ACC Tournament Favorites, Dark Horses and Prediction

Last season the Virginia Cavaliers won the ACC tournament. This season the Cavaliers won the regular season title and come in as one of the favorites to win the ACC tournament, which starts Tuesday in Greensboro. Many questions remain unanswered heading into the tournament. Virginia lost its last regular season game to Louisville, while Duke has played exceptionally well since losing two straight earlier in the season. Miami is looking for at least two wins to assure themselves of a spot in the NCAA tournament.



Virginia will be the No. 1 seed, but Duke heading into the tournament is the team to beat. With Tyus Jones running the show and Jahlil Okafor the sensational freshman center, the Blue Devils look tough to beat. Duke can be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a victory in the ACC tournament. The only concern with the Blue Devils is they are just 8 deep.


Virginia has the best defense in the nation with the exception of Kentucky with clutch offense that has kept them in the top 5 all season.


The Cardinals must be given credit as they lost starting point guard Chris Jones but have not let up. Montrezl Harrell is able to take control of games, while Terry Rozier is great with the game on the line.

Notre Dame

The Irish have not received that much attention since losing to Duke last month, but with Jerian Grant, a great player no one talks about and Pat Connaughton the Irish can win the big games. Bonzie Colson has come on of late down low and at the wing making them even more dangerous on the offensive end.

Dark horses:

North Carolina, North Carolina State and Miami

Most on the Line:

Miami needs at least two wins to have a good shot at making the NCAA tournament field. NC State should make it as long as they are not routed in a game in this tournament. Both Duke and UVA are playing for possible No. 1 regional seeds, though both could get one.


The Syracuse Orange are gone due to a self imposed ban for the postseason even prior to the harsh penalties set down last week by the NCAA. The 2-3 suffocating zone will not be missed, but the talented Jim Boeheim on the Orange bench will be.

Look for Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame and Louisville to reach the semifinals with Duke and Virginia playing in the finals.


Duke 69-63

Road Dogs in the Spotlight Today in the NBA

Tim Duncan and the Spurs host the Chicago Bulls today in the Lone Star State.

I’m looking at three games in the National Basketball Association that have playoff and playoff positioning at stake. Let’s take a look.

Chicago (+9.5) at San Antonio – Despite the loss of both Jimmy Butler and Derrick Rose, the Bulls have been able to hang tough by winning six of their last ten but Chicago finds themselves in a battle with the Cavs and Raptors for that second seed behind the Atlanta Hawks.

The defending champion Spurs have won four in a row and six of their last ten games. They are now securely in the seventh seed ahead of eighth place OKC. I don’t believe Gregg Popovich and the Spurs are content with the seventh spot though. Right now, they are less then two games out of the fifth spot and are looking to advance.

Chicago has a very good 19-11 road record while the Spurs are 22-7 at home. I see no reason for this game not to be physical and highly competitive.

Trends: Chicago is 9-4 straight up in their last 13 games…San Antonio is 4-1 SU in their last five games… The Bulls are 4-11 SU in their last 15 games against the Spurs in San Antonio… The Spurs are 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight games.

The Pick: Take the Spurs to win but I like the Bulls getting the points.

Steve Clifford and the Hornets come to Detroit looking to stay hot.

Charlotte (+1) at Detroit – When Brandon Jennings went down with a torn Achilles’ tendon, most figured the Pistons playoff chances were over. Despite a brief flirtation, this appears to be the case. Detroit has fallen to four and a half games behind the eighth and final playoff spot. With about 20 games to go, there is time but they must win games like this one today.

The Hornets are among the teams the Pistons have to jump and they’re in no hurry to allow that to happen. Charlotte is actually tied for the seventh and eighth spots right now but based on tie-breakers is the odd team out. Both teams are headed in opposite directions as the Hornets have won four straight and the Pistons have dropped five in a row.

Trends: Charlotte is 5-1 straight up in their last six games… Detroit is 2-4 SU in their last six homes games… The Hornets are 8-16 against the spread in their last 24 games at Detroit… The Pistons are 12-6 SU in their last 18 games at home versus the Hornets.

The Pick: Detroit ends the skid today Take them to cover.

Toronto (+7) at Oklahoma City – The Raptors enter the Sooner State having lost seven of their last ten and they’ve dropped from the second seed in the East to the fourth as both Chicago and Cleveland have leaped them for the time being.

