nba-finals_headerAfter a record setting game seven between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the victorious Warriors have advanced in the West to the NBA Finals to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East. The Thunder were an unlikely underdog who rode a wave of momentum to force a game seven with the league’s best team, but they couldn’t prevail in the end. Still the Warriors were heavy favorites in every round as were the Cavaliers but the Thunder who aren’t from down under nearly provided a massive upset for sports bettors who love to play the dogs. The road to the Finals was remarkably similar for both teams. The Cavaliers had an easy opening round sweep of the Pistons and a second round sweep of the Atlanta Hawks 4-0, but the Toronto Raptors managed to draw out the Eastern Conference Finals to six games before Cleveland finally advanced with a 113-87 win. Until they ran into the Thunder, the Warriors were having a fairly easy time of it too, advancing 4-1 over the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers. It may suggest to some observers though that despite the Warriors having the NBA’s best record overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the more dominant team. Game one of the NBA Finals is Thursday, June 2nd at 9 PM ET. The Warriors are the money line favorite, opening at -255 over the Cavaliers at +215. The line for the entire series is similar as well, with the Warriors being -220 over the course of seven games (or less) and the Cavaliers being +180. For game one there are some interesting props that can be played. For example the odds of the game not going to overtime are a heavy -1800, but if you’re a risk taker and believe the Warriors and Cavs will end tied in regulation it’s a +1150 payoff if you bet. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are the key to this series for the Warriors, each averaging over 26 points per game. In addition both men are lights out shooters from the three point arc, averaging over 40%. If the Cavaliers are hoping to overcome the odds they’ll need to put up an impenetrable wall of defense and keep their scoring average down. That’s a problem almost no regular season conference opponent could solve. Double team Curry and Thompson will light you up. Double team Thompson and you’ve got the exact same problem. The second best team in the Pacific won 20 fewer games than the Warriors – it’s not an easily riddle to solve. That doesn’t mean the Cavaliers or LeBron James are going away without a fight. He averaged just over 25 points a game in the regular season, and just under the same in the post-season, while actually upping the average amount of minutes he’s on the court. That’s to be expected as defenses tighten up each round, but as Thompson is to Curry, Kyrie Irvin is to LeBron. Don’t bet on the Cavs solely on the basis of “King James” – if you like the dog in this fight it’s because of the pack that’s running with James. As always previews such as these are for entertainment purposes and if you wager please only bet what you can afford. Enjoy the NBA Finals!


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