NBA Finals Betting Odds: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors

The NBA Finals are upon us and for the first time in NBA history we are getting a third straight match-up between the same two teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors have been head and shoulders above every other team in the NBA for the last three years and this rubber match should be really exciting.

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LeBron James leads the Cavaliers, but don’t count out Kyrie Irving in this series. His one on one play was huge for the team last year and he plays well against Stephen Curry for whatever reason. Kevin Love has also played his best basketball since coming to Cleveland this season and he should be a factor in this series. While everyone has talked about the Warriors adding Kevin Durant, the Cavs addition of Kyle Korver and Deron Williams has really made their bench into a strength and that could be a strength for them in this series as the Warriors are a bit top heavy. Channing Frye wasn’t playable in this series last year, but lineups with him, JR Smith and Kyle Korver are a three-point shooting nightmare.

Of course, the Warriors are arguably one of the greatest teams ever assembled and they are a big favorite in this series for a reason. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry get all the hype, but it is really Draymond Green that makes this whole thing work. His defense is otherworldly and he is really underrated on the offensive end. Throw in Klay Thompson as one of the best shooters in the league and Andre Iguadola and this is a very dangerous group. LeBron James may be the best player in the league, but it would be a big upset if the Warriors lost this series.

The series odds for this series say as much.

NBA Finals Series Odds

 

Cleveland Cavaliers+200
Golden State Warriors-240

I’d say that is a little on the low side for the Warriors, but it’s really hard to go against LeBron James. I find the series correct score props to be even more interesting.

NBA Finals Correct Score Betting Odds

Cavaliers win 4-0+2800
Cavaliers win 4-1+1800
Cavaliers win 4-2+575
Cavaliers win 4-3+700
Warriors win 4-0+475
Warriors win 4-1+275
Warriors win 4-2+400
Warriors win 4-3+400

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The Cavaliers sweeping this series would be the most shocking thing and the odds reflect that. The surprising thing to me is that the favored outcome is Warriors in five games. That reminds me a bit of the Heat’s last stand against the Spurs a few years ago when the first two games were split and relatively close and then the Spurs just turned it on and dominated. That is easy to envision, but this is also the best LeBron we have ever seen and it is so hard to bet against him like that.

A few more general betting odds for this series.

Total Games Played in NBA Finals

Over 5½ (-175)oUnder 5½ (+145)u

Number of Games Played in Series

7 +2006 +2005 +2504 +550

NBA Finals Game Spread

Cleveland Cavaliers +1½ (+105)Golden State Warriors -1½ (-135)

One of the more insane props I’ve seen is combining this year and next year. It just makes you realize how likely that this trilogy might get a sequel. These two teams are so good and the possibility of them having another rematch is far more likely than anyone would like to admit. Best of five?

NBA Championship – Multiple Season Winner

GSW wins 2016/17 & 2017/18 NBA Champ+125
Any other result -155
CLE wins 2016/17 & 2017/18 NBA Champ +1100
Any other result -1700
Golden State wins 2017/18 NBA Champ -147
Field wins 2017/18 NBA Championship +107
Cleveland wins 2017/18 NBA Champ +305
Field wins 2017/18 NBA Championship -425

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Finally, let’s take a look at the MVP odds for this series. If Cleveland somehow wins this thing, LeBron James should not only be named MVP but greatest NBA player of all-time. A lot has been said about LeBron versus Michael Jordan, but Jordan never had to face a team that was the favorite in the NBA Finals and no one has ever had to face a super team of this level. This would be huge.

If the likely thing happens though and the Warriors win this series? That’s when things get interesting. Do Durant and Curry split the vote? Does Draymond suddenly become the default MVP? Or will Klay have the series we’ve been waiting for him to have and just go nuclear for a couple of games? Lots of great odds here.