Meanwhile, the Thunder have won seven of ten and have ridden Russell Westbrook’s hot-hand. With Kevin Durant still recovering from foot surgery, Westbrook’s heroics of late have been needed. OKC has climbed into the eighth spot in the Western Conference but only has a one half game lead over New Orleans who has Anthony Davis back on the floor.

Trends: Toronto is 1-7 straight up in their last eight games… The Thunder is 5-0 SU in their last five home games… The Raptors are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight games on the road in Oklahoma City… The Thunder is 10-3 SU against the Raptors in their last 13 games games in OKC.

The Pick: Take the Thunder to cover today.

2015 National League Pennant Odds

Bryce Harper and the Nationals are favorites to win the 2015 NL Pennant.

Washington Nationals 13/4 – The addition of Max Scherzer rocketed the Nationals to the top contenders in the National League and rightfully so. He will eat innings which will help the bullpen. The offense is solid, but not spectacular in my opinion but I do like skipper Matt Williams a lot because he knows how to generate some runs.

Los Angeles Dodgers 19/4 – Brandon McCarthy makes the starting rotation deeper but did the bullpen and offense get any better? I think the Dodgers challenge but any dropoff could result in Don Mattingly going bye-bye.

Chicago Cubs 6/1 – Joe Maddon instantly adds wins to this team and adding some more talent to the already talented youth doesn’t hurt either. Can they live up to higher expectations? Time will tell.

San Diego Padres 13/2 – The addition of James Shields will give the pitching staff a much needed boost and the offense will be better as well. The problem is the division where the Giants and Dodgers aren’t going to go away anytime soon.

St. Louis Cardinals 13/2 – Although some extra pitching would have been nice in the offseason, the Cardinals did add Jason Heyward to the outfield and the line-up. I see no reason why the Cards aren’t right where they usually are in the end.

Madison Bumgarner will need a repeat performance if the Giants are to repeat as the champs.

San Francisco Giants 17/2 – The defending champs aren’t fond of odd-numbered years and their pitching staff, outside of Madison Bumgarner is a little questionable. Plus, who replaces Pablo Sandoval?

New York Mets 14/1 – Michael Cuddyer comes over from Colorado so while we can expect his numbers to drop a bit he is still a solid upgrade. There are capable players on this team so if the pitching can come through the Mets could be a challenge in the East.

Pittsburgh Pirates 14/1 – The Battling Buccos have to replace Russell Martin behind the dish and that won’t be easy. He was a great leader and was well-liked by the fans. A.J. Burnett returns to the rotation but will they get enough out of the starters this year?

Miami Marlins 16/1 – This team will have a very exciting outfield which should put butts in seats. The questions will be mostly about pitching and whether the Marlins will have enough of it to stay with the Nationals.

Cincinnati Reds 28/1 – After competing in recent years the Reds will take a significant step back. They lack any real depth and should they stay healthy could be a factor but they dumped too many guys to consider them.

Atlanta Braves 33/1 – The Braves unloaded a lot of players recently and seem to be throwing in the towel for this season and maybe next year as well.

Milwaukee Brewers 33/1 – The Brewmasters started so hot last season but then the roof collapsed and they were caught by St. Louis and Pittsburgh. I don’t see any type of start this year resembling what they did in 2014.

Arizona Diamondbacks 50/1 – This team is destined for the basement in the National League West unless they can best the Rockies which is debatable. The Padres got better and there’s no way they are in the same league as the Dodgers and Giants.

Colorado Rockies 75/1 – The Rockies have very little pitching and the offense is going to rely too heavily on just a couple of guys for them to be taken seriously in 2015.

Philadelphia Phillies 75/1 – It’s a fantastic baseball city that probably deserves better but I don’t see much hope in sight. This is going to be another long year especially in a division with three top, improved teams.

Who I like… As much as I hate going with the favorite, I think Washington gets over the hump behind a monster pitching staff and wins the pennant.

NCAA Finals Dream Match Up: Kentucky vs. Duke

March has arrived and that means the NCAA Tournament more appropriately called March Madness. Sitting at the top of the odds chart to win the National Championship are the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky is 29-0 and can move to 30-0 on Tuesday with a win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Looking down the road if we may, odds makers through their crystal ball or algorithms whichever you believe, see Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin and Arizona as the teams with the best odds of winning the national championship.

Many believe it could be a battle between Duke and Kentucky with Kentucky sitting at 39-0 in the national championship game against the Duke Blue Devils and Coach K.

