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Oddsmakers expect Pacers to remain among East's top contenders

The Pacers are given 12/1 odds of winning the 2015 NBA Championship according to Bovada. They trail heavy favorites Miami (3/1) and are tied with Chicago to keep Indiana in the East's upper echelon.

Rob Carr

The 2014-15 NBA season won't tip off for more than four months, but it's never too early to start looking ahead. That's where comes in to provide the opening NBA Championship odds for 2015. Ignoring the obvious that no one has any idea what the preseason landscape will be when the teams begin this fall, but the Miami Heat remain the favorites regardless, taking 3/1 odds to not only reach their fifth straight NBA Finals, but win their third title in four years.

Their main competition is expected to be no surprise, with the Oklahoma City Thunder and World Champion San Antonio Spurs taking the best odds in the West at 6/1. The Los Angeles Clippers come in at third in the West at 9/1. In the East, Miami's main competition is expected to be the Indiana Pacers, who sit at 12/1 favorites to keep their contender in tact and see them grow. They're joined by the Chicago Bulls, also at 12/1, fueled by the eternal expectation of Derrick Rose's triumphant return.

There aren't much in the way of surprises looking down the list. Houston (16/1), Golden State (25/1), Portland (25/1) have little reason to believe they each won't be taking key steps forward in the upcoming season, but behind Brookyln's 28/1 odds has the Cleveland Cavaliers at fifth in the East at 33/1. Whether fueled by perpetual LeBron James returning home rumors or the hope that a third #1 pick in four years might actually result in a competitive team, locked in with Dallas, Memphis, and Washington at 33/1.

The bottom of the league features little surprises either, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers coming in at the longest odds, each 200/1. What may be a surprise, however, are three teams sitting at 75/1; Atlanta, Charlotte, and Phoenix, each behind teams like Minnesota (66/1), New Orleans (50/1), Detroit (50/1), Denver (50/1), and Boston (50/1), all of whom have much work to even reach the levels of success teams like Charlotte and Phoenix had last season.

For the Pacers at 12/1, it's not only a reward for the team's back-to-back trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, but a continued lack of uncertainty regarding the quality of competition in the Eastern Conference. Indiana, who will ponder major decisions with key starters Lance Stephenson, Roy Hibbert, and George Hill still remain one of the East's more stable teams moving forward in a conference that could be turned upside down at the offseason decisions of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and even Stephenson.

Take a glance at the league's full odds according to Bovada, and share your thoughts on whether anyone is fairly placed:

Odds to win 2015 NBA Championship
Miami Heat 3/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 6/1
San Antonio Spurs 6/1
Los Angeles Clippers 9/1
Chicago Bulls 12/1
Indiana Pacers 12/1
Houston Rockets 16/1
Golden State Warriors 25/1
Portland Trail Blazers 25/1
Brooklyn Nets 28/1
Cleveland Cavaliers 33/1
Memphis Grizzlies 33/1
Dallas Mavericks 33/1
Washington Wizards 33/1
Los Angeles Lakers 40/1
New York Knicks 40/1
Toronto Raptors 40/1
Boston Celtics 50/1
Denver Nuggets 50/1
Detroit Pistons 50/1
New Orleans Pelicans 50/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 66/1
Atlanta Hawks 75/1
Charlotte Hornets 75/1
Phoenix Suns 75/1
Orlando Magic 150/1
Sacramento Kings 150/1
Utah Jazz 150/1
Milwaukee Bucks 200/1
Philadelphia 76ers 200/1