Warriors, Spurs and Mavericks make up top five contenders according to latest Bovada odds…
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The Chicago Bulls have displaced the Cleveland Cavaliers as the favourites to win the 2014/15 NBA championship as the Cavs continue to struggle.
Cleveland began the season as favourites after the acquisitions of LeBron James and Kevin Love last summer, but injuries and teething issues have prevented them from reaching their full potential just yet.
While that could still change given there is ample time left in the regular season, it is felt that they still lack what is required for a legitimate title push in their first year together. However, the additions of JR Smith and Iman Shumpert could change things, particularly if they can fill the last gap and bring in some much-needed rim protection.
Nevertheless, the Bulls have overcome their own bumpy start to the season to emerge as the biggest competition to the Atlanta Hawks who are flying at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The Hawks really should be involved in this conversation given that they are picking up impressive road wins in the West, but there are still question marks over whether or not they have the talent and experience to make it count in a gruelling post-season run.
Meanwhile, it is far too difficult to predict who will survive in the Western Conference given the level of competition, but the Golden State Warriors are undoubtedly making a huge claim to be the best of the bunch.
Rookie coach Steve Kerr has guided them to a 27-5 start to the season and they look daunting both on offense and defense. However, with the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets all chasing them down, it is impossible to pick a team from that group.
Add to the mix the defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs, who will likely improve drastically when their injury woes ease, and it is a difficult task to pick out a contender to come through unscathed.
As a result, with Pau Gasol proving to be a huge addition as well as the successful return of Derrick Rose, the Bulls are emerging as a title favourite.
Factor in the improvement from Jimmy Butler and the development of rookie Nikola Mirotic, and it seems as though coach Tom Thibodeau has a fantastic opportunity to lead a team all the way this season.
Bovada latest odds (UK bookmakers differ):
Chicago Bulls 5/1
Cleveland Cavaliers 11/2
Golden State Warriors 11/2
San Antonio Spurs 11/2
Dallas Mavericks 15/2
Oklahoma City Thunder 15/2
Los Angeles Clippers 12/1
Toronto Raptors 16/1
Houston Rockets 18/1
Memphis Grizzlies 18/1
Portland Trail Blazers 18/1
Atlanta Hawks 22/1
Washington Wizards 25/1