Las Vegas sportsbooks are under the impression that reigning MVP Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors will glide their way to the NBA Finals and repeat as champions. The experts behind the lines typically know what they’re talking about, but when it comes to the Warriors even the casual sports fan would likely pick Golden State over any other team.
VegasInsider.com has the champs with odds of defending their NBA title at 1/2. Leading Nevada sportsbooks list the Warriors anywhere from -130 to -175 to win the championship, meaning bettors would need to wager $130-175 in order to profit $100.
The San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers are the only two other teams with a reasonable chance at the title according to Vegas. Both are hovering at roughly 4/1.
“This does not look like a usual breakdown heading into the playoffs,” Bleacher Report’s Rob Goldberg wrote Thursday. “The San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers obviously have incredibly talented teams . . . but either one beating Golden State four times in a series will not be easy.”
The NBA regular season closed out in memorable fashion on Wednesday.
The Warriors won their 73rd game to knock off Michael Jordan and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls from the regular season record throne, a mark that was largely thought to be unbeatable since it was set two decades ago.
Throughout their epic 73-9 campaign, even Las Vegas underestimated at times their chances of eclipsing the Bulls’ mark.
After the Warriors started the season 24-0, prop bets popped up in Nevada on their chances of winning 73. At the Westgate SuperBook, the line opened with “No” as a -700 favorite.
It appears the Vegas sportsbooks understand a bet against the Warriors is a risky proposition, to say the least.
Also on Wednesday, Kobe Bryant played his final game, the 1,346th regular season contest in his famed 20-year career. And the “Mamba” went out in style as the Lakers veteran dropped 60 points on 22 of 50 shooting.
“It’s hard to believe that it happened this way. I am still in shock . . . For it to happen like this in front of the fans and my teammates and their families, it is still a shock to me,” Bryant said after the game.
Cavs vs. Warriors Rematch
If Vegas is correct, the most likely scenario come June is an NBA Finals rematch between the Cavs and Warriors. Last year, Golden State won the series 4-2, but Cleveland was without two of its starters for most of the series, point guard Kyrie Irving and power forward Kevin Love.
The Warriors won both regular season meetings between the two this year, with the second lopsided 132-98 victory leading to Cleveland firing then-coach David Blatt.
LeBron James’ Cavs feel they’re better positioned to overcome the Warriors’ offensive attack in 2016, but they shouldn’t look too far ahead. Their first-round opponent, the Detroit Pistons, won three of four against the Cavs in the regular season.