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Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo Discuss Blazers’ Title Chances

While still a long shot to win it all, Simmons thinks the Blazers are a high-value wager headed in to the NBA playoffs

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 2 Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

It has taken a while, but the Portland Trail Blazers are finally starting to get some serious national attention. Bill Simmons opened up his latest podcast by discussing Portland’s odds for winning the NBA Finals with former ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo. After watching Portland play the Clippers in person, Simmons’ gambling side showed up:

“So I checked online, and they’re 100 to 1 to win the title. That’s insane! They‘re the fourth best team in the League. So needless to say I might have stepped in.”

Simmons notes that Portland has one of the three best back-courts in the League and that Lillard has become a “closer”

“Anytime you’re one of the 4 best teams in the League it isn’t inconceivable you can make the Finals and potentially win the title. 100 to 1 is crazy to me. I think they should be like 40 to 1, 30 to 1, whatever. And so I put a little down.”

Simmons and Russillo go on to discuss whether Golden State and Houston are indeed a lock for the Western Conference Finals. Simmons is at least willing to entertain the idea while Russillo stands pretty firmly on the side of Golden State and Houston being there in the end.

What’s remarkable isn’t the conclusion that Simmons and Russillo come to, but rather that this conversation is happening at all. It was not much more than a month ago when Blazer fans and the media were wondering aloud whether the coach, GM or both would survive the season. To be talking about the odds of the Blazers winning the championship — even at 40 to 1 or higher — isn’t something most people expected to be happening in mid-March.

More Blazer talk is sprinkled throughout the first half of the podcast as well. Listen on The Ringer or through iTunes.