Warriors double-digit betting favorites for Game 1 of NBA Finals

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The Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, have one of the largest lines they have seen in their long-running rivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James.

The Warriors are 12.5-point NBA betting favorites against the Cavaliers with 214.5-point total for the opener of the NBA Finals on Thursday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Since James rejoined Cleveland in 2014 the largest closing line that the Warriors have faced against Cleveland was 13.5 during a January 2015 game, according to the OddsShark NBA Database. In that time, the Warriors are 11-3 straight-up and 9-4-1 against the spread in home games against the Cavaliers, and nine of those 14 matchups have seen the total finish under, with two pushes.

Thanks to a signature dominant postseason performance from James, the Cavaliers are back in the NBA Finals, although they are just 4-7 SU and 4-6-1 ATS in their 11 most recent road games during the playoffs (including a portion of the 2017 NBA Finals against the Warriors)

For this Game 1, and possibly longer, James will not see his regular defensive shadow on the Warriors, Andre Iguodala. Kevin Love (concussion), the only other Cleveland player averaging more than 10 points per game in the playoffs, is questionable for Thursday night.

It’s always hard to pick against King James, but it is worth noting the Cavaliers are 8-22 SU and 9-20-1 ATS in their last 30 road games against Western Conference teams.

The Warriors, for all the scoring punch and defensive prowess of the big four of Curry, guard Klay Thompson and forwards Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, can get in their own way with turnovers, averaging 13.7 during their three losses against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals..

That issue is probably why Golden State is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games against Eastern teams, but the law of averages would suggest a team as good as Golden State is more apt to reverse such an outlying trend.

Cleveland got away with giving up an abundance of clean looks on three-point shots during its last series against the Boston Celtics and, of course, the Warriors shoot from deep early and often. That will probably be the determinant in whether the Warriors, who are 17-1 SU and 6-12 ATS in their last 18 home games during the playoffs as a favorite of 10 or more points, can cover the huge spread.

The total has gone under in the Cavaliers’ last four road games. The total has gone under in 11 of the Warriors’ last 18 home games during the playoffs as a favorite of at least 10.5 points. The total has gone under in eight of the Warriors’ last 10 games against Eastern 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.

Derek Fisher hired to coach WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks

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LOS ANGELES — Former NBA player and coach Derek Fisher has been hired to coach the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks.

The Sparks announced the move Wednesday, five says after longtime WNBA coach Brian Agler resigned.

Fisher helped the Los Angeles Lakers win five NBA titles during his 18-season playing career and served as president of the players’ union. He coached the New York Knicks from 2014-2016.

“I’m excited to be the new head coach of the LA Sparks,” Fisher said in a team statement. “There is no finer organization in the WNBA and I can’t wait to work with our ownership group, front office, talented players and staff to cement a culture of sustained excellence, which is what LA basketball fans demand – and deserve.”

The 44-year-old Fisher is the 12th coach in Sparks history.

“Derek is a great basketball mind who brings a ton of high-level experience to our team,” two-time MLP Candace Parker said. “I look forward to working with someone with championship pedigree and who has a track record of strong leadership. Derek has been a strong supporter of women’s basketball for quite some time, so it’s nice to officially welcome him.”

WNBA President Lisa Borders stepping down

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NEW YORK – WNBA President Lisa Borders is stepping down.

The league announced Tuesday she will become the first president and CEO of Time’s Up – an organization dedicated to safe, fair and dignified work for women. Borders says it was fully her decision to leave.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum will oversee the WNBA on an interim basis while a search for a successor begins,

Borders joined the league in 2016. She helped the WNBA grow in areas such as live streaming of games on Twitter and the availability of one-day daily fantasy.

Borders is the third executive to leave the league in the last six months. The league is coming off a season in which it had its highest TV ratings in four years. It begins its 23rd season next year.