For four years running, the Cleveland Cavalier and Golden State Warriors have clashed for the NBA’s top prize, with the Warriors winning two of the first three meetings. And, considering the betting trends price odds for the 2018 NBA Finals, it looks like Golden State is a shoe-in to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy once more.
If you can’t stand to lay the -1,000 on the Warriors or don’t plan on betting the 12-point spread for Game 1, luckily sportsbooks offer a long list of alternative options for basketball bettors. Here are some of the best way to bet the NBA Final odds – besides the spread and total.
Warriors in four or five
Even with LeBron James playing the best basketball of his storied career, the Warriors’ depth and surplus of talent trumps King James and his rag-tag bunch of role players. And when you consider how much LeBron has had to do to get back to his eighth straight finals, you’ve got to think he’s running on empty – or will at some point in this series.
The -1,000 series price is a bit much, but bettors can find much better value picking the exact outcome of the NBA Finals, with books offering Golden State to win in five game at +150 and a Dubs sweep paying +200. Even the Warriors winning the series 4-2 is pegged at +375.
LeBron point prop
James enters Game 1 of the NBA Finals pouring in 34 points per game and coming of an Eastern Conference finals war with the Boston Celtics in which he topped that 34-point bar in four of the seven games.
James hasn’t disappointed in his past three meeting with the Warriors in the NBA Finals, scoring 35.8 points per game in 2015, 29.7 in 2016, and averaging 33.6 points in last year’s final round.
Not only is Cleveland leaning on LeBron to do the bulk of the offensive damage but he’ll also be responsible for keeping Kevin Durant in check. Durant has been nearly as impressive as James this postseason – at least on the scoresheet – and will keep LeBron on his toes, draining his waning energy reserves.
It’s tough to see James keeping this pace and it may be a smart option to bet his average points for the series prop at Under 34.5.
The ability to make adjustments in the postseason is what wins championships, and no team adapts better than the Dubs. Golden State has been remarkable after the break, coming out on fire in the third quarter. It dominated Houston in all but one of their seven third-quarter matchups and is a 4-point favorite to edge Cleveland in the third quarter of Game 1 in the NBA Finals.
Live bettors should also keep a close eye on the in-game odds and halftime spread, with the Warriors’ third-quarter prowess in mind. On the season, Golden State has a +5.1-point winning margin in the third frame, improving that number to +12 over the final three games of the Western Conference finals.
Going back to that massive -1,000 series price on the Warriors, basketball bettors looking to avoid the chalk but get a solid wager down on the Dubs to win the series should size up the NBA Finals MVP odds.
If you think Golden State will win, why not rather place a bet on Kevin Durant to win MVP at -140 – a much easier price on the bankroll with a little more risk involved. Bettors can get guys like Stephen Curry at +160, Klay Thompson at +1,200, and Draymond Green at +1,000 to win MVP. It’s a much smarter way to wager on basically the same thing – a Warriors’ win.