Warriors, Rockets NBA Favorites Entering Semifinals, Cavs Underdogs vs. Raptors

Posted on: April 30, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: April 30, 2018, 11:47h.

The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets are the heavy favorites to win the NBA title heading into round two of the playoffs.

Warriors Rockets NBA odds
Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors and James Harden’s Houston Rockets are the favorites in Las Vegas to win the NBA Finals. (Image: Sergio Estrada/USA TODAY Sports)

After making quick work of their round one foes, the Warriors and Rockets cruised to easy first-game wins in their semifinal series openers. Golden State topped the New Orleans Pelicans 123-101 on Saturday, and the Rockets took care of the Houston Jazz 110-96 on Sunday.

Cleveland and Boston both needed seven games to reach the semis. They will respectively face the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers.

Las Vegas oddsmakers believe the two teams that are already one-up in on their semi opponents are the squads to beat for the NBA championship.

The Westgate SuperBook has the Warriors as the favorites at 4/5, or implied odds of about 56 percent. A $100 bet and Golden State winning its third title in four years nets the gambler $80 at this juncture.

The Rockets are next at 9/5, with a $100 wager coming to fruition netting $180. The 76ers, the hottest team in the NBA, are next at 8/1.

Houston, the Eastern Conference regular season leaders, follow at 12/1. The remaining four goes Cleveland (15/1), Boston (80/1), Pelicans and Jazz (100/1).

LeBron the Underdog

LeBron James has never lost a first-round playoff series in his illustrious career, but his Cavs needed all seven games against a resilient Indiana Pacers team led by Victor Oladipo.

Cleveland won Sunday 105-101 to advance, but sportsbooks were none too happy about Oladipo’s last-second three pointer that wiped millions of dollars from their books.

The Cavs were favorites by five to 5.5 points at tip off, meaning the made three pointer as time expired allowed the Pacers to cover the spread.

“It was probably a swing of $3 million to $5 million in Nevada,” Wynn Las Vegas sportsbook manager Johnny Avello told ESPN. “These types of things happen … whether it’s a two-run home run to cover the run line in the bottom of the ninth or an empty-net goal in the last minute of an NHL game.”

After sneaking by Indiana, the Cavs will have an even harder test in facing the Raptors. Toronto is unquestionably out for revenge, as LeBron & Co. have ousted the team up north in each of the past two seasons.

But Toronto is a better team in 2017-18, and Cleveland has struggled amid numerous roster changes. The SuperBook has the Raptors the favorite at -200, or implied odds of about 67 percent.

Series Odds

Most sportsbooks feel the NBA title will be decided when and if the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets meet in the Western Conference Finals.

Both are outlandishly favored in the semifinals with one game already in the bag. The Warriors are at -3500, (implied odds of 97.22 percent), and the Rockets are at -6000 (98.36 percent).

At those odds, a $100 wager nets a measly $2.86 on Golden State, and $1.67 on Houston.

The other semifinal series in the East, Philly is the strong frontrunner at -450 (implied odds 82 percent) over the Kyrie Irving-less Celtics.