Duke would be the only team that could beat Kentucky and they are peaking just at the right time. The Blue Devils have won 9 straight games after losing back-to-back games to North Carolina State and Miami.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team has played well all season with the exception of a few games where they did not shoot well. He added that you do not beat teams like Wisconsin, Stanford, Michigan State and Notre Dame unless you are good. He claims his players have also matured since the season started.

Duke has Jahlil Okafor as well, arguably the best player in the nation, just ask Coach K, he will be more than happy to tell you that.

That would mean the year’s best player would be against the country’s best team, what other matchup would anyone really want to see.

Since 1984-85, when the tournament was expanded to 64 teams, just four national championship games have had two No. 1 seeds. Some of the best final games came from the matchups, including Duke vs. UConn in 1999, North Carolina vs. Illinois in 2005, Florida vs. Ohio State in 2007 and Kansas vs. Memphis in 2008.

With Kentucky vs. Duke, you will also have the most hated and most loved teams in the nation in the eyes of college basketball fans. This matchup might not reach the 24.1 rating and 35 million viewers that the Indiana State/Larry Bird vs. Michigan State/Magic Johnson drew but it could especially if Kentucky reaches the final at 39-0.

Mike Krzyzewski is 8-1 at Duke against Kentucky. Kentucky coach John Calipari is attempting to reach his third Final Four in the past three years and his second national title in three years.

It might be a long shot, but that is what sports betting is all about, long shots. Let’s hope the Basketball Gods are looking down upon college basketball and the NCAA Finals feature Kentucky vs. Duke.

Odds to Win the 2015 American League Pennant

Masahiro Tanaka's health will be of extreme importance if the Yankees are to be in the running for the AL Pennant.

Boston Red Sox 11/2 – Pablo Sandoval may have shown up to Spring Training looking like Barney from “The Simpsons” but he is still being relied upon to deliver after the BoSox acquired this offseason. Offensively I think Boston will be fine. I am a tad concerned about the lack of a stud leading the rotation but this should be a good team in 2015.

Los Angeles Angles 6/1 – The Angels racked up 98 wins last season and the team appears to be largely the same. Even with Josh Hamilton’s pending suspension, LAA should be right there in the mix for the pennant.

Chicago White Sox 7/1 – This should be one of the more entertaining teams in the AL to watch. There’s plenty of offensive firepower now and the only question is how far can the pitching take them? Chris Sale will miss the opener after he injured himself getting out of a pool. Either way, this could be the team to beat in the AL Central.

Seattle Mariners 7/1 – Robinson Cano has some help in the lineup now and that’s something he didn’t have last year. Nelson Cruz and Seth Smith should both give Cano better looks at the plate. If the pitching can follow the lead of King Felix then this could be a team right there at the finish.

If the Tigers are going to win the AL Pennant then Justin Verlander must be much better than he has been the last two seasons.

Detroit Tigers 8/1 – The Tigers have had a wonderful run dating back to the arrival of Dave Dombrowski but is age finally catching up to them? Both Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera are banged up entering the season and what can they expect from Justin Verlander who has been average the last two seasons?

Cleveland Indians 9/1 – The Indians return Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and a lot of youth that gained valuable experience last year as the Indians pushed both Detroit and Kansas City to the brink. I can see this team winning the division or finishing well back in the pack. That’s how hard they are to figure out right now.

Toronto Blue Jays 10/1 – The Jays added Josh Donaldson and field general Russel Martin but how much will they improve the team? Toronto was right there for a good part of the season in 2014 so can they see this year to the end?

Oakland Athletics 12/1 – Count me as one who thinks the A’s take a step back this year. Yes, there are some new faces, the outfield is the same and there are two good starters leading the rotation but this division will be a bear and I don’t see the A’s winning the pennant.

Baltimore Orioles 14/1 – Most people would say the Orioles did more than expected last year especially with Chris Davis having a brutal year. The Birds do get both Manny Machado and Matt Wieters back so perhaps they will be in the race again but pitching depth will be vital.

Kansas City Royals 14/1 – The Royals aren’t returning to the World Series this year but they should still be competitive despite the loss of James Shields. If the bullpen is as successful as it was last year than anything is possible but I see a step back here.

New York Yankees 14/1 – The Yanks have potentially deep rotation and solid bullpen. If they can get through the early portion of the season where all the talk will be “A-Rod” they could be right there. The first season without Derek Jeter in the locker room will be curious to watch as well.

