, there is still a very long way to go in the 2022/23 NBA season. This does mean that there is still a lot that can happen, which can ultimately have a significant impact on the race for the postseason and, eventually, the NBA Finals.
The Celtics and the Bucks from the Eastern Conference certainly look like the hottest teams in the entirety of the NBA at the moment, though, and it would not be a surprise if they were to come out victorious once all is said and done.
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