Cavaliers begin playoff run behind Warriors on NBA championship odds

Leave a comment

For all the hand-wringing about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ slump, LeBron James and company enter the NBA playoffs in pretty much the same state as they did before winning it all in 2016.

Having weathered a 19-game absence from Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors are the -160 favorite on the odds to win the NBA championship, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Stephen Curry and the Warriors’ price will only drop farther as the playoff field gets whittled down, assuming they don’t have an epic collapse.

James and Cleveland are listed at +333 after going just 9-11 straight-up and 8-12 against the spread in their final 20 games against the Eastern Conference. However, the Cavs had a so-so stretch run last year, when they were listed at +400 going into the playoffs.

Thirty of the league’s last 35 champions were either a No. 1 or 2 seed, and the last four were No. 1. Based on their championship experience, the No. 2 seed in the West, the San Antonio Spurs, are third on the board at +600. The No. 1 Eastern seed, the Boston Celtics, are a distant +1600, level with the Houston Rockets. That’s not surprising, considering Boston’s per-game point differential (2.7) is the lowest of a No. 1 seed since 1979.

The Cavaliers are a -275 favorite on the Eastern Conference champion odds, which reflects that James’ team has made the last six NBA Finals. The Celtics are at +425. The Toronto Raptors, whose seeding puts them on course to meet Cleveland in the second round, are listed at +900.

The Western Conference board is very similar, with the Warriors at -250 followed by the Spurs (+300) and Rockets (+750).

Among the four major pro leagues and March Madness, the chalk prevails most often in the NBA. Some general trends to be mindful of is that home teams who lose Game 1 – looking in your direction, Toronto – are 49-10 SU in Game 2 since 2003. Higher-seeded teams who win the first two games are also 40-111 SU in Game 3 (on the road) during that span.

Historically, No. 5 seeds win about a quarter of the time and No. 6 seeds win about 20 per cent of the time. In terms of first-round series prices, the Atlanta Hawks (+175) do stand a decent chance of knocking out John Wall and the Washington Wizards (-205), since Washington might struggle to find a defensive matchup for Hawks big man Dwight Howard.

The No. 8 seed Chicago Bulls (+405), with their savviness at point guard with ex-Celtic Rajon Rondo and former champion Dwyane Wade (who’ll have more recovery time for his 35-year-old legs), could be capable of taking out the Celtics (-500). Eighth seeds have a much better success rate than No. 7 seeds.

Sixers, Warriors Road Betting Favorites in Thursday NBA Action

Getty
Leave a comment

The Philadelphia 76ers may be facing a regression with the three-ball right as they go into a building where they have not won in a while.

The 76ers are 1.5-point road betting favorites against the Miami Heat with a 216.5-point total at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com in one of the three NBA playoff matchups slated for Thursday.

While the Heat’s series-tying win in the previous game left the 76ers a mere 17-1 straight-up in their 18 most recent games, a more apt sample might come from looking at the teams’ records against playoff-worthy competition.

Philadelphia, whose perimeter shooters including Robert Covington and J.J. Redick combined to go 7-for-36 on three-point shots in Game 2, is just 2-7 SU and against the spread in its last nine road games against Eastern Conference playoff teams. The Heat are 7-0 SU and ATS in their last seven games against Eastern playoff teams.

The OddsShark NBA Database points out that the total has gone over in seven of Philadelphia’s last 10 road games when it was the betting favorite. However, the total has gone under in four of the Heat’s last six home games against the 76ers.

After taking two wins on the road, the New Orleans Pelicans are three-point favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers on the NBA odds with a 216-point total. The Pelicans, who are 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games as a favorite of 3.5 or fewer points, have won the backcourt battle so far in the series thanks to Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo.

The total has gone over in six of the Pelicans’ last eight home games against Northwest Division teams. The Trail Blazers have actually taken more shots in the series, so if their luck evens out, there’s a chance for a scorefest.

And the Golden State Warriors, who also have a 2-0 series lead, are three-point road favorites against the San Antonio Spurs with a 206-point total. It’s the first time in 18 years that the Spurs are a home underdog in April (the last time was not a playoff game), but they are much more effective team at home, where they are 9-0 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last nine matchups.

The Warriors are without the injured Stephen Curry, but still have forward Kevin Durant and guard Klay Thompson to help them turn around being 3-7 SU and ATS in their last 10 road games as a favorite of 3.5 or fewer points.

The total has gone over in six of Golden State’s last nine road games during the playoffs in April. However, the total has gone under in six of San Antonio’s last nine home games against Western Conference teams.

For more odds information, betting 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 listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

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

Leave a comment

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 OddsShark.com. 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 OddsShark.libsyn.com.