News of LeBron James signing with the Los Angeles Lakers has caused the betting odds on the Lakers winning the 2019 NBA title to shorten.
LeBron James may have narrowed his decision on where he will play in the NBA next season down to two teams: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The NBA world is waiting on the decision of one man — a decision that will completely change the betting landscape of the 2018/19 NBA Championship.
Are Lebron James and the Cavaliers any chance of beating the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals? We break down the stats, odds and markets and give free tips.
The Golden State Warriors will meet Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for a fourth-straight showdown. We look at the early betting and odds.
Can Lebron James carry the Cleveland Cavaliers to a fourth-straight NBA Finals run? We look at all of the odds for Game one of this crucial series over Boston and give free tips.
Things will get a lot more serious as we enter the second game of the opening series of the 2017/2018 NBA Playoffs.
The loss in the opening game by the Cavs was the first time LeBron James has lost a Game 1 in the opening round since the 2012 season.
The Thunder beat the Jazz and the Rockets beat the Timberwolves in their respective opening games and the home teams are, again, the betting favorites in Game 2.
All odds for the NBA playoffs are provided Bovada.lv, which is offering new members a 50% Welcome Bonus up to $250.
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NBA multi selections for Wednesday, April 17 games:
Cleveland Cavaliers to defeat the Indiana Pacers (-220)
Oklahoma City Thunder to beat the Utah Jazz (-225)
Indiana Pacers vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
Wednesday April 18, 7 PM EST Quicken Loans Arena Cleveland, OH
The Cavaliers were shocked at home, losing to the Indiana Pacers in a match where the Cavs had trouble shooting the pill. Besides only scoring 80 points, they shot 38.5% from the floor while they allowed the Pacers to shoot 45.6%. On top of that, Cleveland had six more turnovers (17-11) and only shot a 3-pt FG% of 23.5.
King James did go for a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists, but was only 7/17 from the floor and he missed all four of his 3-pointers. He did not get much help in the game as the only starter for the team to go for double figures. Kevin Love only had nine points and in Game 2 he will need other guys to step up.
Pacers star Victor Oladipo went for 32 points as the game’s high scorer and unlike James, he got help with two other starters scoring at least 15 points.
The King will not allow the Cavs to go down 0-2 in this series, especially at home and they are the pick in this game definitely with the moneyline and they will also cover the 8-point spread.
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Wednesday April 18, 8 PM EST, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
The Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 116-108 in the opening game of this series where they had more turnovers, but also had a red-hot Paul George. He went for a game high 36 points on 13/20 shooting and nailed eight of his 11 3-pointers. While Russell Westbrook had 29 points and also grabbed 13 rebounds he was only 10/25 from the floor and missed all four of his 3-pointers.
Utah had a balanced attack with four starters going for at least 13 points led by Donovan Mitchell, who went for 27 points.
The Jazz are led by a defense that ranked 1st in the league only allowing an average of 99.8 ppg. They allowed the Thunder to score 116 points in the first game of this series and they cannot get into a shootout or they will lose. That is exactly what will happen in Game 2, as the Jazz will not be able to keep up with all the firepower the Thunder have.
Oklahoma City will win this game and go up 2-0 in the series, as they head to Utah.
THE wait is over and now the NBA Finals action kicks off with Game 1 on Thursday 6pm (Friday 11am in Australia).
The best thing about the Golden State Warriors playing the Cleveland Cavaliers is that punters get to see the two best players in the NBA go toe-to-toe.
It’s not just the Warriors vs. Cavaliers, it’s Stephen Curry vs. LeBron James and both players will no doubt bring their best form in what bettors hope is a long series.
By now we’ve seen that Golden State are the overwhelming favourites in Game 1 at home, so we’re going to look at a couple of exotic markets that some punters may overlook.
The First Basket market is a profitable and quick way to cash in these playoffs and we will also look at the Wire-to-Wire option.
First Basket market and tips
You may be thinking that picking the first basket scorer is pure luck, and in some ways we agree, but it can be analysed and the odds on offer are worth having a stab at.
Much like the very popular First Touchdown Scorer options for NFL, the First Basket market features the starting lineups from the Warriors and Cavaliers, with LeBron James currently favoured at $4.95.
James is currently the market favourite for three reasons: he controls the play when Cleveland are in possession of the ball, he will be looking to score early and set the tone for the series and starting centre Tristan Thompson has a very good leap.
What does that matter? When he faces the tip-ball situation at the start of the game, it’s vital that your team secures possession and has the first attempt at making a basket. If they don’t, you’re relying on that team missing and your player to score the next bucket, so securing the tip is key to betting this option.