NBA Finals MVP

Kevin Durant (Warriors)  +180
Stephen Curry (Warriors)  +225
LeBron James (Cavaliers)  +260
Draymond Green (Warriors)  +875
Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers)  +1700
Klay Thompson (Warriors)  +2200
Kevin Love (Cavaliers)  +5000
Andre Iguodala (Warriors)  +10000
Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers)  +15000
JR Smith (Cavaliers)  +20000
Richard Jefferson (Cavaliers)  +25000
Iman Shumpert (Cavaliers)  +27500
Shaun Livingston (Warriors)  +32500
Channing Frye (Cavaliers)  +45000
Kyle Korver (Cavaliers)  +50000
Ian Clark (Warriors)  +55000
JaVale McGee (Warriors)  +75000
Deron Williams (Cavaliers)  +110000
David West (Warriors)  +165000
Zaza Pachulia (Warriors)  +165000

A few other notable player props.

Player to score 100+ points first

LeBron James (CLE)+150
Stephen Curry (GSW)+300
Kevin Durant (GSW)+350
Kyrie Irving (CLE)+450
Klay Thompson (GSW)+850
Kevin Love (CLE)+1000
field – any other player+1600

Player with most points in NBA Finals

LeBron James (CLE)-110
Kevin Durant (GSW)+300
Stephen Curry (GSW)+350
Kyrie Irving (CLE)+500
Klay Thompson (GSW)+1000
Kevin Love (CLE)+1200
field – any other player+2500

Player with most rebounds in NBA Finals

Kevin Love (CLE)+125
Tristan Thompson (CLE)+325
LeBron James (CLE)+400
Draymond Green (GSW)+400
Kevin Durant (GSW)+500
field – any other player+1000
Stephen Curry (GSW)+1400

Player with most assists in NBA Finals

LeBron James (CLE)-150
Draymond Green (GSW)+225
Stephen Curry (GSW)+450
Kyrie Irving (CLE)+650
field – any other player+1400

Player with most blocks in NBA Finals

Draymond Green (GSW)+170
LeBron James (CLE)+215
Kevin Durant (GSW)+250
Tristian Thompson (CLE)+500
Kevin Love (CLE)+700
field – any other player+800

Player with most steals in NBA Finals

LeBron James (CLE)+160
Stephen Curry (GSW)+200
Draymond Green (GSW)+250
Kyrie Irving (CLE)+375
field – any other player+500

LeBron James – Total Triple Doubles

No Triple Double+140
1 Triple Double+200
2 Triple Doubles+250
3 Triple Doubles+1000
4 Triple Doubles+2000
5 Triple Doubles+8000
6 Triple Doubles+20000
7 Triple Doubles+25000

Draymond Green – Total Triple Doubles

No Triple Double+100
1 Triple Double+200
2 Triple Doubles+500
3 Triple Doubles+1600
4 Triple Doubles+5000
5 Triple Doubles+10000
6 Triple Doubles+25000
7 Triple Doubles+50000

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A Warriors vs Cavaliers Finals is more inevitable than ever

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals saw more of the same from LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers: domination. Everything went the Cavaliers way and James felt like the best player in the series by a measure of 1,000,000. The betting odds on the series were Cavaliers -600 versus Celtics +450 before game one. Let’s see what they look like after game one.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics – Eastern Conference Finals
Fri 5/19Cleveland Cavaliers (Series)-2750
8:30PMBoston Celtics (Series)+1450

That’s a pretty huge swing.

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Teams that win game one of the series have a 381-117 record in the series in NBA Playoffs history so I get that the odds would shift, but that is still a pretty huge shift. The Celtics were the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they are being given virtually no chance in the series.

In the Western Conference, the situation is even worse. After the Spurs led for much of game one, Kawhi Leonard landed on Zaza Pachulia‘s foot and the Warriors were able to comeback and win that one. Since then they dominated game two and once again look like the best team in the world. Stephen Curry has been amazing and Kevin Durant just takes everything they do to another level.

Before the series the Spurs were a +800 underdog with the Warriors as a -1250. After going up 2-0, the odds now look like this:

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors – Western Conference Finals
Sat 5/20San Antonio Spurs (Series)+2250
9:00PMGolden State Warriors (Series)-4500

Teams are 262-18 when up 2-0 in the series in NBA Playoffs history so this one makes sense as well. Still, it’s sad to see what should’ve been a great series upended by a stupid injury to one of the league’s best players.

