The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, the favorites to meet in the NBA Finals prior to the start of the postseason, haven’t exactly made things easy on oddsmakers. The often predictable NBA playoffs have provided some surprising results with the title series looming.
The Warriors, coming off a record 73 wins in the regular season, are in the middle of a complete meltdown in the Western Conference finals, and have been overtaken by the Cavs as the title favorites. However, Cleveland’s odds have gone unchanged of late despite a late charge by the underdog Toronto Raptors.
According to the latest odds from Bovada.lv, Cleveland continues to sit at +140 to win the first title in franchise history, but the Warriors plummeted from +140 just two days ago to +300 after falling to the Oklahoma City Thunder in blowout losses and facing a 3-1 series hole.
Golden State will now try to overcome the massive series deficit. Oddsmakers place their chances of recovery at +210 to win the series, compared to red-hot Oklahoma City’s -250 favored status.
The Warriors weren’t expected to struggle at all in the playoffs, but superstar Stephen Curry is playing through a knee injury, according to The Vertical, that forced him to sit out six games in the two previous rounds, while Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have dealt with shooting and turnover woes as well as foul trouble.
Curry, though, remains optimistic about Golden State’s chances of becoming just the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 series deficit.
"The series isn't over," Curry told reporters after Game 4. "We've got to believe in ourselves. There's obviously frustration. It's a terrible feeling once again not stepping up and being ourselves and playing our game.
"But I think we're a special team. This isn't how we're going to go out."
Still, Golden State’s in a freefall after standing as the title favorite throughout the regular season. After the All-Star break in February, the Warriors were -150 favorites, and they owned a 6/1 chance of repeating with Cleveland viewed as the overall favorite right after last year’s finals at 13/5.
The Cavs have lost two straight games to the Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals after claiming the first two games of the series, with LeBron James playing well but running mates Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love slumping from the floor. In turn, Toronto’s title odds have improved from +7500 to +2500 prior to Wednesday night’s Game 5.
Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 67 points in Toronto’s 105-99 Game 4 victory to even the series at 2-2, with Love and Irving shooting a combined 15-for-35 from the floor. But the Cavs still hold home-court advantage in the series and are -1000 favorites to win, compared to Toronto’s +600 odds.
The Thunder, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook handing Golden State consecutive losses for the first time this season, have overtaken the Warriors as favorites to reach the finals from +350 odds to +160.
Odds To Win NBA Championship
Cleveland Cavaliers +140
Oklahoma City Thunder +160
Golden State Warriors +300
Toronto Raptors +2500