The matchup for this season's NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers, out of the East, and the West's Golden State Warriors has been set. Bettors may have to wait until Thursday for the actual games to get underway, but in the meantime BetOnline has you covered with a full set of NBA team and player props surrounding this highly-anticipated showdown.
The following is a look at my top three prop bet plays that I believe offer the best value in the numbers.
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Total Games Played
Both of these teams have pretty much cruised through their first three playoff series to make it to this season's NBA Finals. The Cavaliers needed just 14 games to get past Boston, Chicago and Atlanta, while Golden State eliminated New Orleans, Memphis and Houston in 15 games.
The Cavaliers pulled off two four-game sweeps (Boston and Atlanta), and they got past the Bulls in six games after actually trailing 2-1 in that best-of-seven battle. After sweeping the Pelicans in four games, the Warriors also found themselves in a slight 2-1 hole in the Western Conference Semifinals against Memphis. They were also able to turn up the heat with three straight wins to end that series in six games. Golden State got tagged for one loss against the Rockets in the conference finals against four more wins.
It's no big surprise that both of these teams were favored to win their respective conference before the playoffs began, and it is no big surprise that the best betting odds for the prop of how long will this series last is seven games at +190.
Golden State is listed as a -220 favorite on BetOnline's series price with Cleveland a +190 underdog, but I think this series will be far tighter than that. LeBron James has the experience of four straight trips to the NBA Finals on his side, and the stage could easily start to get too big for Stephen Curry and Golden State. I am still not sure which team gets to four wins first, but I do have this series going the distance.
NBA Finals MVP
Given the fact that Golden State is a heavy favorite to win this season's NBA title, it stands to reason that the league's MVP in the regular season would be the favorite to take home those honors in the NBA Finals as well. Curry's betting odds to win MVP of this series have been set at -190. The next Golden State player on the list is Klay Thompson at +1200 followed by Draymond Green at +1400. LeBron James tops the list for Cleveland at +200 followed by Kyrie Irving at +2000 and JR Smith at +8000.
It would be hard to see anyone but Curry or James winning this award over the course of an extended series. Both players have led their team in scoring and assists through the first three rounds of the playoffs, and there is no real reason to think that will change in the Finals as long as they both stay healthy. I still think this series is a toss-up with James being the x-factor, so I am going with the added value in his +200 odds verses Curry at -190 for my pick in this prop.
Total 3-Pointers Made
This is one of the most interesting props on the board, but it also offers some solid value when you begin to break the numbers down.
The betting odds for this prop are set at +400 (100 or less), +450 (101-110), +400 (111-120), +450 (121-130), +600 (131-140), +700 (141-150) and +600 for 151 or more.
Through the first three series, Golden State has averaged 30.3 attempts from 3-point range, and it has converted on an average of 11.5 a game. Cleveland's numbers from beyond the arc start with an average of 29.1 attempts a game with a conversion rate of 35.9 percent, which equates to 10.4 a game.
Using these averages over the course of a seven-game series would add up to 153 made 3-pointers. While I think this number is a bit too high, I do believe that each team will hit a fair amount of 3-point shots as the series wears on. Going on the assumption that the series does go the distance, I have settled in on the +600 betting odds that these teams will combine for 131 to 140 made three pointers over the course of the seven games.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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