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

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 All-Star Weekend Odds: Slam Dunk, Three-Point, Skills Challenge

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One man having serious slam dunk contest buzz means better prices for the other three heading into NBA All-Star Weekend at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Dallas Mavericks rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. is a +170 favorite on the slam dunk contest odds at sportsbooks monitored by Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (+220), Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. (+265) and Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo (+400) are also in the running.

Smith has taken every opportunity this season to try to “posterize” some of the NBA’s biggest names, which might explain his low price. Mitchell was a late entry who has come on strongly for the surging Jazz and is capable of the upset. As the only forward in the contest, Nance could have a hard time getting the benefit of the doubt from the judges.

The three-point contest is unpredictable by nature but has some familiar faces with favorite Klay Thompson (+210) and defending champion Eric Gordon (+450). Devin Booker (+550), Paul George (+650), Wayne Ellington (+700), Bradley Beal (+750), Kyle Lowry (+1000) and Tobias Harris (+1100) complete the eight-marksman field.

Thompson is converting threes at a career-high 45.4 percent rate, so the Golden State Warriors guard will likely draw a lot of interest. However, Gordon outlasted him in 2017 and will also be in his former home arena. Ellington, who scores more than 75 percent of his points from beyond the arc, stacks up as the sleeper from deep.

The skills challenge lacks the cachet of the other two competitions, but is wide open due to its format that guarantees a guard vs. center matchup in the final. The Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams (+350) is the favorite, but it might be wiser to favor a younger competitor, such as the Denver Nuggets’ second-year guard Jamal Murray (+400), in an event that is staked on speed and shooting.

Al Horford (+500) has the best price of any big man, but the Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen (+700) might have the skill-set more suited for the event. Murray, Markkanen and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (+600) will each be out to be third international player in a row to win the event.

For more odds info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at

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

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.