The NBA Playoffs are a bit of a grind beginning in late April and lasting until mid-June. However, now that the second round is finally underway, we can see the light at the end of the championship tunnel. Six of the eight teams left are legitimate threats to make a Finals appearance (sorry Portland and Atlanta), so bettors should start thinking about placing a futures wager on which matchup we might see in June. The sportsbooks already have a set of odds for each possible NBA Finals matchup on the board, and with the exclusion of the truly long-shot options (again, sorry Atlanta vs Portland at +80000), each potential series has some value.
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Let's take a closer look at the possible 2016 NBA Finals matchup odds and figure out which wagers have the most value to bet on.
Warriors vs Cavaliers: -115
Spurs vs Cavaliers: +225
The two most likely NBA Finals matchups are a Golden State or San Antonio versus Cleveland series. Any way you look at things, these are the three best teams in the NBA, and either of these matchups are the strongest options to wager on. The deciding factor might be how you feel about Step Curry's knee and whether or not he will be healthy enough to help beat the Spurs. Early reports indicate that Curry will be back on the court by Game 3 of the Portland series. However, how healthy will he really be and is he risking more serious injury? Both wagers are solid bets, however, just based on the price, San Antonio at +225 looks to have more value than Golden State at -115.
The Value Plays
Thunder vs Cavaliers: +700
Warriors vs Heat: +1100
Warriors vs Raptors: +1100
The Cavs played well during their first-round sweep over Detroit, but the team still has chemistry issues between its star players, and representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals is not a given. Cleveland is already a game up on Atlanta and will most likely make it past the underachieving Hawks. However, both Miami and Toronto will have value heading into a potential conference finals matchups. Taking the Cavs out of the picture and picking another team to represent the east against the Warriors does have value, particularly with odds in the +1100 range. If you are looking to bet on an underdog, go with a Raptors versus Warriors matchup.
The Long Shots
Spurs vs Heat +2100
Spurs vs Raptors: +2100
Thunder vs Raptors +5500
Thunder vs Heat: +5500
As we have already seen with the Los Angeles Clippers this postseason and the Cavaliers last year, injuries can derail a playoff run, and in most cases a bit of luck is need to win an NBA title. Golden State is already injured, and anything can happen with the Cavs. If you are a bettor looking to take a long shot with some value, try skipping Golden State and Cleveland altogether pick a wager with the Thunder and Spurs against the Heat or Raptors. The best long shot wager based on the odds feels like a Thunder versus Raptors series bet.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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