Texas Rangers 22/1 – The Rangers were devastated by injuries last season and this year isn’t starting much better. Shortstop Jurickson Profar is likely out for the season with a shoulder injury. Yu Darvish is expecting a big season but how much can he do?

Houston Astros 28/1 – Houston added guys like Jed Lowrie and Evan Gattis but at the end of the day this will continue to be a team on the rise rather than one that will compete.

Tampa Bay Rays 33/1 – Beloved manager Joe Maddon is in Chicago and these Rays have very little depth. This will be nothing short of a miracle if the Rays can even get to .500.

Minnesota Twins 50/1 – Well, at least the fans have a lovely stadium to attend games in…. Sorry, this isn’t happening in the Twin Cities in 2015.

My Favorite: I love the Mariners. They’ll fly under the radar in the Pacific Northwest before it’s too late for most opponents to notice.

Pac-12 and Big 10 Highlight Sunday College Basketball Schedule

The Big Ten and Pac-12 will highlight action Sunday in college basketball. The month of March begins today and that means the NCAA tournament and March Madness cannot be far away.

Nevertheless, teams are battling for position in their respective conferences preparing for the start of their conference tournament in less than 2 weeks.

Out west, the Oregon Ducks visit the Stanford Cardinal, while the Purdue Boilermakers visit the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Oregon followed its huge upset of Utah 69-58 last Sunday as a home dog by 4.5 points, with an important 80-69 win over California as a road dog of 2 points this past Wednesday.

The Ducks are 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread in their past eight games overall.

Stanford routed Oregon State by 27 points on Thursday as a home favorite of 9 points. However, the Cardinal is only 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS in its past 7 games played.

Oregon is 4-1 ATS over its past five games after a win SU. The Ducks have covered 6 of their past 8 games on Sunday.

Sanford is 1-5 ATS in its past 6 games played on Sunday. The Cardinal is 6-3-1 ATS in its past 10 games played at home.

The visiting team is 5-3 SU and ATS in this matchup over the past 8 games.

Purdue visits Ohio State on Sunday as an underdog of 9.5 points. The Boilermakers have made some noise of late at 8-1 SU and ATS in its past 9 games overall. On Thursday, the Boilermakers defeated Rutgers 92-85, but failed to cover as a home favorite of 14 points.

All five Purdue starters scored 10 points or more in the win over Rutgers.

Ohio State has had a few problems down the stretch with a 3-3 SU and ATS record of its past 6 games played. However, they look strong in a rout of Nebraska 81-57 on Tuesday as a favorite at home by 13.5 points.

Purdue is 17-5 ATS over its past 22 games versus an opponent with a winning straight up record and is 6-1 ATS over its past 7 games following a win SU.

Ohio State has covered the spread in its past 6 games played at home but is 4-9 ATS over its past 13 games after a win ATS.

Head to head, the team at home is 7-2 SU over the past 9 games played. Ohio State is 4-2 ATS over the past 6 games between the two teams.

Purdue defeated Ohio State 60-58 SU and ATS as a favorite by 1.5 points.

Road Favorites Highlight My NBA Games for Tonight

Can John Wall and the Wizards turn things around tonight against the Pistons?

Detroit (+3.5) at Washington – Both the Pistons and Wizards have chosen poor times to hit losing streaks. Washington has dropped six straight games and eight of their last ten while Detroit has gone just 5-5 over their last ten and has dropped two in a row.

While the Eastern Conference is the weaker of the two conferences, the playoff race is unbeatable. Right now Detroit is in the 12th spot but amazingly, they are just one game out of the eight and final playoff spot. The Wizards are currently in the fifth spot and despite their poor play shouldn’t fall any further than sixth but stranger things have happened.

Trends: Detroit is 1-5 straight up in their last six games on the road… Washington is 0-5 SU in their last five games… The Pistons are 7-3 SU in their last ten games on the road at Washington… The Wizards are 2-8 against the spread in their last ten games versus Detroit.

The Pick: It’s hard not to like the Pistons tonight getting the points as well.

Toronto (-12) at New York – The Knicks have dropped eight of their last 10 games and as you know are now without Carmelo Anthony for the remainder of the season. I’m glad he was able to get so many minutes in the All-Star Game before shutting it down. Did you sense the sarcasm there?

