NBA Finals Matchup Odds: Warriors-Cavaliers Repeat Tops The Board

Jay Pryce

Thursday, March 31, 2016 8:53 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 31, 2016 8:53 PM UTC

Updated NBA Finals Matchup odds favor a repeat of last year's matchup between the Warriors and Cavaliers. Take a look at update prices, and explore a few simple trends to help you with your bet here.

Oddsmakers are adjusting NBA Finals matchup odds with the postseason a little more than two weeks away. Seven teams have clinched one of the 16 playoff spots as of Thursday, with the Warriors and Cavaliers leading their respective conferences. Last year's Finals representatives top the board as the most likely matchup at NBA odds of +110 at 5Dimes. Cleveland, although just two games ahead of the Raptors in the Eastern Conference and visibly in disarray at times in the second half, are heavily favored to take care of business in-conference and make another run at the championship, taking up four of the top five likely matchups. Here's a look at the top 20 offerings posted by 5Dimes as of April 1:


NBA Finals Matchup +Odds  (2016-04-01)
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors 110
Cleveland Cavaliers vs San Antonio Spurs 368
Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors 1245
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Oklahoma City Thunder 1250
Cleveland Cavaliers vs LA Clippers 2500
Toronto Raptors vs San Antonio Spurs 2800
Miami Heat vs Golden State Warriors 2800
Atlanta Hawks vs Golden State Warriors 2975
Boston Celtics vs Golden State Warriors 3350
Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs 6150
Atlanta Hawks vs San Antonio Spurs 6550
Boston Celtics vs San Antonio Spurs 7300
Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder 8300
Indiana Pacers vs Golden State Warriors 9600
Charlotte Hornets vs Golden State Warriors 9600
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Houston Rockets 11600
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Memphis Grizzlies 15900
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Portland Blazers 15900
Toronto Raptors vs LA Clippers 16200
Detroit Pistons vs Golden State Warriors 16600


A Few Tips
Before placing futures wagers with your NBA picks, let's look at a few simple, but noteworthy trends that may help you uncover some value:

1) There's no value in backing the top two seeds meeting up. Since 2000, both the Eastern and Western Conference favorites have tussled in the Finals only twice: the Celtics and Lakers in 2008, and Pacers and Lakers in 2000. It was a bit more common in the 1980s and 90s, but still occurred just nine times in the 20-year span. In addition, the Finals have pit two teams back-to-back just four times since 1980. The odds on a Warriors-Cavaliers Finals has moved from +120 to +110 in the past week, and frankly is not worth it.

2) It's also wise to avoid any #5 seeds or less making a run to the championship. In the last 35 years, only three teams this low have reached the final series. In 1999, the Knicks made history as the only #8 seed to advance, but lost to the Spurs in five games. The playoff run was fluky, however, as it came after a lockout-shortened 50-game season. In 1995, the Rockets won it all, becoming the eighth team in history at that time to lift the trophy in back-to-back years. “Clutch City” was not so clutch at the beginning of the season, making for the lower seed. A trade for Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler at the deadline righted the ship, as he and Finals MVP Hakeem Olajuwon, reunited for the first time since their collegiate careers at the University of Houston, swept the Magic in four. The Rockets made an improbable run in 1981 as well, under the guidance of Moses Malone. Reaching the Finals as a #6 seed, they lost to the Celtics 4-2.

3) You better have a #1 or #2 seed in your futures wager. Only once in NBA history has a Finals matchup not fielded one of the top two seeds from either the Eastern or Western Conference (1978). So, make sure one of the following is represented in your bet: the Warriors, Spurs, Cavaliers, or Raptors. Simple stuff, but it may avoid a bettor from torching his cash when their eyes light up after seeing +19200 offered on a Thunders-Hawks meeting. For what it's worth, in the last 35 years, over half (19) of the Finals have pit #1 or #2 from each conference against one another, including the last four.

Best of luck!

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