Going on history, Thompson has a good chance of getting the tip and the ball will immediately shift to LeBron James – hence his favouritism tag at $4.95.
If James does want to give the ball up, he might get Kyrie Irving involved early to test out his niggling injury problems.
Irving is a solid choice at $6.75 as he won’t put up a wild three-point attempt. He will likely try and drive to the hoop and score an easier bucket.
Other Cavalier point-scoring chances include Iman Shumpert ($11.10), Tristan Thompson ($11.10) and Timofey Mozgov at $12.50.
Of those three players, the most likely to score first is Shumpert. The former New York player thrives on confidence – much like J.R. Smith – and they might look to get him going early in the play.
The Warriors have plenty of scoring threats, but as expected, Stephen Curry is their best shot to make the first bucket.
The regular season MVP is much like LeBron James in the fact that he will likely control the ball if Golden State win the tip.
The only thing that worries us about taking Curry is the likelihood of him taking a three pointer as his first shot. Statistically, three pointers are less likely to go in – regardless of who is shooing them – so we’re going to lean towards one of his teammates.
Klay Thompson has had a good learning experience in the playoffs so far. He’s under-performed to date and is coming off a hefty concussion after getting kneed in the face, but we’re expecting big improvement from one half of the duo known as the ‘Splash Brothers’.
Take both LeBron James and Klay Thompson ($6.45 at Sportsbet.com.au) and if your man scores first, you can always reinvest your winnings on the game in live betting.
First Basket Scorer market:
LeBron James – $4.95
Stephen Curry – $5.05
Klay Thompson – $6.45
Kyrie Irving – $6.75
Draymond Green – $9.60
Iman Shumpert – $11.10
Tristan Thompson – $11.10
Harrison Barnes – $11.50
Timofey Mozgov – $12.50
Andrew Bogut – $16.00
Wire-to-Wire betting options
Not the most common betting option, but one many punters have been pushing for.
The Wire-to-Wire option has three options and favours the punters that think one team is going to lead from the first quarter onward.
1. Cavaliers lead at end of each quarter – $7.00
2. Warriors lead at end of each quarter – $2.70
3. Any Other Result – $1.67
This market is for Game 1 of the NBA Finals only and the most popular option with the bookmakers is ‘Any Other Result’.
This option requires there to be a lead change after the end of the second, third or fourth quarter. For example; if Golden State lead after the first quarter, but lose their lead in any other quarter, the $1.67 for Any Other Result will cash.
For backers of Cleveland who think they will dominate from the word go, the $7 available to lead at the end of each quarter is great money.
They will be hoping the Cav’s get out to a handy first quarter lead and it’s just a case of holding on from there.
Alternatively, the option that will take a large majority of the money in Game 1 is for the Warriors to lead throughout at $2.70 with WilliamHill.com.au.
The Warrior are expected to win comfortably in Game 1 and a first quarter lead is also well favoured by punters. This option is a good exotic bet for Warriors backers who expect the Splash Brothers to fire up in the biggest game so far in their careers.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ Golden State Warriors, Monday, June 15, 10am AEST, ESPN
LADIES and gentlemen, we have a series.
The Golden State Warriors ($1.24 with WilliamHill.com.au) finally snapped out of their shooting funk to register a good old fashioned hammering on the road in Cleveland ($4.55 with CrownBet.com.au), 103-82, that evened up the NBA Finals series at 2-2.
Both sides have nabbed a game on each others’ home court, so this game effectively comes down to a three game series.
And the Warriors hold the home floor ascendency with game five on the Oracle Arena floor.
After slow starts in the first three games, coach Steve Kerr master minded the turn around from the start, benching big Aussie centre Andrew Bogut in favour of versatile swing man Andre Iguodala.
It proved a dynamic move, Iggy doing it all with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to go with his four three pointers.
But it was his defence on a clearly tired and banged up Lebron James that might have been his most important contribution.
Coach Steve Kerr said Iguodala had been the Warriors best player in the series so far and credited him for James 7-22 performance.
“I didn’t think Andre guarded him any differently than he did the first three games,” Kerr said.
“It’s a different game.
“LeBron’s shots didn’t go in.
“The same shots may go in next game.
Lebron has been a monster in the first three games, but playing monster minutes and initiating just about every play catches up on even the greats and, while he still had a near triple double with 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, the Cavs need him to score at least 40 for them to get close.
He was averaging 41 through the first three games.
The King wasn’t helped when he took a tumble on the baseline after a Bogut foul, landing court side after banging his head on a camera in the second quarter.
He rolled around like a soccer player who had been shot by a sniper in the crowd – kind of embarrassing for a guy who is 203 centimetres and 125 kilograms.
