The first round of the 2015-16 NBA Finals is coming to a close, and sports books are adjusting the odds for the championship accordingly. Take a look at updated NBA odds prices here.
The Golden State Warriors remain the favorites to win the 2015-16 NBA Championship at 7-to-5 odds, though the price is increasing. Listed at 5-to-1 prior to the season, the line fell to as low as 1-to-2 before their first-round matchup with the longest shot on the board, the Houston Rockets (1000-to-1).
The adjustment is due to the uncertain status of star player Stephen Curry. The reigning NBA MVP, who already missed two games in the series due to a sprained ankle, went down with a knee injury at the end of the first half in Game 4.
At the time of publication, an MRI is pending, but the belief is the Golden State star may miss a significant amount of time. If this is the case, expect the price to increase heavily. Curry is worth 10 points or more to the Warriors and their chances at winning consecutive championships takes a significant hit with his absence.
The San Antonio Spurs, one of two teams already through to the Conference Semifinals, are the books' second favorite at 2-to-1 odds. Coach Gregg Popovich's squad destroyed the injury-ravaged Memphis Grizzlies in four straight games, winning by a 22-point average margin. With the Warriors, the Spurs were one of only ten teams in NBA history to finish the regular season with a points differential of 10 points or better. Their odds were 4-to-1 to win the Finals on April 1.
Like the Spurs, the Cleveland Cavaliers are also through to the Conference Semifinals, taking care of the inexperienced Detroit Pistons in four straight. Books have the top seed in the East and last year's Finals representatives listed as high as 3-to-1 odds despite the sweep.
LeBron James, who carried the team on his back in last year's playoffs with injuries to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, has his supporting cast healthy for this run. The trio stepped up their game in the first round, and looks primed to reach the Finals in consecutive trips. Like the Spurs price, expect Cleveland's to fall if Golden State loses Curry.
The high-flying Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging 110.5 points per game in their first-round matchup with the Mavericks, is the books' fourth choice at 12-to 1 odds. Rounding out the top five selections are the Los Angeles Clippers at odds of 20-to-1.
Below is a table showing the updated odds for the NBA Championship, including prices for each remaining team, their odds at end of the regular season and prior to it (August 1):
|Team||Updated Odds||End Regular Season||Start Regular Season|
|Golden State Warriors||+140||-200||+500|
|San Antonio Spurs||+200||+400||+500|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+1200||+2000||+800|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+2000||+3500||+1100|
Bettors need to take a wait-and-see approach with Curry. Oddsmakers suggested the Finals would be a three-horse race prior to the first round, and any long-term injury to the Warriors sharpshooter would clearly makes it a duel between the Spurs and Cavs.
At the prices currently listed, one could make a bet on both San Antonio and Cleveland and make money, if either are victorious. But one has to be confident Golden State will falter minus the the league MVP, and an unlikely dark horse does not spoil the party.