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Game 3 of NBA Finals a toss-up on betting lines as Warriors seek 3-0 lead

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Through two decisive Golden State Warriors wins in the NBA Finals, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and cohorts haven’t left many hints that momentum will shift with the venue change for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 of the series is set for Wednesday night.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are normally a sizable favorite at Quicken Loans Arena, and typically deliver a cover. However, their outlook hinges on whether PF Kevin Love, who suffered a head injury on Sunday, will make it through the NBA concussion protocol and be cleared to play. So with Curry, his Splash Brothers backcourt mate Thompson and the Warriors out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, Game 3 has become a pick’em at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The total is 205.5 points. Coincidentally, the total was been over in both 12 of the Warriors’ last 20 road games against the Eastern Conference, and in 12 of the Cavaliers’ last 20 home games against the Western Conference. In the playoffs, the totals are little different: four of Golden State’s seven playoff road games have gone under, as have four of Cleveland’s seven home games.

The surprise of the series with the Warriors has been their 85-40 edge against the Cavaliers in bench scoring, with F Andre Iguodala, G Leandro Barbosa and G Shaun Livingston making valuable contributions. The Warriors are 7-10 straight-up and 9-8 against the spread in road playoff games during the last two seasons. They are also up in the series even though they haven’t needed a big shooting night from Curry. Thompson has been getting open three-point looks against the Cavaliers’ defense, and as his wont, has been burying them.

The Cavaliers, whom James had a direct hand in assembling, are 14-3 SU and 10-7 ATS in home playoff games over the last two seasons according to the OddsShark NBA Database. Of course, much of that track record was accumulated against the weak Eastern Conference. Point guard Kyrie Irving has also been struggling to finish drives and distribute the ball. Even if Love does play, he will not be 100 percent and has a bad matchup in the form of Warriors F Draymond Green.

Cleveland has also been struggling with the NBA’s ‘new math,’ which involves freeing up the three-point line on offense and limiting the opponents’ access to it on defense. They are just 12 of 44 (27%) on triple attempts through two games whereas the Warriors are 24 of 60 (40%).

Golden State, which had a regular-season record 73 wins, is vying to be the sixth NBA franchise since 1985 to win back-to-back championships.

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.