He was glued up and put back into the game, but just didn’t seem to have anything in the tank after half time.
Boom Aussie Matthew Dellavedova crashed back to earth as well, after becoming the darling of social media for his performances in game two and three.
He might be believing his own hype, taking nine three pointers of his 14 shots and making just three – two of those were back to back treys that cut the Warriors lead, but he might have stepped outside of his box, to the detriment of the Cavs.
Then again, Iman Shumpert (2-9) and JR Smith (2-12, 0-8 on three point attempts) couldn’t hit the back side of a barn, so maybe Delly had to try and step up offensively.
The Warriors got great offensive contributions from NBA Most Valuable Player Steph Curry, who dropped 22 points with six assists and four treys and both Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes had their best games of the finals series.
Both were super all round, with Green dropping 17 points to go with seven boards, six assists, two steals and a block, while Barnes hit two big corner threes and had 14 points to go with eight boards and two blocks.
That pair couldn’t stop Tristan Thompson and Timofey Mozgov off the boards, with 13 and 10 each, the latter taking advantage of the Warriors’ small ball line up with a monster 28 points.
But the Cavs went just 4-27 from the outside and shot just 33 per cent from the field.
Iguodala said he knew his side could bounce back after losing the previous two games and falling behind in the series.
“We’ve seen it all year, every team we go up against, we use our strength in numbers,” Iguodala said.
“Not only do we have a good first unit but we’ve got a second unit that is coming at you with the same type of speed, same type of high IQ basketball.
“It’s hard to keep up with us.
“We’re going to try to keep it going.”
It was a brilliant performance from the Warriors of the road and they looked like their old selves again.
Bring on game five in Oakland.
Game result: Golden State Warriors win ($1.24 with WilliamHill.com.au)
Line: Golden State Warriors -5.5 ($1.60 with CrownBet.com.au)
Total game score: Under 195.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
Winning margin: Golden State Warriors 11+ ($2.16 with sportsbet.com.au)
Cleveland won game two and three to go ahead in the series, but you always felt the Warriors were still in it. This one felt like a series changer.
The shots the Dubs had been making all season just would not drop through the first three games. The change to the starting line up helped them get cooking offensively, but also made life more difficult for the Cavs.
The game proved the Cavs’ front line isn’t talented enough to carry the team, the Warriors living with their inside dominance and with standing the career night from Mozgov.
Can the Cavs’ guards give Lebron any sort of support going forward? Hard to see it happening. Shumpert has been terrible, Smith has been worse. Delly has shown flashes, but looking at him realistically, he’s played out of his skin in a couple of games in these playoffs. He’s not the series winning answer for the Warriors.
It falls on Lebron. How tough is he? How much can he put his body through to carry this team? We’d expect him to bounce back, but the Warriors, on their home floor in the NBA Finals in front of a rabid crowd at the Roaracle is just about the toughest task in basketball.
Curry showed signs in the last quarter of game three and he was good in game four without taking over and we’ve been waiting on him to really sizzle. Look for a big outing from the Golden State leader.
We think it will be the Warriors in another blow out in this game. The Cavs just don’t have the options and we’re going with the unders on the game total. Despite the fact the Cavs will have an extra day’s break to lick their wounds, the Warriors blew them out in Cleveland, we’d expect the winning margin to exceed 11 in this one.
Will Lebron register a triple double in game five?
Yes: $3 with WilliamHill.com.au
The King has ruled with an iron fist so far in this finals series.
He’s already rattled off a triple double in game two with a massive 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists.
And, despite his tired game four performance, he is still averaging nearly 36 points, 12 boards and over eight dimes in the series.
With the extra day’s break before game five, he’ll have a chance to recharge his batteries and he simply must perform better if the Cavs are going to be any chance.
We’re going to back him to produce an effort similar to the game winning performance in game two and register double figure points, rebounds and assists.
The $3 quote with WilliamHill.com.au for him to register a triple double is a fun little market that will allow supporters to hang off absolutely every thing Lebron does.
The double figure points are a given, he’s registered double figure rebounds in three straight and you’d think that would happen again with Golden State’s change over to a small ball line up.
The assists are the issue. He makes his team mates better, drawing the defence and giving them plenty of open looks.
The issue is, his team mates just cannot make the open shots he gives them. So often did he drive the lane in game four and dish it out to one of his wide open boys, only to watch it sail over his head and clank off the rim.
It’s a problem he’s got, but not something he can’t over come, with the 11 dimes in game two evidence of that.
All we can say is the King has reinforced his standing as the best basketball player alive and we reckon you should have a tiny drink on the $3 to make this game a little more interesting.