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by Al McMordie - 06/24/2005
Well Iâ€™m certainly glad THATâ€™S over with! As a San Antonio Spurs fan, I was delighted to see the hard working, selfless Spurs get another title. Of course, the team they beat was also hard working and selfless, full of team-oriented players who care only about the final score. Both teams have coaches that are like that, as well. While some might not have cared for the defensive style of these games, that was actually one of the enjoyable aspects of this Finals. How many times did you here a player say â€œIâ€™m not getting the ball enough!â€쳌? Good basketball is about selfless team play. One night Chauncey Billups was throwing in 35, and another night Robert Horry or Manu Ginobili had the hot hand. And we never heard teammates squawking about getting fewer shots, either.
Home court has always been a huge factor in basketball, both college and pro, and that was evident even in this Finals. The home team was 5-2 straight up and against the spread. A year ago the home team was 4-1 SU/3-1-1 ATS when the Pistons topped the Lakers. So whoâ€™s going to win the title next year? Donâ€™t be surprised if itâ€™s a battle between the Spurs and Pistons/Heat again. Unlike the NFL or baseball, itâ€™s very difficult to build a championship team in basketball. In fact, you almost never see surprise teams come out of nowhere and make it to the Finals. The last time I recall any kind of â€œlong shotâ€쳌 winning the title was 1995, when the Rockets fought back several challenges in the playoffs on their way to the Finals. But even they had won it all the year before, so it wasnâ€™t that much of a shock.
Thatâ€™s why betting NBA futures is generally not all that profitable. The teams that end up in the Finals are almost always teams that were 3-to-1 or 6-to-1 favorites even before the season started. And with no significant roster changes in the Spurs, Pistons or Heat, they will likely be back here again. After all, Detroit won it all in 2004 and San Antonio won it in 2003 â€“ and both teams had been knocking on the door the previous seasons. During the 1980s, the Celtics and Lakers won the title in 8 out of 9 seasons! In the 90s, the Bulls went 6-0 winning the title when Michael Jordan played a full season.
In the NFL, the Patriots and Eagles were favored to win their conferences a year ago and did meet up in the Super Bowl. But thatâ€™s also uncommon in the NFL. The year before, the Patriots were 18-to-1 to win the Super Bowl and won against Carolina, a 50-to-1 shot. From 1999-2001, the Rams, Ravens and Patriots all won the Super Bowl as 200-1, 50-1 and 50-to-1 shots before the season started. The NFL features value in futureâ€™s wagering, the NBA does not. Currently, San Antonio is a 5:2 choice to win the 2006 NBA Championship, and I won't bet against them. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.