Thursday, May 31, 2018

2018 NBA Finals Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

It's been a while since I've posted on here, but the recent Supreme Court ruling has definitely given me some newfound energy.

Despite being passionate about the oddsmaking profession and anticipating sporting event outcomes, there has always been a stigma associated with point spreads and the sports markets, but hopefully that will be coming to an end sooner than later.

Although there is not any legislature in place on the federal level allowing nationwide sports betting, the Supreme Court verdict dismantling PASPA was a gigantic step in the right direction towards national legalization, but I digress.

Without further ado, let's jump into the 2018 NBA finals showdown.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors

Series Price: Golden State -1000 / Cleveland +650 (via Bookmaker)

The 2018 NBA Finals are slated to commence tonight and despite some curve balls mixed in throughout the regular season, the stage is set for the Finals matchup that was anticipated to begin the season

With that said, Vegas isn't giving Cleveland much of a chance, if any.

The moneyline price listed above suggests Golden State has more than a 90% chance to repeat based on the corresponding implied probabilities, which represents the largest discrepancy since 2000-2001.

In layman's terms, the sports market views this as the most lopsided NBA Finals matchup in 17 years.

Cleveland Cavaliers 
LeBron James will be making his 8th straight finals appearance, which is an unprecedented feat in the modern era. As unbelievably impressive as LeBron has been this season, it's difficult to imagine him slaying the beast of Golden State with his current cast of characters in Cleveland and the aforementioned odds fully reflect that notion.

To give some context, Jeff Green emerged as Cleveland's ancillary savior in Kevin Love's absence and delivered a much needed 19 points in Game 7. While that may have gotten the job done against a young Boston team, I doubt it will fly against the Warriors.

This Cavs team is somewhat reminiscent of the 2007 team that knocked off Detroit in unexpected fashion.

While the 2007 Pistons were a much more formidable bunch than the injury-riddled Celtics, the premise involves LeBron carrying an uninspiring bunch through the Eastern Conference, only to face a vastly superior opponent in the Finals. 

Ultimately that team got swept by San Antonio and its safe to say dethroning the defending champs would be the most impressive accomplishment of LeBron's career.

Golden State Warriors
Golden State was able to take care of business against the Rockets despite facing their toughest test since Durant migrated to the Bay Area and will be making their fourth straight NBA Finals appearance.

As a reference, the Warriors closed as -185 favorites against Houston, which represented a much more modest 65% win expectation for the Warriors. It's fair to say Golden State-Houston was the NBA Finals masquerading as the Western Conference Finals.

The Rockets had Golden State on the ropes early in Game 7 and it's fair to speculate whether the outcome would have been different if Chris Paul suited up.

While common wisdom suggests counting out LeBron this early is a fool's errand, the talent disparity between the two teams is difficult to overlook and I respect the market too much to think otherwise.

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