For the third year in a row it’s Cleveland Cavaliers against Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. They’re the first pair of teams to meet in three straight Finals and Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to defend the championship title they won last year – the first in the team’s history. It’s the finale that many pundits would have expected and maybe hoped for.
The fact that both teams breezed through their Conference Playoffs (Cleveland dropping just one game and Golden State Warriors completing a 12-0 sweep) proves quite definitely that these two are almost in a league of their own in the NBA right now.
After sharing the previous two championships, they will feel that they have unfinished business, which sets up a potentially classic series to finish the 2016/17 NBA season. The Finals begin on Thursday 1 June and, if it goes all the way to a decider, game seven will be on Sunday 18 June in California. Read on for strategy and tips to guide your online betting around the NBA Finals!
Golden State Warriors have been favourites for the title since before the start of the season and the bookies are sticking to that for the Finals. It’s not difficult to see why. This season they became the first team in NBA history to win over 67 games in three successive seasons.
Golden State also went on to not lose a single game in their Western Conference Playoffs. They are currently a pretty unappealing 10/27 with bet365 to win the series and 1/3 with Winner Sports to prosper in the opening encounter.
The addition of Kevin Durant has played a big part in Golden State’s success and he was in top form during the playoffs. The former MVP averaged 25.2 points on 56% shooting (42% from deep) during the three games and is also the favourite to take the Finals MVP crown, again at 2/1 with Ladbrokes.
Whether the Cavaliers can pull off an upset depends heavily on their star man LeBron James. The four-time NBA MVP winner was sensational in the Finals last year as Cavs came from 3-1 down to win 4-3 in an incredible series. The basketball superstar has averaged 26.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.7 assists during the regular season.
However, the Warriors will be wise to this and have the offensive power to outscore their opponents, which is why LeBron and the Cavs are considered underdogs at 11/5 with bet365. LeBron is not a candidate for the MVP award for this season but he looks a decent bet at 9/4 with Coral to be named the Finals MVP.
In between him and Durant in the betting is Golden State’s Stephen Curry, who has been named NBA MVP for the last two years and was the highest point scorer in three of their four games in the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio Spurs. He is 2/1 at a number of the top online betting sites and 4/1 with Paddy Power to be the top point scorer.
The series score market is always popular with basketball betting fans as it offers more ways of winning and better odds than simply betting on the winner. It’s a difficult one to predict, though. While Golden State are strong favourites for the Finals, the bookies are not predicting a whitewash.
In the series score market, 4-1 to the Warriors is the shortest-priced score at 11/4 with betfair. The four-time NBA champions didn’t drop a single game during the playoffs as they cruised to the Finals and are 15/2 with Ladbrokes to pull off another 4-0 victory.
You can get similar odds for the Cavs to win 4-2. Unsurprisingly, a 4-0 win for Cleveland is the outside bet at 33/1 with William Hill, but it would take a brave (some may say foolish) punter to put money on that. Similarly, basketball followers can bet on the number of games there will be in the Finals.
With 4-1 to Golden State being the most fancied scoreline, five games is logically the favourite in the total number of games market at best odds of 11/5 with betfair. Four games is the outsider at odds of 6/1 with William Hill, suggesting the bookies believe that the Cavs will at least make a good fist of it and take them to five or six games.
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