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.

Warriors seek 2-0 series lead as double-digit favorite against Spurs

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The Golden State Warriors feasted after Kawhi Leonard was knocked out on Sunday, but they are far from an automatic cover as a huge home-court favorite in the NBA playoffs.

Stephen Curry and the Warriors are listed as 13.5-point favorites against the Spurs with a 208.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for their Game 2 matchup scheduled for Tuesday.

During the Curry era, Golden State is 12-1 straight-up and 4-9 against the spread in 13 playoff games where they were favored by 10 or more points at home. The Warriors are also 1-6 ATS in their last seven home playoff games according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

Not having Leonard (left ankle sprain) leaves a void for San Antonio, but the Spurs are 6-2 ATS without their all-star small forward this season. That includes their series-clinching win against the Houston Rockets in the second round. One can take for granted that a team under Gregg Popovich’s coaching guidance will find a way to adapt.

San Antonio will need to find ways to get PF LaMarcus Aldridge away from Warriors SF Draymond Green on offense, as well make greater use of PF Kyle Anderson. Jonathon Simmons has also proven capable of replacing Leonard’s scoring.

Over 11 games as the underdog this season, the Spurs are 7-4 SU and 8-2-1 ATS.

Job one for Golden State, which is 18-2 SU and 8-10-2 ATS over its last 20 home games, will be slowing down the Spurs after allowing 111 points at home on Sunday. They usually are tough on defense at Oracle Arena, where the total has gone under in 13 of their last 20 home games. Offensively, the absence of Leonard should free up space for PF Kevin Durant, since San Antonio won’t have a matchup for the four-time NBA scoring champion.

That said, the Warriors will need perimeter shooting from their supporting cast, not just Curry and SG Klay Thompson. With SF Andre Iguodala (knee) questionable, Golden State might be hard up for a complementary shooter to hit open threes.

The other big variable for Golden State is that assistant coach Mike Brown is running the bench in the absence of Steve Kerr (back surgery). Brown does not seem to have Kerr’s deft hand with making the right substitutions, which was why Golden State found itself in a 25-point hole in Game 1.

The total has gone over in 12 of the Spurs’ last 15 games overall and has also gone over in eight of their past 10 road games. The total has gone over in 10 of the Warriors’ last 15 games.

Celtics underdogs, Warriors big favorites for Thursday’s NBA matchups

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Coming off a sixth consecutive win, the Boston Celtics are listed as 5.5-point underdogs against the Washington Wizards with a 218.5-point total in their Game 3 matchup on Thursday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Celtics lead the Eastern Conference semifinal series 2-0, but overcame a slow start in Game 2. A letdown at some point soon is perhaps inevitable, especially for a team with chronic rebounding problems. Thomas’ backcourt mate, Avery Bradley (right hip pointer), also has an injury situation that bettors should monitor.

Boston is 6-3 SU and ATS in its last nine road games against Southeast Division teams, according to the OddsShark NBA Database. The Wizards and star point guard John Wall are 8-2 SU and ATS in their last 10 home games against Atlantic Division opponents.

The Wizards are favorites for Thursday, but picking up the win rests on finding someone – anyone, really – to be a viable second look on offense after Wall. Shooting guard Bradley Beal has had issues getting freed up in the series, and Washington will also need to give C Marcin Gortat some help in his matchup with Boston’s Al Horford (15 points, 12 boards in Game 2).

Also on Thursday, the Golden State Warriors are 12.5-point betting favorites against the Utah Jazz with a 204-point total.

Even though their shooting was ice-cold during a defeat in Game 1 of the series, Gordon Hayward and the Jazz were able to improve to 7-0 ATS in their last seven road games against Pacific Division teams. The Jazz also shot above 50 percent in all three of their games after a loss during their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Golden State is 19-1 SU and 11-7-2 ATS in their last 20 home games as a favorite of at least 10 points. The Warriors, mindful that the Jazz allowed a league-fewest 96.8 points per game, seem to have doubled down on their commitment to defense, with forwards Kevin Durant and Draymond Green looking to force turnovers that facilitate a transition game.

The Warriors, who are 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS in their last 10 home games in May, were able to get their quota of three-point attempts in the opener, launching 29. Both PG Stephen Curry (1-for-4) and SF Andre Iguodala (0-for-6) will be looking for better efficiency.

The total has gone under in seven of the Jazz’s last 10 road games against the Warriors at online sports betting sites. The total has gone under in 13 of the last 20 Warriors’ home games when they were favored by at least 10 points.