Lakers move up NBA championship odds after LeBron James’ decision

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It’s important to remember the Golden State Warriors’ toughest challenge is just getting out of the Western Conference.

While four-time all-star forward DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins likely won’t suit up for Golden State until late in the regular season as he rebuilds strength in a surgically repaired Achilles tendon, his signing has moved the Warriors into minus money on the NBA futures.

The two-time defending champion Warriors are a -175 favorite on the NBA championship odds for 2019 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. However, the balance of power in the NBA has moved even farther westward with LeBron James joining the Los Angeles Lakers, so it’s not a sure thing that the Warriors will be able to run a gauntlet through the conference to play in the NBA Finals for the fifth season in a row.

In both 2016 and 2018, the Warriors went the full seven games in the Western Conference Finals, going a combined 5-0 when facing elimination. That’s a tough margin to live on, even for a dynasty that will soon trot out five all-stars with Cousins, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant.

James’ decision has led to the Lakers (+650) having the fourth-best odds, although Los Angeles will have to make further acquisitions – Kawhi Leonard, perhaps – in order to transform from a 35-win also-ran into a serious challenge to Golden State.

Unlike the Eastern Conference that James dominated for nearly a decade, there are more good teams to scale over on the climb to the top. The upshot of the Lakers drawing action is that it might protect the value on challengers that came almost sadistically close to making the 2018 NBA Finals.

The Boston Celtics (+550) were minutes away from the NBA Finals last season and are looking forward to a full season from small forward Gordon Hayward and point guard Kyrie Irving, who were out much of the season while their supporting cast gained valuable on-the-job experience.

The Houston Rockets (+600) also came close to dethroning the Warriors and their current odds to win the 2019 NBA championship are enticing since they have yet to make a major offseason move, as they still have to come to terms with center-forward Clint Capela, while also hoping to add veteran small forward Carmelo Anthony.

The Philadelphia 76ers (+1600) round out the top five and could be worth a flier in conference championship futures, where the Celtics will be favorites.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Philadelphia 76ers could be top contenders in the East for playoffs

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The new duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers have proved they are a top team in the league as they sit in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference below the Miami Heat. The NBA playoffs have now come into question as the league enters the last month of regular season play.

Vincent Goodwill tells Mike Smith and Michael Holley he’s not sold on the 76ers being a favorite in the Eastern conference, yet. Harden has scored over 25 points in his first three games with his new team and has formed a good connection on the court with possible NBA MVP candidate Joel Embiid.

With the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks right behind the 76ers in the Eastern Conference standings, the margin for error is getting thin for Philadelphia since Embiid and Harden are key players.

Have the Philadelphia 76ers shown they should be favorites in the East or do they need more time, especially with Harden still in his first couple weeks with the team?

 

How to watch the Battle Showcase Series: Live stream, TV schedule for this weekend’s basketball games

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JAN 18 Spalding Hoophall Classic
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Elite high school football and basketball games are headed to NBC Sports and Peacock, starting with the Battle Showcase Series this weekend at Florida Memorial University. On Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10 seven highly anticipated basketball matchups will take place. See below for the full schedule and additional information on how to watch the games.

Headlining this weekend’s competition is a match-up between Vertical Academy and the California Basketball Club as Mikey Williams, the country’s No. 2-rated high school junior and top player in the state of North Carolina, faces UCLA commit Amari Bailey and LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. That battle will take place on Saturday, October 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Both teams will compete again on Sunday, October 10. Vertical Academy will face Life Christian Academy at 2:00 p.m. ET on Peacock, and the California Basketball Club will battle the KT Kings at 5:00 p.m. ET on Peacock.

Then, on Thursday, October 14 the inaugural Battle Football Showcase is set to take place on NBCSN featuring top high school quarterback Arch Manning, the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and New York Giants two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning, and grandson of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning. Manning and the Isidore Newman School will face St. Charles Catholic, their in-state rival, at 7:00 p.m. ET. Live stream will be available via the NBC Sports App.


How to watch the Battle Showcase Series:

*All times are listed as ET

Saturday, October 9:

3:00 PM, Game 1: Rip City (NSU University School) vs Life Christian Academy – Peacock

4:30 PM, Game 2: The High (Miami Senior) vs KT Kings (Calvary Christian) – Peacock

6:00 PM, Game 3: The Explorers (Christopher Columbus) vs The View (Riverview) – NBCSN

8:00 PM, Game 4: California Basketball Club (Sierra Canyon) vs Vertical Academy – NBCSN

Sunday, October 10:

2:00 PM, Game 1: Vertical Academy vs Life Christian Academy – Peacock

3:30 PM, Game 2: The View (Riverview) vs Rip City (NSU University School) – Peacock

5:00 PM, Game 3: KT Kings (Calvary Christian) vs California Basketball Club (Sierra Canyon) – Peacock


How to watch the Battle Football Showcase:

  • Where: St. Charles Catholic High School in Laplace, Louisiana
  • When: Thursday, October 14
  • Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBCSN
  • Stream live: Watch live with the NBC Sports App