Although we are early in the conference finals of the NBA Playoffs, betting odds are available for every possible NBA Finals matchup and we have selections for all scenarios.
We are very early in both NBA Playoffs Conference Final series, and as usual we will be here making NBA picks every day on a game-by-game basis. However, our good friends at 5 Dimes have now posted series odds on every possible NBA Finals matchup, so naturally we are here to make selections on every matchup at those current odds.
Remember that these wagers will only stand if the matchup actually takes place and would be voided otherwise. Additionally, if you prefer living a bit more dangerously with the reward being a better payoff, there are also props being offered for outcomes of exact series matchups, and all of these wagers stand regardless of which teams advance, meaning you will have already lost if your matchup does not take place.
Since the odds on those are so nice, before moving on to all of our possible series predictions, we will first give you two of the exact series plays, the first of which is what we actually believe will happen and the second of which looks like a live longshot with good value.
So without further ado, here are those exact matchup plays followed by our plays and analysis for all four possible NBA Finals matchups, again with all NBA odds coming from 5 Dimes.
Exact Series Results (All Plays Have Action)
Cleveland beats Golden State (+312)
This is our real expected result for the NBA Finals, and taking this price is also a very nice quasi-arb. That is because the Warriors are currently -250 on the potential matchup odds, so if this matchup happens and the actual series odds are basically the same as the current potential series odds, you can lock up a profit if you elect to do so. Of course, the reason we said “quasi” is because you would lose everything it the matchup does not take place, but note that as we write this the Warriors are leading their series 2-0 and the Cavaliers lead 1-0 with the win coming on the road.
Atlanta beats Houston (+13900): While we concede that this is a longshot with the Rockets currently trailing the Warriors 2-0 and the Hawks trailing the Cavaliers 1-0, these 139/1 odds make this play worth it for just a tiny investment. After all, the Rockets have covered both games on the road so far vs. a Warriors’ team that has the best record in the NBA while losing by four points and one point respectively in Oakland, where Golden State is now 45-3 this year! And the Hawks were the top seeds in the Eastern Conference after winning 60 games this year, so it is not totally far-fetched to think that they cannot win a game in Cleveland to reclaim home court advantage in their series.
All NBA Finals Matchups (Matchups Must Take Place for Action)
Cleveland Cavaliers +210 over Golden State Warriors
These are the two favorites to win their Conference Final series and we feel that this matchup will indeed take place. The Cavaliers did what they had to do by winning Game 1 vs. the Hawks on the road, and while the Warriors had a tougher time than expected in their two wins over the Rockets, they should still prevail with their amazing home court advantage, although winning a game in Houston would obviously not hurt either. So if this matchup happens, as much respect as we have for all that the Warriors have done this season including boasting the league MVP in Stephen Curry, the Cavaliers still boast the bets player on the planet in LeBron James and their style and defense give the Cavs great value at this price. Yes the Warriors led the NBA in scoring, field goal percentage and three-point shooting during the year as well as in defensive efficiency, but as of this writing it is the Cavaliers than lead all playoff teams in offensive efficiency during the post-season as well as in fewest points per game allowed defensively. Just as significant though is that the Cavaliers have been extremely efficient offensively while playing at the slowest pace of any team during the playoffs. Remember when the Warriors had trouble early on with the Grizzlies because of their stiff defense and ability to slow the pace offensively? Well, you could picture the same type of style from the Cavaliers, expect with better finishers offensively including King James himself.
NBA Pick: Cavaliers in 6
Cleveland Cavaliers -130 over Houston Rockets
Assuming we are right about the Cavaliers advancing, this scenario involves the Rockets coming back against the Warriors, which we do not expect but now seems less unlikely than before the series given how close the first two games in Oakland were. And should this matchup take place, we again see value with the Cavaliers at this seemingly light price. Yes we get that the Western Conference is better than the Eastern Conference from top to bottom, but not only do the Cavaliers lead all playoff teams in offensive efficiency as mentioned earlier, but they are also the only Eastern Conference team in the top seven in that category. And then there is the vast difference in the defenses if these teams, as while the Cavaliers have allowed the fewest points in the playoffs, the Rockets are 15th or second to last in points against, ahead of only the team that they beat in the first round in the Dallas Mavericks. Yes James Harden should have been the league MVP in many people’s eyes, but the Cavaliers have the defense to smother him and dare some other Rocket player to beat them. We would say good luck with that.
NBA Pick: Cavaliers in 5
Golden State Warriors -485 over Atlanta Hawks
This series assumes we are right about the Warriors finishing off the Rockets as they have been favored to do all along, but the underdog Hawks reclaiming home court advantage from the Cavaliers and then holding on to it to pull the upset. And if this series comes to pass, it looks like the biggest mismatch of any possible NBA Finals series. So while we get that there is no value in taking a -485 favorite, this series is not priced nearly high enough for us to even consider taking a flyer on the Hawks. Yes, both of these teams are well balanced offensively and defensively. We have already presented the virtues of the Warriors while the Hawks finished the regular season averaging 102.5 points per game thanks to ranking fourth in field goal percentage and second (behind the Warriors) in three-point shooting, as well as ranking fifth in points against defensively thanks to ranking sixth in field goal percentage allowed and seventh in three-point defense. However, as good as those numbers and ranking are, the Warriors are simply better in every phase except points against, which they make up for by leading in defensive efficiency, and Golden State accumulated those better numbers vs. stiffer Western Conference opponents all season.
NBA Pick: Warriors in 4
Atlanta Hawks -110 over Houston Rockets
This matchup would take place if we are wrong about both of our conference winners, but an obvious benefit to that is we would be alive for a monstrous payout with our exact matchup play above! Yes, both teams would come in with nice momentum following conference final upsets and the Rockets come from the stronger conference, but the Hawks are one Eastern team that did well vs. the West this season going 22-8 straight up (19-11 ATS) out-of-conference including a solid 9-6 both straight up and ATS on the road, and Atlanta swept both meetings with Houston. As the old adage says, “Defense win championships,” and the Hawks would have the far superior one here and, like the Cavaliers, a defense capable of at least containing Harden and daring a peripheral Houston player to step up offensively. On a side note, should this matchup take place, the right move would be to take the Rockets to win this series as that would lock up a profit given the exact matchup play above. But as stand-alone and regardless of all other plays, our selection would be on the Hawks to win this series with their defense.
NBA Pick: Hawks in 6