The 2022 NBA season has less than 20 games before the highly-anticipated play-in tournament and ensuing playoffs begin.
This season has had no shortage of storylines, whether they be superstars on the move, the old guard producing historic scoring performances, or the younger generation applying pressure in the Most Valuable Player race.
What has been and remains the biggest story of the season, however, is determining who the 2022 NBA Finals champion will be; here is a look at the betting favorites in the latest odds update.
Phoenix Suns (+430)
The Phoenix Suns were representing the Western Conference in last year’s Finals and are ready to get back to the championship series once again. They have the league’s best record (51-13) and are have looked like the overall best team in basketball from the start of the season to the present day.
Chris Paul is out with a thumb injury. The analysts are expecting him to return for the playoffs, where he was highly successful last season. His running mate, Devin Booker, has provided steady scoring all year, while different role players such as Cameron Payne and Cameron Jonhson have taken turns stepping up in moments of need, with the latter just recently scoring 39 points and nailing a game-winning three.
Golden State Warriors (+450)
The Golden State Warriors have fallen to third in the Western Conference. But do not be fooled – once Draymond Green makes his imminent return from an injury that coincided with the Dubs’ recent struggles, they will be back to the team that looked like a championship contender for the entire first half of the season.
The biggest question marks surrounding the Warriors are, firstly, if Steph Curry’s three-point shooting slump will continue in the playoffs, and secondly, if Klay Thompson will be able to return to his past All-Star self, or if the time off and injuries have reduced him to just another contributing role player.
Golden State has an incredibly solid supporting cast but lacks size, which could make them vulnerable in certain matchups.
Brooklyn Nets (+600)
The Brooklyn Nets are the lowest-seeded teams amongst the favorites.
They are currently occupying the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference and facing two potential play-in games. They must win both games before they can even enter the playoffs. If they do make it in, however, all bets are off.
The Nets are now almost totally Kevin Durant reliant after James Harden was traded to Philadelphia and with Kyrie Irving still only being available for road games. However, they did get one notable role player in the Harden deal: Seth Curry.
Ben Simmons remains a much greater question mark because of his time off and previously fragile mental status. Brooklyn will not have much time to integrate him to the rotation before the postseason.
Milwaukee Bucks (+650)
The Bucks are the reigning NBA champions. They have been playing at a superior level as of late, putting a relatively wobbly start behind them. They have re-established themselves as the team to beat in the East.
Giannis Anteotkounmpo seems to sleepwalk his way to a line of 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per night. He will be feeding off the opportunity to match his back-to-back regular-season MVPs with consecutive Finals MVPs.
Philadelphia 76ers (+700)
Phili has what many are calling the best player duo in the league in Joel Embiid and James Harden, the latter of which is yet to lose in five games in a 76ers uniform.
The Sixers do not have an extraordinarily deep bench. They are depending on second-year guard Tyrese Maxey to continue his high-level play in the postseason as the third option, but they have looked exceptional since acquiring Harden.
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