The NBA conference finals have begun and basketball fans have gotten the dream matchup they were waiting for all season long in the Western Conference. Because the Rockets and Warriors are so evenly matched on paper, interesting scenarios for picking the eventual champion have emerged. The Cavs were the odds-on favorite in the east, but that has changed following game one.
Boston Celtics Championship Odds – 12:1
All season long the Celtics have been discounted by old school NBA types and the advanced staticians as well. As recently as the previous round, the Celtics open in some places as a +400 underdog only to see them roll the Sixers in 5 games. At 12:1, betting on the Celtics makes sense because the payout is so great.
The Celtics were even bigger underdogs prior to their game one thrashing of the Cavs. If you think the Celtics can beat the Cavs, then you can take Boston to win it all and then hedge your bet with the Western Conference winner.
Cleveland Cavaliers Championship Odds – 8:1
The actual odds of the Cavs winning are much longer than only 8 to 1, but the Lebron money flows from the public. Boston is undefeated at home in the playoffs and they have the home court advantage in a potential game 7.
Cleveland may bounce back and defeat Boston, but can Lebron and company beat either the Warriors or the Rockets? Seems unlikely, so betting elsewhere (anywhere else really) seems like the better play.
Houston Rockets Championship Odds – 12:5
The Rockets are paying out a little bit better than 2:1 to win the championship, which goes to show the respect that the bookmakers have for the Warriors. When Capela, Paul and Harden all played this season, the Rockets were 50-5 during the regular season and then 8-2 in the playoffs.
If Houston gets by Golden State, it does not really matter which of the other two teams they face, as they should roll through either Eastern Conference team. The Rockets probably will not get by Golden State, but their chances are better than 12:5. Picking Houston has value.
Golden State Championship Odds- 4:7
Betting on the Warriors is approaching -200 at this point, which is a staggering number given that they were plus money prior to the playoffs starting. Golden State looked to be in peak form against New Orleans, which has shifted the number heavily in the Warrior’s favor.
Since acquiring Kevin Durant the Warriors are 25-3 in the playoffs and are deserving of their status as a favorite. However, they do not have home court advantage and the Rockets may be the best team the Warriors have faced in any of their 4 playoff runs.
Laying this number on Golden State is a dicey proposition. If betting on Golden State is the desired play, waiting until after game 1 and hoping they lose might be the best course of action. A Rockets’ victory would likely move the number a bit in Houston’s direction making betting on the Warriors more palatable.
Betting on Boston or Houston now give the greatest amount of value. If someone were looking to bet on either defending conference champion, waiting one more game and hoping the Warriors and/or Cavaliers lose seems like the best way to get a better number than what is currently available.
The NBA conference championships are finally here for the 17-18 season and because Golden State has been so dominant, bettors need to get a little bit creative to bet on them. Boston has been undervalued for months and is somehow still disrespected in the betting marketplace.