Cavaliers, Warriors clear leaders on NBA Conference odds boards

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While oddsmakers have an expectation that the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are on a collision course for a third consecutive NBA Finals clash, there is some interesting movement among the challengers.

Just more than a week out from the start of the playoffs, the Cavaliers are the -300 betting favorites on the Eastern Conference futures while the Warriors’ odds are -250 atop the Western Conference board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

While LeBron James and the defending champion Cavaliers had a losing record (6-10 straight-up) in March, their victory against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday put them in a good position to finish first overall in the East and have home-court advantage for the first three rounds.

The Celtics (+425), led by PG Isaiah Thomas, draw in as the biggest challenger on the Eastern side. Boston is 20-10 SU over its last 30 games, slightly better than Cleveland’s 18-12 SU mark over the same number of games.

The Cavaliers clearly do have issues, particularly with tightening up their defensive play. An opponent could pounce early in the playoffs before James and Kyrie Irving find a groove.

Both the Washington Wizards (+900) and Toronto Raptors (+1200) are neck-and-neck to earn the No. 3 seed, which might mean playing Boston in the second round. The Wizards have great leadership from PG John Wall. The Raptors will have to rely on their defense – that’s why they got PF Serge Ibaka at the deadline – until PG Kyle Lowry, who’s just back from wrist surgery, is 100 percent.

On the Western Conference board, the Warriors’ odds are slightly better than the -333 they were listed at in late February. The absence of Kevin Durant (sprained MCL), who’s expected back just prior to the playoffs, has enabled SG Klay Thompson to rediscover his all-star form, while two-time MVP Steph Curry has also gone a hot streak.

Kawhi Leonard and the San Antonio Spurs (+325) are seen as posing the biggest challenge to Golden State, as their price has come down from +500. The red-hot second half that MVP candidate James Harden and the Houston Rockets (+750) have put together has led to their odds dropping from +900.

Oddsmakers see the Western Conference as a three-team race, at most, with the Los Angeles Clippers (+2500) and Utah Jazz (+2500) each drawing very long odds on the NBA betting futures at the sportsbooks.

Watch Bulls vs. Clippers basketball game, live online stream

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Chris Paul and the Los Angeles Clippers (11-2) look to stay hot when they host Jimmy Butler and the Chicago Bulls (8-4). The Clippers extended the best start in franchise history with a 121-115 road victory at the Sacramento Kings on Friday night.

The Bulls, riding a four-game winning streak, will play the third of six consecutive games on the road during their annual circus trip. Butler has poured in 20 or more points in a career-high six straight games and has recorded a 20+ point, 10+ rebound performance in back-to-back contests.

Watch the game live here:

When: 10:30 PM ET

Broadcast Network: NBATV

Live Stream: NBATV.com

Watch Clippers vs. Kings basketball game, live online stream

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The Los Angeles Clippers (10-2) are the NBA’s best team right now and look to continue their dominance against their in-state rivals, the Sacramento Kings (4-8) at Golden 1 center.

Los Angeles is coming off a 107-111 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, Wednesday night after Marc Gasol hit a late three-pointer to end the Clippers seven-game winning streak.

The Kings fell in a close 105-110 battle against the San Antonio Spurs as Sacramento Star Demarcus Cousins led the team with 26 points and 17 rebounds.

The Clippers look to bounce back against a Kings team that is currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Los Angeles is a half-game up on the Golden State Warriors for first place in the Western Conference.

 

Watch the game live here

When: 10:30 pm

Broadcast Network: ESPN

Live Stream: ESPN.com