This NBA season, this NBA Playoffs has been all about the Warriors and Cavaliers meeting for a third time in the NBA Playoffs. That has never happened before, but it looks like it is definitely going to happen this season. I truly hope that series lives up to the hype because this playoffs has been a huge disappointment in terms of competitive basketball. Only two series have gone the full seven games while the best two teams have yet to lose one.

While we are still a bit off from that match-up, we can get a preview of what the series odds might look like. The current NBA championship odds have the Warriors as basically a 3/1 favorite. The Cavaliers win last year was pretty magical and there were a lot of factors that went into it. Draymond Green‘s suspension being key and Harrison Barnes missing a ton of threes not helping either. It’s hard to imagine those things repeat themselves with Kevin Durant now on the team.

That said, LeBron James is playing at a level higher than we’ve ever seen from him so if there were ever a time for the super team to be upset, it would be this year when LeBron is playing like Superman.

NBA Championship
Golden State Warriors-285
Cleveland Cavaliers+295

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Eastern Conference Finals: Cavaliers vs. Celtics Betting Odds

Despite an impressive win over the Wizards, being the number one seed and holding home court advantage for the series, the Boston Celtics find themselves as a big underdog for the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Of course they are as LeBron James is Mr. Eastern Conference. He has been the star of the team representing the East in the Finals for six straight years and a seventh looks likely. Say what you will about his record in those Finals, I would say nothing, but that is truly amazing. The great Michael Jordan never made it to seven NBA Finals and you have to think that LeBron is going to make a run at Magic Johnson‘s nine NBA Finals appearances.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics – Eastern Conference Finals
Wed 5/17Cleveland Cavaliers (Series)-600
8:30PMBoston Celtics (Series)+450

That is all talk for another time though, let’s talk about this series. The Cavaliers are big favorites as they have LeBron James and he is the best player in the world, but how do they match-up from there?

Kevin Love and Al Horford are almost a wash. They both can nail the three and stretch the floor. I’d give a slight edge to Love’s rebounding and a slight edge to Horford’s ball handling. The big match-up will be Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving. Both men can score in droves and they will be guarding each other a lot in this series. Neither one is very good at defense so this will really be on Kyrie to take advantage of the size mismatch.

You have to think that Cavaliers will treat Thomas like they treated Stephen Curry in last year’s NBA Finals. Just continually putting the little guy in pick-and-rolls on defense and taking advantage of the mismatch. That really did a number on Curry as that series went on and, as good as he is, Thomas is no Steph Curry. That could be the key for the Cavaliers to keep this as a short series.

The Celtics have a lot of shooting with Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk all able to drain from downtown. That was a big advantage for them in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but the Cavaliers have so much more shooting that it’s not even fair. Kyle Korver, JR Smith and Channing Frye are three of the best three-point shooters in the league and LeBron is constantly creating for them. That advantage for the Celtics is a disadvantage in this series.

Rebounding was a problem for the Celtics as well and that will be a problem here as well. Tristan Thompson cleans up down there and Kevin Love will bang as well. I just have trouble seeing where the Celtics have an advantage here.

In all honesty, I see this series as another sweep or possibly a five-game gentleman’s sweep. The Cavs are just too good, too rested and too determined to get back to the Finals. The Celtics had a nice run, but they have a lot of work to do before they are on the level of this Cavaliers team.

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Western Conference Finals: Spurs vs Warriors Betting Odds

The San Antonio Spurs, without Kawhi Leonard, knocked off James Harden and the Houston Rockets and will advance to the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. This is a match-up we have been waiting two years for as these were the two best teams in the West last year as well. Of course, things are lot different now with Tim Duncan retiring, Harrison Barnes moving to the Mavericks and some guy named Kevin Durant coming to the Warriors.

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That move has made the Warriors a huge favorite in this year’s playoffs and that continues in this series with Golden State being a -1250 favorite. That is a first round number and here we are seeing it in the Conference Finals in a match-up of the two best regular season (and only 60+ win) teams. That is crazy and speaks to just how much better the Warriors are than every other team in the league right now.

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors – Western Conference Finals
Sun 5/14San Antonio Spurs (Series)+800
3:30PMGolden State Warriors (Series)-1250

An interesting thing to see going forward will be whether or not Steve Kerr is able to coach in this series. The difference between Mike Brown and Steve Kerr is huge and there is a chance that Greg Poppovich will really be able to take advantage of some of Brown’s decisions. For instance, there are times when the Warriors play without either Curry or Durant on the floor. That is cute and can work against the Jazz and the Blazers, but is not something that you want to do against San Antonio. Every possession matters with them.

