USA TODAY Sports
- The Warriors are -1200 favorites over the Cavaliers (+755) in the NBA Finals.
- That makes Golden State by far the biggest NBA Finals favorite in at least the past 16 years.
- The Warriors opened as 12-point favorites in Game 1. LeBron James has never been that big of an underdog in the playoffs.
Oddsmakers don’t expect the NBA Finals to be much of a competition.
The Golden State Warriors are -1200 favorites over the Cleveland Cavaliers (+755), as of midnight Tuesday. Golden State’s odds equate to an implied win probability of 92.3%.
Need some perspective on just how unprecedented that is? The 2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers (-750) are the next-biggest NBA Finals favorite in SportsOddsHistory.com’s 18-year database. The Lakers dispatched the New Jersey Nets in four games that year.
This will mark the fourth consecutive season that the Warriors and Cavs meet in the Finals. Here are the series prices from those years:
The Cavaliers pulled off a stunning upset in 2016, coming back from down 3-1, but the Warriors won in five games last year. The Cavaliers have only gotten more short-handed since then, losing Kyrie Irving to the Celtics. That’s certainly part of the reason for the odds ballooning to -1200/+755.
In addition to the steep series price, Game 1’s line is heavily tilted in Golden State’s favor. The Warriors are 12-point home favorites over the Cavaliers, who will be coming off one extra day of rest and are likely to get Kevin Love (concussion) back in the lineup. That’s the biggest NBA Finals spread in Bet Labs’ database, which dates back to 2005.
This will likely mark just the fifth time in LeBron James’ playoff career that he closes as a double-digit underdog. He’s covered three of the previous four games, but won just once outright.
James has never been a 12-point underdog in a playoff game.
The series gets underway at 9 p.m. ET Thursday.
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- Moore’s Predictions: Investing in the Garbage Time Warriors and More
- Game 1 Trends: Underdog LeBron Has Been Historically Profitable
- Locky: Why I’m Betting the Over/Under in Game 1
- Download Our Free NBA Finals Prop Sheet
- The Angles: The Importance of George Hill and the Power of the Switch
- Should Golden State Bettors Be Wary of a Rested LeBron?
- Finding Value in Betting NBA Finals Exact Series Odds