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Wiggins return boosts Warriors’ championship odds

Golden State may be sixth in the Western Conference standings, but they’re third when it comes to title odds

Washington Wizards v Golden State Warriors
Andrew Wiggins smiles, thinking about bettors winning money on the Warriors
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Andrew Wiggins’ return has dramatically increased the Golden State Warriors’ playoff ceiling. Though he won’t be back for the regular season, Wiggins remains on track to be ready for the start of the playoffs - especially if the Warriors can stay out of the play-in and give themselves an extra four days of rest and ramping up.

If that happens, the oddsmakers like the chances of the Warriors advancing to the Finals as well as all but two teams in the Western Conference. We’ll get into the specifics below, but it’s safe to say that the gamblers believe in the actual Warriors dynasty more than they do the theoretical Memphis Grizzlies dynasty. And based on the odds, Nikola Jokic has roughly the same chance at catching Joel Embiid in the MVP race (+1200) than his Denver Nuggets do of winning the championship. (+1000).

DraftKings Odds

The Warriors’ chances of clinching a playoff spot really improved thanks to two different injury reports. First, the Bucks ruled their entire starting lineup out for Friday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, who need just one win to clinch the two seed in the West.

Perhaps in response to that news, the Sacramento Kings decided that nearly their entire rotation was “questionable” for the Warriors game Friday night.

The betting line for that game has jumped from Warriors -4.5 to Warriors -9.5 since Tuesday. 79% of the handle is on the Warriors, while 80% of the money for the Bucks game was wagered on the Grizzlies.

While the Warriors need two wins to guarantee their playoff spot, their final game comes against the Portland Trail Blazers, who are tanking so hard they’re starting players people have never heard of.

Yes, Portland is starting a Skylar, a Jeenathan, and a Trendon, all in the same game. The Clippers and Warriors each have a game against the Blazers, and Portland wants to lose and preserve their fifth-worst record even more than the Dubs and Clips want to win.

As a result, the Warriors are +1300 to win it all, just behind the Nuggets. Denver is 10.5 games ahead of Golden State, but there’s two factors making the odds close. First, the Warriors beat the Nuggets in five games last year, albeit against a team without Jamal Murray or Michael Porter Jr. Second, the Warriors are on the opposite side of the playoff bracket from the Phoenix Suns, who are undefeated when Kevin Durant plays and +450 to win it all.

On the Warriors’ side? The feel-good Sacramento Kings, who the gamblers do not believe in whatsoever - they’re +7000 to win the title. For comparison, that’s about the same as the preseason title odds for the New York Knicks (+6600), who were projected to win 38-39 games. (The Knicks are 100-1 to win it all, even as the five seed in the East)

Waiting behind the Kings is the Grizzlies, who are +1600, perhaps because bettors are afraid of their potential matchup with the Lakers (also +1600), who likely have to get through at least one play-in game to even make the playoffs. LA has been really good since the trade deadline and LeBron James’ return from injury, but James and D’Angelo Russell are both playing on injured feet, and Anthony Davis is, well, Anthony Davis.

So while the Warriors are only the third-favorite to win it all from the West, the two teams just behind them in the odds have to play each other before facing the Dubs, as do the two teams just ahead of them in the odds.

Look, the Kings might well light the beam Friday and blow this all up. Or they could triumph in a first-round series that starts a civil war along Interstate 80, with Fairfield turning against Vallejo. But as of now, the Warriors have far better title chances than any 42-38 team could reasonably hope for.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.

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