Warriors Head into Conference Finals as NBA Title Odds Favorites

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Now that Stephen Curry is back in their vaunted starting lineup, the Golden State Warriors have moved into minus money on the 2018 NBA title odds entering the league’s final four.

With the conference finals set to tip off, the defending champion Warriors are the -150 favorite to capture the Larry O’Brien Trophy at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Their Western Conference Finals opponent, the home court advantage-holding Houston Rockets, are listed at +240.

On the Eastern Conference side, the Cleveland Cavaliers – and LeBron James – are priced at +550, with the undermanned but resourceful Boston Celtics at +1600. The odds back up the contention the Western Finals are tantamount to the real NBA Finals.

The NBA playoff series prices for the conference finals reflect the champions-until-proven-otherwise notion. The Warriors and Cavaliers each have to start on the road, but after all, they have met in the last three NBA Finals.

The Warriors (-180) will need at least one away win against the Rockets (+160) to take the series. The good news for Warriors backers is that the OddsShark NBA Database shows that Golden State is 10-6 straight-up and 10-6 against the spread in its last 16 road playoff games in the month of May. If Curry is back to peak form after getting into the final four Warriors games, then they should have the deeper starting five.

The Rockets had 65 wins in the regular-season. Only 17 NBA teams have topped that and 12 also won the championship. Whether the Rockets can back up the hype will depend on maintaining their defensive efficiency against a top offense, as well as having the combo of guards James Harden and Chris Paul outplay Curry and Klay Thompson. For what it might be worth, Paul has matched up well defensively against Curry over the years.

The Cavaliers (-280) swept the top-seeded Toronto Raptors in the conference semifinal round, while the Celtics (+235) defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in spite of an accumulation of injuries.

The fact that James-led teams have won the Eastern Conference seven years in a row drives down the Cavaliers’ price, but it’s so tough to go against him. The Cavaliers’ supporting players, such as forward Kevin Love and forward George Hill, also seem healthy after up-and-down regular seasons.

The Celtics are 5-15 SU and 11-8-1 ATS in their last 20 games against the Cavaliers, which is another contributor to their price on top of the “Playoff LeBron” factor. However, the Celtics are a much stronger defensive team than the Indiana Pacers squad that stretched the Cavaliers to seven games in the first round and both center Al Horford and guard Terry Rozier have found ways to get big buckets in the late stages of quarters, when NBA games are ultimately decided.

If one doesn’t worry about feeling foolish for denying James’ greatness, then the Celtics at better than 2-to-1 are a justifiable play.

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.

 

Philadelphia 76ers could be top contenders in the East for playoffs

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The new duo of James Harden and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers have proved they are a top team in the league as they sit in the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference below the Miami Heat. The NBA playoffs have now come into question as the league enters the last month of regular season play.

Vincent Goodwill tells Mike Smith and Michael Holley he’s not sold on the 76ers being a favorite in the Eastern conference, yet. Harden has scored over 25 points in his first three games with his new team and has formed a good connection on the court with possible NBA MVP candidate Joel Embiid.

With the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks right behind the 76ers in the Eastern Conference standings, the margin for error is getting thin for Philadelphia since Embiid and Harden are key players.

Have the Philadelphia 76ers shown they should be favorites in the East or do they need more time, especially with Harden still in his first couple weeks with the team?

 

How to watch the Battle Showcase Series: Live stream, TV schedule for this weekend’s basketball games

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JAN 18 Spalding Hoophall Classic
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Elite high school football and basketball games are headed to NBC Sports and Peacock, starting with the Battle Showcase Series this weekend at Florida Memorial University. On Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10 seven highly anticipated basketball matchups will take place. See below for the full schedule and additional information on how to watch the games.

Headlining this weekend’s competition is a match-up between Vertical Academy and the California Basketball Club as Mikey Williams, the country’s No. 2-rated high school junior and top player in the state of North Carolina, faces UCLA commit Amari Bailey and LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. That battle will take place on Saturday, October 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Both teams will compete again on Sunday, October 10. Vertical Academy will face Life Christian Academy at 2:00 p.m. ET on Peacock, and the California Basketball Club will battle the KT Kings at 5:00 p.m. ET on Peacock.

Then, on Thursday, October 14 the inaugural Battle Football Showcase is set to take place on NBCSN featuring top high school quarterback Arch Manning, the nephew of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and New York Giants two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback Eli Manning, and grandson of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning. Manning and the Isidore Newman School will face St. Charles Catholic, their in-state rival, at 7:00 p.m. ET. Live stream will be available via the NBC Sports App.


How to watch the Battle Showcase Series:

*All times are listed as ET

Saturday, October 9:

3:00 PM, Game 1: Rip City (NSU University School) vs Life Christian Academy – Peacock

4:30 PM, Game 2: The High (Miami Senior) vs KT Kings (Calvary Christian) – Peacock

6:00 PM, Game 3: The Explorers (Christopher Columbus) vs The View (Riverview) – NBCSN

8:00 PM, Game 4: California Basketball Club (Sierra Canyon) vs Vertical Academy – NBCSN

Sunday, October 10:

2:00 PM, Game 1: Vertical Academy vs Life Christian Academy – Peacock

3:30 PM, Game 2: The View (Riverview) vs Rip City (NSU University School) – Peacock

5:00 PM, Game 3: KT Kings (Calvary Christian) vs California Basketball Club (Sierra Canyon) – Peacock


How to watch the Battle Football Showcase:

  • Where: St. Charles Catholic High School in Laplace, Louisiana
  • When: Thursday, October 14
  • Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: NBCSN
  • Stream live: Watch live with the NBC Sports App