Toronto is feeling heat right now from both the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They have a one half game lead over the Bulls and a one game lead over the Cavs as the teams battle for the second spot in the East. The tight predicament is due to the Raptors four-game losing streak.

Trends: Toronto is 1-4 straight up in their last five games… New York is 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games… The Raptors are 4-8-1 ATS in their last 13 games on the road… The Knicks are 1-8 SU in their last nine games.

The Pick: This is a good place for the Raptors to get back on track but I like the Knicks getting all those points.

Jeff Teague and the Hawks head to Miami to play the Heat tonight.

Atlanta (-5) at Miami – Lost in all of the discussion about Cleveland’s big win over Golden State is the fact that the Hawks continue to lead the Eastern Conference. They’ve won six of their last ten but they’ve won three straight as they head to South Beach.

The Heat are trying to survive without Chris Bosh as they currently reside in the seventh spot in the East. The problem is that there are five teams within two and a half games of them.

Trends: Atlanta is 21-4 straight up in their last 25 games… Miami is 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games… The Hawks are 1-5 SU in their last six games on the road in Miami… The Heat are 7-15 SU in their last 22 games at home.

The Pick: I love the Hawks to cover tonight.

Memphis (-5) at Minnesota – Despite winning six of their last ten, the Grizzlies have dropped two in a row and continue to hold down the second seed in the Western Conference. The T-Wolves may have gotten Kevin Garnett back but they have the worst record in the West and Memphis comes in having played well in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Trends: Memphis is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games… Minnesota is 8-17 straight up in their last 25 games… The Grizzlies are 6-2 SU in their last eight games on the road in Minnesota… The T-Wolves are 3-14 SU in their last 17 games versus the the Grizzlies.

The Pick: I like Memphis to cover this evening.

Odds Makers Release 2015 Heisman Trophy Futures

With the NBA entering its final stretch to the postseason, college basketball closing in on March Madness, the NHL winding towards the Stanley Cup playoffs and Major League Baseball preparing to open its season in just over a month, many sports fans and bettors might not have college football at the top of their list.

Nevertheless, odds makers never slow down and never put any sport to bed for more than a few hours. This week, the 2015 Heisman Trophy futures were released by on large online bookmaker. The season does not even begin until the latter part of August, but there is nothing like getting a head start and finding a player or players with some value on this futures board.

Last season the prestigious award was won by Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota. The junior quarterback won in a landslide but already has entered the 2015 NFL draft.

As is usually the case, the player at the top of the list with the shortest odds to start the Heisman Trophy futures is a quarterback and this year it is TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin.

The athletic Boykin is a dual threat who can beat defenses through the air with his arm or on the ground with his legs.

After the talented Boykin is Ezekiel Elliott a running back for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Bettors might be indecisive when it comes to backing the talented runner considering there are three of his own teammates on the newly released futures list that will be bet on as well.

Ohio State has three quarterbacks on the list. Braxton Miller is 25 to 1. Miller was supposed to be the starter last season, but injured his shoulder prior to the start of the season and was lost for the year. J.T. Barrett is at 25 to 1 as well. He replaced Miller only to become injured himself late in the season. Cardale Jones is sitting at 15 to 1. He replaced Barrett and helped lead the Buckeyes to the National Championship.

Rounding out the top five with the shortest odds is Dak Prescott the dual threat quarterback for the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Leonard Fournette a running back for the LSU Tigers and Paul Perkins a running back for the UCLA Bruins.

2015 Heisman Trophy Futures

  1. Trevone Boykin (TCU) +750
  2. Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State) +800
  3. Dak Prescott (Mississippi State) +850
  4. Leonard Fournette (LSU) +1150
  5. Paul Perkins UCLA) +1200
  6. Nick Chubb (Georgia) +1200
  7. Cody Kessler (USC) +1300
  8. Derrick Henry (Alabama) +1400
  9. Samaje Perine (Oklahoma) +140
  10. Cardale Jones Ohio State) +1500

Your Odds for the Host of the 2016 Academy Awards

Don't be surprised if Billy Crystal returns to host his 10th Oscars telecast.

Last week I took an opportunity to provide you with the odds for the 87th Academy Awards. I supplied the top six categories and gave you my predictions. As the night began, I was immediately batting 1,000 when J.K Simmons won for best supporting actor for “Whiplash.”

From there, my picks were as bad as those by a first grader digging out a booger from his nose.

