No matter what happens in the Eastern Conference, we can be pretty sure the Golden State Warriors will be -275 on the NBA odds board when the Finals roll around.
It doesn’t have quite the same air of inevitability that it did a few days ago, but the Eastern Conference Finals is still pretty much decided in the eyes of the betting market. The series price has been taken off the NBA odds board at Bovada; the championship futures market is still open, though, and at press time you can get the Cleveland Cavaliers at +190 to defend their title. The Boston Celtics, down 3-1 in their series, are distant long shots at +50000.
This is fantastic, because it lets us see what the series price of the NBA Finals should look like – provided the Cavaliers go on to win it all. The Golden State Warriors are -275 favorites to regain their championship, and those odds shouldn’t budge if the Cavs win Game 5 on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET, TNT). Maybe if the Celtics extend the series, or LeBron James breaks both his ankles, or some other unforeseen circumstance. Otherwise, we’re good to go. So let’s skip ahead and get started with our too-early NBA Finals preview.
The Warriors (67-15 SU, 40-39-3 ATS) are coming off their best-ever regular season, at least in terms of performance quality. They didn’t win 73 games, but they did beat opponents by 11.6 points per game, up from 10.8 points last year and 10.1 points when they won the title in 2014-15. Golden State is even better in these playoffs, sweeping the first three rounds at 12-0 SU and 8-4 ATS with a point differential of +16.3.
Granted, the Dubs have had some help along the way. Each of their playoff opponents pulled up lame, none more so than the San Antonio Spurs, who were already without Tony Parker going into the Western Conference Finals, then lost Kawhi Leonard (ankle) and David Lee (knee) during the series.
Last week has been full of Kawhi and Isaiah injuries, 30 point blowouts in the conference finals, and stories about LaVar Ball. Make it stop— Chris Herring (@Herring_NBA) May 21, 2017
The Cavaliers (51-31 SU, 36-43-3 ATS) have had plenty of help on the injury front, too. But after minor scares for both Kyrie Irving (ankle) and Kevin Love (back) in Game 5, and with King James possibly running out of gas, the Cavs don’t have that aura of invincibility anymore. Maybe a light sheen, but not an aura. FiveThirtyEight gives the Cavs just an 8 percent chance of winning the title and 92 percent for Golden State, so it’s pretty obvious where the betting value is for our NBA picks. That’s assuming the Cavs aren’t still holding out on us, of course.Free NBA Pick: Warriors -275Best Line Offered: Bovada