Defending champion Warriors favored over Cavaliers in NBA Finals

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After overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 96-88 victory in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, the Golden State Warriors will once again face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals as -220 favorites on the NBA series prices at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

In addition to posting three consecutive straight-up wins to knock off the Thunder, the Warriors have also halted a worrisome 2-5 run against the spread, rewarding bettors by covering in the final three games of the Western Finals.

As well, Golden State gets the nod from oddsmakers in the series opener, pegged as 5.5-point chalk for Thursday night’s Cavaliers vs. Warriors betting matchup at Oracle Arena.

Overall, the Warriors have been a strong bet on home court during the playoffs, going 8-2 ATS in 10 contests while being favored by an average of 9.3 points per game, but it has been three months since the Warriors were favored at home by so few points.

Golden State failed to cover a 5.5-point spread in a 109-105 over the Atlanta Hawks on March 1 and are just 1-2 ATS at home this season when favored by fewer than seven points, including an ATS loss to Cleveland as 6.5-point chalk in an 89-83 win on Christmas Day.

Two-time reigning regular-season MVP Stephen Curry has emerged as the favorite on the odds to win the NBA Finals MVP, topping Cavaliers superstar LeBron James with -125 odds on the player props boards at the sportsbooks.

James makes his sixth straight appearance in the NBA Finals sporting +225 odds of claiming NBA Finals MVP honors for a third time, while the Cavaliers sit at +180 on the series prices.

Cleveland has appeared in the NBA Finals on two previous occasions, getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs in 2007 followed by a six-game loss to Golden State a year ago.

The Cavaliers needed six games to get past Toronto in the Eastern Conference Finals, disposing of the upstart Raptors with blowout victories in Games 5 and 6 to set the stage for their NBA Finals rematch with the Warriors.

James and company had won 10 straight SU to open the postseason, but have been a lukewarm bet on the road, going 3-4 ATS in seven outings, all as favorites.

The Cavaliers must also overcome a brutal recent record against Golden State, going 4-13 SU in their past 17 games against the Warriors, 6-11 ATS, including five straight losses since capturing Games 2 and 3 of last year’s NBA Finals, their only consecutive wins against Golden State since January 2010.

The NBA Finals tips off in Oakland on Thursday night, and oddsmakers like the matchup so much they’re predicting it will happen again next season – the Warriors and the Cavaliers are the top choices on the early odds to win the 2017 NBA Finals at the sportsbooks.

NBA Christmas Day Slate has Warriors, Spurs Among Odds Favorites

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Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors typically manage to cover when they face a close line on the road. The Warriors are listed as 3.5-point favorites on the NBA betting lines against the Cleveland Cavaliers for their Christmas Day matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Warriors are finding their peak form and are 14-2 straight-up and 7-8-1 against the spread on the road this season. The smallest line in any of the ATS losses, though, was 8.5 points.

The main matchup will be Durant against LeBron James, who has helped Cleveland forge a home record of 15-2 SU and 10-6-1 ATS. The Cavaliers are trying to replace injured SG J.R. Smith (right thumb surgery). Star forward Kevin Love (left knee bruise) also has an injury issue, but only had to play 25 minutes during a blowout win on Friday.

The Christmas Day slate begins with the New York Knicks hosting the Boston Celtics in a pick’em contest. The key matchup will be at point guard – the Knicks’ Derrick Rose and the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas. Boston is 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 road games and has found a rhythm since C Al Horford returned from injury.

Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (right knee contusion) could have his minutes closely monitored to avoid aggravating his injury.

The San Antonio Spurs are favored by 7.5 points against the Chicago Bulls in a matchup headlined by two elite small forwards, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. It is tough to go against San Antonio being 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS in December home games over the last two seasons, particularly with Chicago’s erratic perimeter shooting.

The Bulls are 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as a road underdog, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are favored by 4.5 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thunder PG Russell Westbrook is carrying his team which has been inconsistent at home, going 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS this season.

Minnesota has plenty of promise in C Karl-Anthony Towns and SF Andrew Wiggins, but awful defense has kept them from getting into the playoff picture. The Timberwolves are 1-9 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 road games against the Thunder.

And the availability of Chris Paul (hamstring) will weigh heavily on the lines for the Christmas nightcap between the Los Angeles Lakers and Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are also without PF Blake Griffin (minor knee surgery), but D’Angelo Russell and the young Lakers are struggling at 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four divisional games.

The Clippers are 10-0 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as the favorite against the Lakers.

Watch Bulls vs. Clippers basketball game, live online stream

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Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers (11-2) look to stay hot when they host Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls (8-4). The Clippers extended the best start in franchise history with a 121-115 road victory at the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

The Bulls, riding a four-game winning streak, will play the third of six consecutive games on the road during their annual circus trip. Butler has poured in 20 or more points in a career-high six straight games and has recorded a 20+ point, 10+ rebound performance in back-to-back contests.

Watch the game live here:

When: 10:30 PM ET

Broadcast Network: NBATV

Live Stream: NBATV.com