As you may have seen, this year’s Oscars did not do well. The overall television audience declined by 16% and what that means is that there will be tremendous pressure on the next host. I don’t fault Neil Patrick Harris completely for the drop because this year’s nominees, especially for best picture and best director, were not huge names or major draws at the box office.

The exception was ‘American Sniper’ which has collected over $300 million. Still Harris was not always as entertaining as I’ve seen him when hosting other award shows. So will he return? I don’t think so and neither does Vegas.

Our friends at Bovada have supplied me with the odds on who will be next year’s Academy Awards host.

Who will host the 88th Academy Awards?           

Jimmy Fallon 5/2

Ellen DeGeneres 4/1

Tina Fey & Amy Pohler 5/1

All three/four of the top favorites would, and in the case of DeGeneres, have made great hosts of the Oscars but the problem is that the show will once again be on ABC. Fallon, Fey and Pohler have their roots on NBC. TV execs at ABC would not want to give publicity to stars to a rival network.

Jimmy Kimmel would be a fine host and would fit perfectly being an ABC employee.

Jimmy Kimmel 6/1

Kimmel really could be the front-runner for the exact reason I laid out above. He’s an ABC guy who knows the Hollywood game as well as anyone and he isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers of anyone.

Stephen Colbert 12/1

Although Colbert will be on CBS by the time the next Oscars airs, he could still be a strong contender because he tends to lean liberally which fits perfectly with the Hollywood crowd.

Mindy Kaling 16/1

Kevin Spacey 16/1

Bill Murray 16/1

Seth Myers 16/1

The above four contenders all come in at 16/1 and frankly I don’t see any of them doing it. Kaling is well-liked but I don’t see her having enough draw and the same could be said for Myers. Murray would be interesting but it just doesn’t seem like something he would enjoy. Spacey is the most likely of the four. He’s extremely well-respected in Hollywood and is multi-faceted as an entertainer.

Billy Crystal 20/1

Crystal is 66 years old but would be a huge hit as host. He has already hosted nine times and trails only the legendary Bob Hope.

Eddie Murphy 25/1

Chelsea Handler 25/1

Key & Peele 25/1

I think Key & Peele would be funny but I’m not sure they would fit what the Academy looks for in a host. Murphy was scheduled to host the 84th Awards but backed out and that likely eliminates him. Handler would be an absolute riot because she’s fearless but I also think she just doesn’t see herself doing this.

Kevin Hart 30/1

I think Hart has some potential as a long-shot but I’m not sure he has other talents besides being funny and that typically is a pre-requisite.

Neil Patrick Harris 33/1

Aziz Ansari 33/1

John Oliver 33/1

I see Ansari as I do Myers or Kaling; he’s got a nice following but he isn’t enough to make people want to watch. Oliver is another one of these guys who just goes for the laughs and doesn’t care how he gets them but I wonder if he could keep things clean.

My Pick: Crystal. He won’t catch Hope’s record but he deserves a shot to get into double-figures.



New NBA Championship Futures See Thunder Rise and Heat and Suns Fall

Odds makers have released the latest futures for the NBA Championship. The Oklahoma City Thunder are playing so well the team has moved into third on the odds board, while teams such as the Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns are rapidly going in the other direction.

Only a week ago, the Thunder was sitting in seventh place on the odds board, but has seen their odds shortened to 60 to 1, which is down from last week’s 12 to 1.

The odds makers are showing a great deal of respect to the Thunder, despite the team holding down only the eighth and final postseason spot in the NBA Western Conference. However, the Thunder has won 7 straight games including wins over the Grizzlies, Mavericks and Clippers last week and picked up three players on the trade deadline to add to their roster.

The futures odds shortened for the Thunder even despite the lingering concerns over the health of Kevin Durant who had what was described as a minor procedure to ease some discomfort on his right foot. The soreness has come from surgery Durant had on his foot in October. It is thought Durant will return prior to the end of the regular season.

Amongst the teams in a free fall of sorts this week on the boards is the Heat. After receiving Goran Dragic in a trade last week, the starting five for Miami looked strong. However, the next day, Chris Bosh was lost for the season with blood clots. Without the best player on the Heat, their odds of winning the NBA title fell to 300 to 1 from last week’s 100 to 1. The Phoenix Suns have lost five straight games and 8 of their past 10 to fall out of the eighth spot in the West and into 10th. The Suns also dropped to 300 to 1 from 100 to 1 last week.