The NBA Finals odds in Las Vegas continue to fluctuate as bets come in on the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, as the two teams square off for the fourth consecutive year for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The series opened at the Westgate SuperBook with the defending champion Warriors a heavy favorite at -1000, or implied winning odds of 90.9 percent. Cleveland, the 2016 champs who other than LeBron James and Kevin Love have little remaining in common with that title team, opened at +650.
ESPN basketball writer Kevin Pelton believes the series is the most mismatched Finals in modern history. Oddsmakers’ opening lines support that thinking, as Cleveland is the longest underdog in a Finals since 2002.
Despite LeBron James’ Cavs receiving little respect in Las Vegas, a few bettors are putting money on the unlikely upset. The SuperBook says it’s taken eight bets on not just a Cleveland title win, but a 4-0 sweep on 300/1 odds.
The line means a bet as little as $10 would net the gambler $3,000 should that most improbable scenario come true.
Golden State has unquestionably been the best NBA franchise over the last four years, and looks to win its third title in that timeframe. But LeBron has unquestionably been the best player in the world over the last decade, and is playing in his eighth straight Finals.
As for being the underdog, James said “it doesn’t matter what the storyline is. I’m the wrong guy to ask. I just like to compete.”
Rooting for Warriors
Early money on the series seems to be either mixed or in Golden State’s favor, as odds have lengthened further on a Cleveland upset. As of Wednesday, the SuperBook series price has shortened on the Warriors to -1200, and moved the Cavs to +750.
Oddsmakers certainly don’t want to have to be rooting for Cleveland come Game 1 on Thursday night.
South Point Hotel Casino oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said he took a $90,000 bet on the Warriors on -900 odds that would net $10,000.
The SuperBook hasn’t revealed any such substantial wagers on the favorites, but the shortening of the Golden State odds hints that they feel they’ve taken enough money on Steph Curry and Kevin Durant’s squad.
At -1200, you’ll need to risk $1,200 to win just $100. Conversely, to win $100 on Cleveland, a $13.33 bet will do the trick.
The NBA Finals odds don’t give the Cavs much of a shot at winning. That naturally means lines on the MVP of the series are long for Cleveland’s relentless leader LeBron James.
Durant is the favorite to win the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP Award at 4/5. He’s followed by teammate Curry at 3/2. James is long at 13/2.
Other options include Golden State stars Klay Thompson and Draymond Green at 25/1, and the Cavs’ Kevin Love (100/1) and Jeff Green (200/1).
Game 1 tips off Thursday night in Golden State at 6 pm local time (9 pm ET). The Warriors are 12.5-point favorites, and the over/under is at 214.5.