Kevin Durant’s knee injury has created concern around Golden State for the first time all season. After preaching patience to start the year, the Warriors super-team featuring four All-Stars was cruising along with the NBA’s best record through the break, but with Durant now out at least a month with a sprained MCL, there’s a bit of uneasiness in the Bay.
The oddsmakers have taken note of this, but aren’t swinging the odds away from the Warriors favor despite the injury. Durant is still expected back for the playoffs, possibly before the regular season ends, and they remain the heavy favorites to take home the title in 2017. The injury caused Bovada to move the line on the Warriors winning the title from -175 (4/7) to -150 (2/3), but it wasn’t significant enough to cause a sizable shift.
While the Warriors’ odds didn’t see much change, the gap between Golden State and other contenders got tighter. The Celtics saw the biggest move over the course of February, as Boston went from 33-1 odds to 16-1 as of March 1. The Spurs (7-1) and Rockets (14-1) also crept up on the Warriors in the odds released following Durant’s injury. The Cavs, despite signing Andrew Bogut and Deron Williams, saw their odds remain close to the same at 3-1, after getting up to 13-5 to start February, prior to Kevin Love’s injury.
As for the races to make the NBA Finals, the Cavs remain heavy favorites in the East at 1/3, but the Celtics (7-1) and Wizards (10-1) have come closer to Cleveland, while the Raptors have dropped to 15-2. Golden State remains a 2-5 favorite in the West, but the injury leaves a little more doubt in the oddsmakers minds as the Spurs now have 13-4 odds to make it to the Finals.