Who couldn’t have predicted this matchup before the season started?
For the fourth consecutive year, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are the last two teams standing in the playoffs.
The defending champions, who won in 2015 and 2017, are huge favorites (-900) to retain the title. The Cavaliers (+550), who have been pushed to the limit in two series this postseason, captured the crown in 2016 (odds provided by Bovada).
Game 1 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals is Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Game time is 9 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. in California.
Warriors Huge Favorites To Repeat
LeBron James has carried the Cavaliers throughout the postseason journey in the East, knocking off Indiana and Boston in seven games and the conference regular-season champs from Toronto in four.
The Cavaliers are averaging 101.2 points a game on 46.1 per cent shooting and allowing 99.9 points on 45.6 per cent shooting. James is averaging 34 points and 8.8 assists. He has been the MVP of the playoffs, but now he takes on the four-headed monster in Curry, Durant, Thompson and Green.
The defending champions had an easy time of it in the first two rounds, beating San Antonio and New Orleans in five games each. The conference final was another story as the Warriors trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half of the deciding game against Houston. They pulled away in the end to win Game 7 against the Rockets 101-92.
The Warriors are averaging 109.1 points a game on 47.2 per cent shooting and allowing 100.3 points on 42.6 per cent shooting. Kevin Durant is averaging 29 points and 7.1 rebounds while Steph Curry is averaging 24.8 points and 4.9 assists. Klay Thompson is the third double-digit scorer and Draymond Green is grabbing 11.6 rebounds.
This series looks like a one-sided affair. Don’t bet on it going past five games. But betting on the Warriors is still a risky proposition. At -900 on the betting line, a bettor would have to wager $900 to earn a profit of $100 for a $1,000 total return. Is it worth it?
VGB’s pick — Golden State (-900)
Format For NBA Finals
The NBA Finals is a best-of-seven series with home-court advantage going to the team with the best regular-season record — Golden State (58-24). Cleveland finished the season at 50-32. The Warriors have had the extra game at home in all three previous matchups in the finals.
The breakdown of the seven games for the top seed is as follows: two home, two away, home, away and home.
Golden State won the 2014-15 finals in six games and the 2016-17 title in five games. Cleveland won the 2015-16 crown in seven games.
Alternative Bets For NBA Finals
There are betting lines on all the quarters and both halves. There’s also action on alternative point spreads and totals. There are dozens of player props, too — most of them involving points scored and rebounds for individual players.
Let’s take a look at some standard Game 1 odds and try to pick a couple of winners (odds provided by Bovada).
The Cavaliers are 8-10 against the spread in the playoffs, but they have never been 12-point underdogs all season. They lost both meetings against the Warriors in the regular season — by 10 at home and by seven in Oakland.
VGB’s pick — Cleveland (+12)
The under total has dominated the playoffs for both teams. The Cavs are 11-7 in scoring the under, while the Warriors are 12-5. The betting line is 216 for the entire game, but 109.5 for the first half. The Cavs have no shot at winning Game 1 in a shootout.
VGB’s pick — Under (109.5)
VGB’s Top 10 NBA Teams
(Current odds to win the NBA Finals listed after team record. Odds provided by Bovada.)
- Golden State (58-24) -900 — Warriors favored all season to defend title.
- Cleveland (50-32) +550 — Cavaliers headed to fourth consecutive final.
- Houston (65-17) — Rockets blow 11-point halftime lead to end season.
- Boston (55-27) — Ainge plans some small tweaks to roster in offseason.
- Toronto (59-23) — General manager says “it was time” to fire Casey.
- Philadelphia (52-30) — Embiid voted to All-NBA Second Team honors.
- Utah (48-34) — Mitchell in final running for Rookie of the Year award.
- New Orleans (48-34) — Pelicans look to free agency to build on success.
- Indiana (48-34) — Oladipo is the fifth Pacer to make an All-NBA team.
- Oklahoma City (48-34) — Agent says George likely staying with Thunder.