Will We See Any Shockers in the NBA Conference Finals
Wayne Root: Will We See Any Shockers in the NBA Conference Finals?
The series prices are already up in Las Vegas for the Eastern and Western Conference Finals...and it's clear that we have heavy favorites in the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
Cleveland -200, vs. Atlanta +170
Golden State -800, vs. Houston +600
Normally, when you see a baseball favorite of -200, you think of that as an absolute mismatch. But, Cleveland's -200 over the Hawks is dwarfed by that -800 for Golden State over the Rockets!
Should everyone just ignore the Conference Finals and wait for the inevitable Warriors/Cavaliers championship showdown?
NOT SO FAST!
There's certainly a chance for Atlanta to win that Eastern Conference series. Here are just a few of the reasons why.
*They have home court advantage...which means Cleveland has to win at least once on the road to advance. If the Hawks can take care of business at home in the first two games, they would take over the driver's seat.
*Atlanta is much healthier than Cleveland right now. Kevin Love is out for the Cavs. Kyrie Irving is badly hobbled, and may run into another injury if he ever gets his legs back. The Hawks (and Spurs) by design spread things out in a way that discourages contact and injuries. If this series comes down to health, that favors the Hawks.
*Atlanta is long overdue to start making three-pointers again! This team has yet to come close to their great regular season form. If those bombs every start falling, this opening series price is going to look ridiculous. Atlanta in normal form is at least pick-em versus this version of the Cavs...and should probably be the favorite.
I can understand why Cleveland is -200 at the start. Some of that is because the public loves to bet on LeBron James...and sportsbooks want to charge a premium for that privilege. And, frankly, Atlanta's been a disappointment. The key to being THE KING OF UPSETS is seeing in advance when underdog scenarios are about to play out. That has me thinking very seriously about Atlanta as a series upset...and as a team capable of scoring road upsets at prices in the +5 to +6 range in Games 3, 4, and 6.
In the West, it's easier to see Houston being "more competitive" than the market price rather than winning outright. Golden State really is one of the best teams this league has seen in many years when things are clicking. They have to lose focus for an opponent to beat them (which happened in Games Two and Three of the Memphis series). Handicappers don't have to call for an upset here to make money. They can look at Houston +10 in the games at Golden State, and probably around +4 or so in the games in Houston.
Can Houston cover those spreads? Absolutely?
*The pressure is completely off the Rockets now because they're playing with house money. There are no expectations. They can play free and easy on both sides of the floor.
*Houston is capable of getting red hot on three-pointers, which means they can hang tough with Golden State in the Warriors offensive area of strength. Memphis doesn't shoot many treys, which gave them no options to rally from behind. Houston just had the biggest rally from behind in playoff history in terms of that 19-point deficit in Game Six!
*Golden State could easily lose focus again because everyone's crowning them as league champions right now. Futures prices have soared for the Warriors the past few days. They went from about +120 to win the title all the way up to around -175. Oddsmakers are pricing them at perfection...but perfection is far from certain. Frankly, it's possible for Golden State to win this series by a "comfortable" margin while doing poorly against the spread. They could go 4-1 straight up but 1-4 ATS.
We're not going to have a Cinderella story this year because only #1 and #2 seeds are left. But, the NBA isn't a sport for Cinderella's anyway because it's so hard for longshots to win four games out of seven round by round. We DEFINITELY have a chance for a SHOCKER or two on a game-by-game basis. And, Atlanta certainly deserves some consideration as a more serious contender than the market is currently giving them credit for.
I'm raring go to for the series openers Tuesday and Wednesday Night...and I'll definitely have some big plays for you all through the week. You can always purchase my BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about which of my long term programs best suits your individual needs, please talk to my representative in the office at 1-877-ROOT-WINS during normal business hours. I have great packages that take you through the end of the NBA Playoffs in June, or baseball's All-Star Break in July.
We haven't talked baseball for awhile. So, I'll be back later this week to check back in with the diamonds. This is a great time to be a sports bettor because there's so much going on in basketball, hockey, and baseball...plus there might be a Triple Crown winner in horse racing! Obviously...it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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