With all the chaos surrounding the Sixers and Bryan Colangelo right now, it's easy to forget the Sixers have a pretty bright future. They have two young stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and won their first playoff series since the 2011-12 season. Oh, and they have plenty of money to spend in the offseason. LeBron James did tell a joke at Colangelo's expense (see story), but that doesn't automatically mean he's crossed the Sixers off his list of possible destinations.
It looks like Vegas didn't let the Colangelo situation overshadow all the signs pointing to the Sixers being a contender next season. In Westgate Las Vegas' opening odds to win the 2019 NBA Finals, the Sixers are 7/2, tied for second-best with the Rockets and behind only the Warriors, at 5/4.
Below are Westgate's odds, courtesy of Keith Smith.
It's interesting to see Cleveland so far down the list at 30/1. While James certainly doesn't have the best supporting cast and the Cavs won't be in contention if he leaves (Westgate says the Cavs' odds will fall to 500/1 if LeBron signs elsewhere), those are very low odds for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
Seeing the Celtics have worse odds than the Sixers is a major surprise. Given that the Celtics beat the Sixers in the playoffs in five games without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, it's hard to fathom how the Sixers could have better odds than Boston. Unless the Sixers land James or perhaps another major name like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard, you'd think a healthy Celtics team would still have an edge over the Sixers.
But LeBron is the ultimate x-factor. According to Smith, the Celtics will have the best odds to win the Eastern Conference if James signs with anyone besides the Sixers. That basically means Westgate feels James' influence is large enough that, in a season where he turns 34, he would immediately transform the Sixers from the second or third-best team in the Eastern Conference to one of the top title contenders.
Earlier this week, a Supreme Court ruling came down that will revolutionize sports gambling in the United States.
And it’s all happening at a time when the Eagles are on top of the world.
While the Eagles have consistently had the second-best odds (after the Patriots) to win Super Bowl LIII since they won Super Bowl LII, they are the favorites to win the NFC East, according to Bovada.
Here are the full 2018 opening division odds:
The Vikings, Saints and Rams are the favorites to win the other NFC divisions.
If the Eagles are able to win the division in 2018, it’ll be the first time a team has won the NFC East in back-to-back seasons in over a decade. The Eagles were actually the last team to do it, winning the division for four consecutive seasons in the early 2000s (01-04).
In the 13 seasons since the 2004 season, the Eagles have won the division four times. The Cowboys have won it four times, the Giants three times and the Redskins twice.
It would buck the recent trend if the Eagles win the NFC East, but after winning 13 games last year and returning most of their starters from the Super Bowl — not to mention getting several key injured players back — the Eagles should have a pretty good shot.
The Eagles won 13 games last year and the next closest team was Dallas with nine wins. Washington (seven) and New York (three) combined to win fewer games than the Eagles. Really, it would be disappointing if the Eagles didn’t win the division.
The Eagles won’t field the same team in 2018, but they’re still the favorites to get back to the Super Bowl.
As they get ready to defend their championship this year, the Eagles have the best odds to win the NFC again in 2018, according to Bovada.
The Eagles’ odds to come out of the NFC are 5/1, followed by the Packers (6/1), Rams and Vikings (7/1) and the Saints (10/1).
The Packers are a bit of a surprise that high on the list after a 7-9 season in 2017, but they still have Aaron Rodgers, so that explains it close enough.
The next closest NFC East team is Dallas (14/1), followed by the Giants (22/1) and Washington (26/1).
Last season, the Eagles won 13 games and that was after they mailed in the meaningless regular season finale against the Cowboys. But it would be really tough to win 13 games again. In fact, according to Bovada, the Eagles’ over/under number for wins in 2018 is 10.
That doesn’t sound great, but it’s behind just the Patriots (11), who have won double digits for an incredible 15 straight seasons! Three other teams also have over/under numbers of 10: Packers, Vikings, Steelers.
As for the other three NFC East teams: Cowboys (8), Redskins (7) and Giants (6).