Thunder still series underdogs against Warriors heading into Game 2

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The Oklahoma City Thunder stunned the Golden State Warriors with a 108-102 comeback victory in Game 1 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals, but continue to trail the defending champions with +150 odds on the series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Thunder trailed by as many as 14 points on Monday before grabbing an early fourth-quarter lead they would not relinquish en route to their fourth consecutive straight up win, and third straight victory on the road, easily paying out as 7.5-point underdogs.

Since wrapping up the regular season on a lackluster note, posting SU losses in five of their final eight games, including a 1-4 SU record in their final five road contests, Oklahoma City has come to life in the postseason with five wins in six road dates, outscoring opponents by an average of over 10 points per game in those victories.

Monday’s win also ended a five-game SU losing streak in Golden State, but Oklahoma City continues to battle tempered expectations ahead of Game 2, pegged as 8.5-point underdogs going into Wednesday’s Thunder vs. Warriors betting matchup at Oracle Arena.

Listed as diminished -170 chalk on the NBA series prices following their first playoff loss on home court since Game 2 of last year’s NBA Finals, the Warriors have also seen their NBA championship odds take a hit.

Golden State remains perched as the betting favorites to repeat as NBA champions, but find themselves sporting positive moneyline odds for the first time in over two months, falling to +110, while the Thunder vaulted from +600 to +350 with their Game 1 win.

The Warriors have posted just three losses in 11 postseason contests, and are an impressive 12-3 SU in their past 15 overall, but have struggled in recent outings to pay out at the sportsbooks, failing to cover in three of their past four, including their past two home dates.

ATS wins against the Thunder have also not come easy for Golden State, who have failed to cover in back-to-back meetings with Oklahoma City since midway through last season, and are just 6-10-2 ATS in their past 18 matchups.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers improved to a perfect 9-0 SU during the postseason with a decisive 115-84 win over the Toronto Raptors, covering as 11-point chalk in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday night.

Cleveland’s win was just their second in their past four games against the Raptors, who have now dropped seven straight Game 1 decisions and were already well back at a distant +2500 on the odds to win the NBA championship heading into Tuesday night.

Cavaliers Shaky Betting Favorite Against Celtics on NBA Opening Night

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While the sample might not be big enough for a true trend, the Cleveland Cavaliers go into opening night with a dubious track record as a narrow favorite at home.

With some uncertainty over whether – or how much – LeBron James will play after missing most of the preseason with a sprained left ankle, the Cavaliers are listed as 3.5-point favorites against the Boston Celtics with a 212.5-point total in their NBA opening night matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Interestingly enough, the OddsShark NBA Database shows that the Cavaliers are 0-6 straight-up and against the spread since January 2016 when favored by four or fewer points in regular-season home games.

Both Boston and Cleveland had offseason turnover that included trading point guards, with Kyrie Irving heading to the East Coast while Isaiah Thomas moved to the shores of Lake Erie. On top of having their new running mates Irving and SG Gordon Hayward, Boston returns only four of its 10 most-used players from last season.

However, under coach Brad Stevens they are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road games against the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers, who were just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 home games of last season, have eight new players. James has had little practice time with the Cavaliers’ three new starters, PG Derrick Rose, SG Dwyane Wade and PF Jae Crowder, but with James’ talent and court sense chemistry can come pretty quickly (Thomas is out with a hip injury).

The total has gone over in four of the Celtics’ last five road games against the Cavaliers.

Later on Tuesday night, the defending champion Golden State Warriors are 9.5-point favorites against the Houston Rockets with a 230.5-point total in a matchup between the two highest-scoring teams from last season.

Due to new PG Chris Paul’s various injuries (bruised left shoulder, bruised left knee), the Rockets have had scarcely little time to see how Paul and SG James Harden will work together on the floor. If Paul is good to go in this one, though, he will face the Warriors’ Stephen Curry at each end of the court for the entire game.

The Rockets are 1-11 SU and 4-7-1 ATS in their last 12 road games against the Warriors, but any team that shoots threes as frequently – and often efficiently – as Houston is always a threat.

Golden State, with its big four of Curry, PF Kevin Durant, SF Draymond Green and SG Klay Thompson, almost always lays big-time points at Oracle Arena. While the Warriors infamously laid an egg in their home opener last season, they are 19-1 SU and 14-5-1 ATS in their last 20 regular-season home games with a closing line between 8.5 and 10.5 points.

The Warriors, unlike the other three teams in action on Tuesday, had minimal offseason turnover with 12 players returning from their championship team.

The total has gone under in six of the Rockets’ last nine road games against the Warriors.

 

 

Thunder Climbing the NBA Futures After Carmelo Anthony Trade

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If the Golden State Warriors can be taken down, chances are it might come from within the NBA’s cutthroat Western Conference. With the season due to tip off in a couple weeks, Golden State is the -160 favorite on the odds to win the NBA championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Warriors have dominated the league for three seasons running with nary a hiccup, save for their breakdown at the end of the 2016 postseason when they lost a seven-game NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.

This past NBA offseason was all about superstars maneuvering to join Western Conference teams in order to try to take the fight to the Warriors more directly. As a result of their moves to add Carmelo Anthony and Paul George to their forward corps to complement league-MVP point guard Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder (+1200) have seen their price come down precipitously from an opening +6600.

As it stands, more than 10/1 odds on a team which is a favorite to win its division is a pretty good deal.

The San Antonio Spurs, the league’s model of stability, also come in at +1200. The Houston Rockets (+1600) have actually had their price rise in the last three weeks, which might reflect how no one is sure whether newly acquired PG Chris Paul and SG James Harden will be compatible.

Among Eastern Conference teams, Cleveland (+550) is offering good value, since any team which has LeBron James is a solid bet to last at least three rounds in the postseason. One might be able to wait before making a play with the Cavaliers. The need to make sure PG Derrick Rose and PG Dwayne Wade get rest during the season will probably supersede the Cavs’ need to go for a No. 1 seed.

The Boston Celtics (+800) added PG Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland) and SF Gordon Hayward, but one should remember that they were not an overly dominant team last season and their No. 1 playoff seed owed somewhat to being in the Atlantic Division with the likes of the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers.

If none of the contenders near the top of the board pass the eye test, it might be better to take a flyer on some small-market teams with superstar talent. The Minnesota Timberwolves (+2800) are complementing young stars Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns with a supporting cast that includes Jimmy Butler – one of the best two-way wing players any side of Golden State’s Draymond Green – and veterans such as Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague.

The Milwaukee Bucks (+6600) might not be close to winning a title, but the ceiling for a team with a burgeoning superstar in SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, AKA The Greek Freak, is very high. Milwaukee should get a long look for anyone poring over preseason props.