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Las Vegas: Miami Heat top Los Angeles Lakers as preseason 2013 title favorites

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
LeBron James's Heat topped Kobe Bryant's Lakers in a preseason list of 2013 title favorites. (Getty Images)

Las Vegas sees the 2012-13 NBA season as a three-horse race, with the defending champion Miami Heat leading the pack out of the gate.

Oddsmaking service Bovada.LV released its 2012-13 preseason championship odds Tuesday. The Heat (11-5) topped the Los Angeles Lakers (5-2) as the early favorites, with the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder (9-2) checking in just behind.

From there, it was a meaningful drop off to the next tier, which includes the Chicago Bulls (14-1), Boston Celtics (18-1), San Antonio Spurs (18-1) and the Los Angeles Clippers (25-1).

The odds seem to reflect a growing sentiment that the list of true title contenders is shorter than it's been in recent years after a summer that saw a number of super teams strengthen their positions. Prior to the 2011-12 season, five teams opened with 10-1 odds or better compared to three teams this season. Last year, nine teams had 22-1 or better odds compared to six teams this season.

The back of the pack is full of familiar names. The league's longest shots were all 2012 lottery teams: Cleveland Cavaliers (200-1), Detroit Pistons (200-1), Sacramento Kings (200-1), Toronto Raptors (200-1), Washington Wizards (200-1) and Charlotte Bobcats (500-1). All six of those teams opened at 200-1 or worse to start the 2011-12 season.

Here's the full list of 2013 championship odds.

Miami Heat 11-5
Los Angeles Lakers 5-2
Oklahoma City Thunder 9-2
Chicago Bulls 14-1
Boston Celtics 18-1
San Antonio Spurs 18-1
Los Angeles Clippers 25-1
Brooklyn Nets 30-1
Dallas Mavericks 33-1
Indiana Pacers 35-1
Memphis Grizzlies 35-1
New York Knicks 35-1
Philadelphia 76ers 50-1
Denver Nuggets 66-1
Houston Rockets 75-1
Atlanta Hawks 75-1
Minnesota Timberwolves 75-1
Portland Trail Blazers 100-1
Utah Jazz 100-1
Golden State Warriors 125-1
Milwaukee Bucks 125-1
New Orleans Hornets 150-1
Orlando Magic 150-1
Phoenix Suns 150-1
Cleveland Cavaliers 200-1
Detroit Pistons 200-1
Sacramento Kings 200-1
Toronto Raptors 200-1
Washington Wizards 200-1
Charlotte Bobcats 500-1

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