Everything you need to know about gambling on the NBA Conference Finals
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For entertainment purposes only...
The Blazers might be out, you might hate the Rockets, Warriors, Cavs, and Celtics but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the Conference Finals. Here's a quick start guide on betting the NBA Playoffs.
All lines current as of the morning of Saturday, May 12th and taken from Bovada.lv
NBA Finals Odds
Before we get to the Conference Finals, let's take a look at what is called a 'Future Bet' where you can bet on who will win the NBA Championship.
Golden State -140 (This means you have to bet $14 to win $10 or $140 to win $100, any size bet pays out at that ratio)
Houston +250 (bet $10, win $25)
Cleveland +500 (bet $10, win $50)
Boston +2000 (bet $10, win $200)
Obviously the Warriors are a huge favorite here so if you don't mind paying the negative odds (-140) you could always take the favorite and enjoy every deep three pointer made along the way.
But if you're looking for a little excitement, perhaps Cleveland is your bet. They should get past the Celtics and having your money on LeBron James at 5 to 1 odds in the NBA Finals isn't the worst thing in the world.
Conference Finals Odds
You can also wager on who will win each of the series in the Western and Eastern Conferences.
Golden State -200
Not a lot of great options here, but if you want to take a flyer, roll with Brad Stevens and the Celtics to upset Team LeBron at +240 odds (but not if you already bet the Cavs to win it all!)
Game 1 Spreads
A point spread is basically a way to 'level the playing field' when two teams play.
Cleveand -1.5 @ Boston
For Sunday's game, Cleveland is on the road in Boston but is a -1.5 favorite. This means if you bet Cleveland -1.5 they need to win by 2 or more points for you to win your bet. A one point win, or a Boston win, is a loss for you. This small of a spread makes a decision pretty easy for you. Think the Cavs are going to win? Bet them -1.5 and take your chances they don't win by 1.
Think Boston will hold home court and get the win? If you're making a small bet, you can bet $11 to win $10 (-110) and get your +1.5 points. You can also bet what is called the Money Line (ML) which means you're betting on Boston strictly to win the game (no point spread involved). The Boston ML is currently an even bet (Bet $10, Win $10) so you get slightly better odds.
Golden State @ Houston -1.5
The Rockets will be the home team and also a -1.5 point favorite but with a -105 vig (so slightly better than normal). This is probably a similar case to the Eastern where you should just pick the team you think will win and roll with them on the point spread.
Lastly, if you don't want to have to root for a specific team, you can bet on what's called "the Total" or "Over Under" which relates to the amount of points scored in the entire game by both teams combined.
It is a unique experience simply rooting for every shot to go in, or sometimes even more fun, rooting for every shot to miss and cheering every clunked jumper and missed free throw.
Cleveand @ Boston's Over Under is at 204 points with the vig slightly high (-115) on the 'Over' bet.
The Cavs average 110 points per game, while Boston's defense averages 109 points against. Boston averages 104 ppg, and Cleveland's defense averages 100.7 points against.
It's a simplistic way to look at it, but if you're just looking for a reason to bet a side, the Over looks like the place to be. We need at least 103-102 game to cover the line.
Golden State @ Houston's Over Under is sitting at 224 points, also with a -115 vig on the 'Over' bet.
Using similar stats for this game, GS averages 113.1 (Houston's D allows 103.5). Houston averages 112 (GS's D allows 106.8)
These numbers might lead us to bet the Under in this game. A hard bet to make however, rooting for missed baskets in a Warriors vs. Rockets game!
Stats from Covers.com