The Spurs got a huge game six out of LaMarcus Aldridge and they’ll need that version of him to show up if they hope to have any chance in this series. I think the Spurs can create some problems with Aldridge going at Green with Kawhi guarding Durant. That still leaves the issue of what to do about Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but that’s the kind of problems you have to answer when you are trying to beat the Warriors.

San Antonio took two out of three in the regular season from this team, but that record is a bit dubious. One win came on opening night and the other came with all the stars resting. The Warriors 110-98 win was the closest we saw of these two teams playing at full strength.

Golden State is the best team in the league for a reason, they are a big favorite like this for a reason. They have more talent than anybody in the league and more three-point shooting than anyone in the league. They have that, but they also have an elite level defense led by Draymond Green. If the Spurs want to have a chance in this series they’ll need big performances on the fringes. Manu Ginobili, Jonathon Simmons, Danny Green and Patty Mills will all need to step up big for them to have a fighting chance. I would never count the Spurs out and I think this will be a good series, but it’s hard to imagine anything stopping Golden State this season.

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Warriors keep winning, but not for bettors

The Warriors won game two against the Jazz handily last night. It was a classic Warriors win. Kevin Durant scored 25 points with 11 rebounds and seven assists. Stephen Curry had 23 points and seven assists. Draymond Green was maybe the player of the game with 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and a block. The Warriors won easily and they improved to 6-0 in the playoffs.

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However, as people who bet on them can tell you: it was another losing night. The spread on the game was -12.5 and the Warriors won by 11. In game one, the Warriors won by 12 when the spread was -13.5. They have easily won the first two games of the series, but not by enough to cover the spread. Against the spread, the Warriors are a mere 3-3 thus far. (Interestingly, the Jazz are 7-2 ATS.) The sportsbooks have had the Warriors perfectly pegged thus far and this is not a new trend.

During the Warriors first run to the title in 2014-15 this happened over and over. They finished that playoff run at 11-10, exactly even. If you bet the same amount on every single game of the Warriors run, you would’ve broken even. What fun is that? That team was relatively new to high level playoff basketball and it showed at times. The Grizzlies series especially sticks out and the brief window when the Cavaliers were up 2-1 despite being without Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving (aka when it was the LeBron James show) also qualify. That team was great, historically great, but they were not a very profitable NBA champion.

They did slightly better in 2015-16 when they finished 14-10 against the spread (despite losing the NBA Finals). That is aided by going 7-3 against Houston and Portland in the first two rounds of the playoffs. A 7-7 finish against the Thunder and Cavaliers is honestly not that bad considering they blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals.

A list of recent NBA champions and their against the spread records in the playoffs:

2011 Dallas Mavericks: 15-4-2
2012 Miami Heat: 15-8
2013 Miami Heat: 12-11
2014 San Antonio Spurs: 13-10
2015 Golden State Warriors: 11-10
2016 Cleveland Cavaliers: 13-8

The thing to learn from this is simple: betting on the NBA is really hard. The bookmakers are good at what they do and they always save their very best lines for the very best teams in the most important games. The best way to make hay is to be on a surprise team like the Mavericks in 2011, be on a team that just blows everyone else away like the 2012 Miami Heat or a combination of the two like the 2016 Cavs who blew through the East and then upset the Warriors in the Finals.

If you liked the Warriors before the playoffs in 2015 you could have bet the Warriors future at 3/1 which ended up being three times as profitable as betting on every game. If you liked Cavaliers in 2016 you could’ve bet them +505 which would’ve been even more profitable than betting on them to go 13-8. A good NBA futures bet is often more profitable than betting game to game.

The current futures as of May 5th, midway through the second round are:

NBA Championship Futures
Fri 5/5  7:00PM
Golden State Warriors-212
Cleveland Cavaliers+335
San Antonio Spurs+1800
Houston Rockets+2200
Boston Celtics+4000
Washington Wizards+10000
Toronto Raptors+20000
Utah Jazz+50000

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