Cavaliers second behind Warriors in early 2017 NBA title odds

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Fresh off their historic comeback in the 2016 NBA Finals, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit to win their franchise’s first NBA crown, the Cleveland Cavaliers find themselves trailing the +200 Golden State Warriors on the odds to win the 2017 NBA title at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Golden State recorded a record-shattering 73 regular-season victories last year, but with MVP Stephen Curry hobbled by injury during the playoffs the Warriors fell short of a second straight NBA title after sitting atop the NBA championship odds for most of the season.

With NBA Finals MVP LeBron James committed to returning to Cleveland for at least another year, the Cavaliers closely trail the Warriors with +225 odds to claim a second straight title.

James is just one of eight Cavaliers hitting free agency this summer, including shooting guard JR Smith, while Kevin Love remains the subject of persistent trade rumors following a disappointing postseason.

While the Cavaliers and Warriors are expected to return in the fall with their cores largely intact, the winds of change may be blowing in San Antonio where the Spurs have opened as a +750 bet for 2017 following an early exit from this year’s NBA playoffs.

The Spurs were ousted in six games by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second round after ending the regular season with an impressive 67 wins and now must make tough decisions regarding veterans Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan, who both hit unrestricted free agency this summer.

The Thunder ride high on the NBA championship odds, rounding out the favorites at +850 following an impressive playoff run that brought them within one victory of their first berth in the NBA Finals since 2012.

While Oklahoma City has opened strong on the odds, its position is likely to change depending on where star forward Kevin Durant lands this summer. The 27-year-old has garnered considerable interest from teams around the league as he approaches unrestricted free agency, and his departure from OKC would likely have an impact on the Thunder’s odds.

The Los Angeles Clippers follow up another disappointing playoff run at +2000 odds, while the Toronto Raptors have followed up their first trip to the Eastern Conference Finals by opening alongside the Atlantic Division rival Boston Celtics at +2500 on the 2017 title odds.

The Chicago Bulls join the Miami Heat at +3300, ahead of the Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets, knotted at +5000, while the Dallas Mavericks are deadlocked with the youthful New Orleans Pelicans at +6600.

Klay Thompson, Aaron Gordon betting favorites on Three-Point, Slam Dunk contest odds

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It’s been 10 years since NBA All-Star Saturday saw the Three-Point Contest winner keep his title, which is something to keep in mind when assessing the contenders this weekend.

Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors shooting guard, is at +110 odds to win the Three-Point Contest at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic is a heavy -155 favorite on the odds to win the Slam Dunk Contest now that defending champion Zach LaVine is done for the season with a knee injury.

Both events will be held on Saturday in New Orleans, on the eve of the all-star game.

Thompson is slated to have seven challengers, including one past champion, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (+400), who won in 2013. No player has had a three-year gap between wins since the contest’s creation, but Irving is also having a career year as a scorer and his price is tempting.

The Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon (+900) is one of the league’s most prolific perimeter shooters and probably has the most value on the board.

The Three-Point Contest field is rounded out by the Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum (+800), the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (+900), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young (+900), the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (+1100) and the Dallas Mavericks’ Wes Matthews (+1100).

Lowry being priced where he is might give pause. The point guard has always been more of a slasher than a pure shooter, but added the three-ball to his arsenal this season and is hitting 41.7 per cent of the time, well above his career 36.5% rate.

In the Slam Dunk Contest, it’s not necessarily Aaron Gordon and everyone else competing for second place. Gordon will have to face ratcheted-up expectations after his dazzling runner-up effort in Toronto in 2016. Phoenix Suns rookie Derrick Jones Jr. (+130) is a high flier and his status as something of an unknown could help improve his scores.

The Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan (+800), as a seven-foot center, doesn’t fit the profile of a dunk contest winner. The Indiana Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III (+900) fills out the board on the NBA betting lines for Saturday night.

 

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.