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.

NBA draft betting props set out with Ayton favorite on odds for Thursday

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With DeAndre Ayton taking all the value out of the first overall pick prop, bettors will have to look at the stock on other players in the NBA draft class of 2018.

Ayton, the 7-foot center from Arizona, is an overwhelming -2000 favorite to be selected first in the NBA draft on Thursday night, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Phoenix Suns hold the top selection and it’s seen as a given they will take Ayton, from right in their backyard.

Slovenian guard Luka Doncic is a nominal second favorite at +1200, with Michigan State power forward/center Jaren Jackson listed at +4000 and the field at +1200.

Suffice to say, bettors will need to spend the final hours on Thursday before the draft refreshing social media feeds for news about teams trading up in the draft order, since that could affect the NBA draft betting props on particular players.

Doncic, the Slovenian guard, offers some higher-risk, high-reward value at +240 to be picked at No. 2 or better (-220 for No. 3 or better). The chance of that prop hitting might rest on whether the Sacramento Kings trade down from the No. 2 spot. If the Kings hang on to it, it’s probably best to lay chalk on the -500 on Duke forward Marvin Bagley III going No. 3 or better (he’s +350 for No. 4 or later).

Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson, who slots in as the third-best big man on the board after Ayton and Bagley III, is +150 to be chosen No. 3 or better and -180 for No. 4 or later.

While the top of the draft is big man-heavy, NBA teams don’t follow the consensus of mock drafts, which means there is value in props on some of the highly-touted guards. Trae Young, who led the NCAA in scoring and assists at Oklahoma, is near even money at -110 to be picked seven or higher and could prove to be the right fit for an early-picking team such as the Orlando Magic, who own the No. 6 overall pick.

Oddsmakers love to dangle props on players with a lengthy college resume, who are coming back into favor as late first-round picks. Guard Jalen Brunson, who helped the Villanova Wildcats win two of the last three national championships, is priced at +115 to be a first-round selection.

And Duke guard Grayson Allen is a key to three props. Allen is -170 to go in the first round and +140 to be chosen in the second (or not at all). Where he falls might also be a key to the over hitting on the 5.0 total for the number of Duke and Kentucky players who go in the first round.

Allen could also secure the over on the 1.5 total on the number of seniors taken in the first round.

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.

Warriors, Rockets Road Betting Favorites on Friday NBA Odds

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Stephen Curry returning to the Golden State Warriors lineup means they will likely get most of the casual betting action, but their track record with tight lines on the road isn’t overly encouraging.

Up 2-0 in the series, the Warriors are 4.5-point road favorites on the NBA betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the New Orleans Pelicans for Friday night, with a 232.5-point total.

While the Warriors are 18-2 straight-up and 9-11 against the spread in their last 20 games against the Pelicans, the OddsShark NBA Database shows they are just 8-8 SU and 7-9 ATS in their last 16 games on the road in the playoffs when they were favored by five or fewer points.

Defending NBA champion Golden State is also 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games following a straight-up win. The Pelicans, who are led by star forward Anthony Davis and also boast a steady veteran with point guard Rajon Rondo, are riding an impressive run where they are 10-1 ATS over their last 11 games.

The first two games of the series had an extreme disparity in free throw attempts, with the Warriors taking 59 foul shots to the Pelicans’ 20. An anticipation of the calls evening out is one reason for the high total, but it’s reachable, as 10 of the last 12 games in this matchup has finished over.

The total has gone over in 21 of New Orleans’ last 30 home games, including their four most recent.

The Houston Rockets are 3.5-point road favorites against the Utah Jazz on Friday with a 209-point total in Game 3 of a series that is tied 1-1. While Houston finished first overall in the NBA regular season, star guard James Harden and company are just 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.

In contrast, the Jazz, led by rookie guard Donovan Mitchell, are 6-2 SU and ATS this season when they are an underdog at home by 4.5 or fewer points.

The Rockets are also 5-3 SU and 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight road games within the Western Conference. Beating the Jazz on their home floor is doable but won’t come easily, meaning there’s a good possibility of a grinding, one- or two-possession game.

The total has gone under in five of Houston’s last six games after a loss against the spread. The total has gone under in six of Utah’s last eight home games when it was an underdog of 4.5 or fewer points.

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.