Armed with this year’s MVP and the league's highest scoring offense, online odds makers and Las Vegas casinos have pegged the Golden State Warriors to win the 2015 NBA Finals.
Point guard Stephen Curry and Co. enter Thursday night’s Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers as 5/11 favorites to claim the franchise’s first title in 40 years. Book makers at Vegas Insider, which compiles a consensus from casinos in Las Vegas, gave the Warriors 6 points in the opening matchup.
After eliminating the Houston Rockets in five games, Curry has actually improved on the play that won him league MVP and he’s a resounding favorite to claim the same award in the Finals. Averaging 29.2 points and 43.7 percent shooting from three-point range, the lithe and creative shooter is a 1/2 favorite to snatch the Finals MVP.
With a franchise-best 67-15 record in the regular season and only three losses at home, including the postseason, the Warriors are projected to hold home court advantage and win the series in five games at 14/5 odds, according to Sportsbook.ag. Cleveland’s chances of extending the series to six games but losing to Golden State are currently at 9/2. But if the series goes the full seven games, Golden State remains a 16/5 favorite.
The Cavaliers, boasting four-time league and two-time Finals MVP LeBron James, are 37/20 underdogs in the series. Cleveland dismantled the Atlanta Hawks in a four-game sweep and with an average victory margin of 13.25 points, despite point guard Kyrie Irving sitting out two games with knee and ankle injuries and power forward Kevin Love missing the last two series and ruled out for the rest of the postseason with a dislocated shoulder. Head coach David Blatt has described Irving as "not himself" after Sunday practice, but says the young guard is making progress.
James, now appearing in a fifth consecutive Finals, shouldered the bulk of the offense against Atlanta with averages of 30.3 points, 11 rebounds, and 9.3 assists. The 30-year-old leads Cleveland in points, rebounds, assists, and steals throughout these playoffs, and his chances of picking up the third Finals MVP of his career are set at 9/5.
While there’s no questioning James’ incredible play, the Warriors depth and overall health are clear reasons why they are favored. Golden State shooting guard Klay Thompson suffered a head injury in the Game-5 clincher against Houston, but he’s still expected to play beside with fellow "Splash Brother" Curry in Game 1 against the Cavs.
Thompson’s scoring has dipped the last two series, but he’s still connecting on 42.5 percent of his three-point attempts, and he’s joined by forward Draymond Green as contenders for the series MVP. Green, a jack-of-all-trades player who averaged 14.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists against Houston, is just back of James at 10/1 MVP odds with Thompson and Irving next up at 15/1.
Cleveland and Golden State split their two regular season meetings, with each side winning at home and by double-digits.
Warriors 5/11, Cavs 37/20 to win the series
Game 1 line: Warriors -5.5 and o/v 203 points
Stephen Curry 1/ 2
LeBron James 9/5
Draymond Green 10/1
Klay Thompson 15/1
Kyrie Irving 15/1
Harrison Barnes 50/1
JR Smith 75/1
Andre Iguodala 100/1
Iman Shumpert 100/1
Timofey Mozgov 100/1
Tristan Thompson 100/1
Andrew Bogut 200/1
James Jones 500/1
Matthew Dellavedova 500/1