The Oklahoma City Thunder got within three victories of winning the NBA title last year and enter this year's playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference.
They are also the second betting choice at most sportsbooks in odds to win the NBA title.
The first step toward getting back to the NBA Finals will be getting by former teammate James Harden and his Houston Rockets in a first-round series that begins with a Game 1 Sunday night in Oklahoma City (9:30 pm ET, TNT).
In early Game 1 betting, most books were lining the Thunder at -10 points over Houston. OKC has been tough as a big favorite, going 15-5 ATS in 20 recent games.
Also, shops were listing Oklahoma City at a heavy -2000 to win this first-round series, with the Rockets getting +1200 to pull the upset.
The Thunder (60-22 SU, 49-31 ATS) chased San Antonio in the Western Conference race for a good part of this season, and with a late 10-2 burst and some help from the Spurs, OKC overtook San Antonio in the battle for the top seed in the West.
Houston (45-37 SU, 41-40 ATS), meanwhile, had to overcome a slow start to this season and battle with the Lakers and Jazz down the stretch for the final couple of spots in these playoffs. The Rockets went on a 12-3 run in December and seemed to be on their way, but later lost seven in a row in January.
Houston then slowly got itself back into position, but still had to weather a 2-4 finish just to sneak into the postseason field as the eight seed.
Oklahoma City took two of three games from Houston during the regular season. The Thunder beat the Rockets by 22 points back in November, and by 30 points in December. Most recently, the Rockets nipped the Thunder 122-119 in February in Houston.
Also, all three of the meetings this season between these two offensive-minded teams played OVER on the totals.
On the NBA futures market, Oklahoma City was listed at -120 to win the Western Conference and +300 to win the NBA championship, while Houston was getting +6000 to win the West and +15000 to win the league title.