Our NBA betting blog for Thursday explores the chances the Celtics or Cavaliers break out the brooms in Round 2 after taking commanding 2-0 series leads. Also, we look ahead to the Western Conference championship in search of a profitable series prop wager.
Bet carefully if buying in on a proposition bet that either the Celtics or Cavaliers will finish off the Bulls or Raptors without losing. Since 2002, 29 playoff teams have taken a 2-0 series lead in the second round. Only nine went on to sweep their opponents. Game 3 tends to be the tipping point with the matchup shifting venues. The undefeated close at 1.2-point underdogs on average in this spot, going 12-17 SU and ATS overall. In fact, when catching points, 2-0 teams are 5-12 SU and ATS, losing to the number by 3.9 points on average. Oddsmakers opened Boston 5-point pups for Game 3 Thursday night, adjusting to 5.5 10 hours from tip.
The Cavs and Raptors tangle in Toronto Friday night, the line yet to be set as of publication. Sine LeBron James returned to Cleveland, the Cavs have been favored in eight of nine road trips to Air Canada Centre. In the last 15 years, when tipping off at even money or chalk, 2-0 teams in Round 2 are 7-5 SU and ATS. They are winning by a slim 4.4 points per contest. If James and company go off favorites and earn a Game 3 victory, than stick a fork in the Raptors. Bettors have seen a sweep in six of seven Game 4 attempts under these conditions.
Looking Ahead to the Western Conference Championship
No disrespect to Jazz fans, but barring something catastrophic, most have the Warriors penciled in to play for the Western Conference title versus either the Rockets or Spurs. Golden State went off -4000 favorites to win the Utah series even before their 106-94 Game 1 victory. Here are the facts: since head coach Steve Kerr took over, the Dubs are 21-4 SU and 14-11 ATS in the first two rounds of the postseason. Wow.
Whether Golden State faces Houston or San Antonio, expect a tough series. Since 2002, the top seed has never swept a two or three seed for the conference championship. Ironically, there has been a pair of 4-0 runs in this span, each coming from the lower seed. Both the 2014 Cavaliers (-190) and 2002 Nets (-150) were favored to win their respective series, though.
The Warriors are -475 chalk to win the West at 5Dimes currently; not much value there. Nor will the pending series price offer any leeway for bettors. Last year, Golden State went off -430 favorites over the third-seeded Thunder. In 2015, Curry and crew tipped off -880 versus the two-seed Rockets.
Your best bet, if looking to play a series prop backing Golden State, is to shoot for the Warriors in six or seven. The average numbers of games played in this scenario are 5.8. Just six out of the 22 matchups have finished five games or fewer. Four of these short series occurred in six matchups where the top seed tips off half-point underdogs or greater on average. Unless Curry goes down with an injury, expect the Dubs to average as chalk versus either opponent. They’ll have to earn it though.