Bookmakers forecast potential record NBA Finals handle
By Matt Youmans
VSiN senior editor
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Love them or loathe them, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors inspire the betting public one way or the other. It’s supposed to be the definition of a superteam, after all.
LeBron James and his posse of Cleveland Cavaliers spend just as much time in the public eye.
So with the game’s brightest stars and most prominent teams set to collide in a trilogy, Las Vegas bookmakers are anticipating the biggest-bet NBA Finals in history.
Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman reported “multiple” five-figure wagers on the series price, with Golden State at minus-270 and Cleveland at plus-230.
“We’re getting a ton of action on it,” Sherman said. “This has to be the most heavily bet NBA Finals series price we’ve ever done.”
The Cavaliers won in seven games last year, after the Warriors won in six in 2015. Nevada Gaming Control Board figures showed $64.8 million was wagered on the NBA in June 2016, a $17 million increase from the first Cleveland-Golden State series two years ago.
“Absolutely, this could be a record handle,” said Vinny Magliulo, VSiN oddsmaker and Gaughan Gaming sports book director. “It’s the matchup everybody has wanted, and the matchup everybody has bet to get to.”
The length of this series is likely to determine whether the handle sets a record because Games 6 and 7 would draw major wagering.
With both teams off for more than a week before Game 1, there has been extra time for media hype and action at the betting windows. Plus, the big names in play — Curry, Durant, James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love — will help propositions drive the handle.
“This is the third straight year for these teams, so there’s historical data to go by, and the wagering menu is bigger with more props up this year,” Magliulo said. “Phone apps increase the handle. Sports wagering has become more mainstream. If you look at the trends, the Super Bowl is up and March Madness was up.” (https://www.vsin.com/another-record-315-million-bet-on-march-madness-in-nevada/)
As expected, the Finals series price — which is minus-250, plus-210 at the South Point — is attracting two-way play.
“The Warriors are supposed to be one of the best teams of all time, so you have some people thinking the series price is cheap,” Sherman said. “But the defending champs are getting more than 2-1, so the Cavaliers are commanding plenty of support, too.”
Golden State is a 7-point home favorite and the total is 226 in Thursday’s opener.
Most Valuable Player odds were posted May 23. (https://www.vsin.com/nba-finals-a-preview-and-review-of-2016/)
The series predictions are in from VSiN’s panel of experts. (https://www.vsin.com/nba-finals-prediction-poll-warriors-easily-win-vote/)
A sample of the props available for the series and Game 1:
Cavaliers to win the series in: 4 games (35-1); 5 games (18-1); 6 games (6-1); 7 games (9-1).
Warriors to win the series in: 4 games (6-1); 5 games (plus-275); 6 games (9-2); 7 games (7-2).
Total games in the Finals: 4 (2-1); 5 (plus-210); 6 (12-5); 7 (plus-485).
Team to score first: Cavaliers -110; Warriors -110
Total 3-point field goals made by both teams: 25 (over/under -110)
Three-point field goals made by Curry: 5.5 (under -150)
Points scored by Curry: 27.5 (over/under -110)
Total points, assists and rebounds by Curry: 39.5 (over/under -110)
Points scored by Durant: 27.5 (over/under -110)
Total points, assists and rebounds by Durant: 41.5 (over/under -110)
Points scored by James: 32 (over/under -110)
Total points, assists and rebounds by James: 49.5 (over/under -110)
Points scored by Irving: 25.5 (over/under -110)
Three-point field goals made by Love: 3 (over/under -110)
Total points and rebounds by Love: 29.5 (over/under -110)
Points scored in first half by Cavaliers: 56
Points scored in first half by Warriors: 60
Point spread props
Cavaliers -3.5 (plus-330); Warriors plus-3.5 (-400)
Cavaliers plus-13.5 (-260); Warriors -13.5 (plus-220)
Largest lead of the game by either team: 18.5 (over/under -110)
Will the team that wins the first quarter win the game? Yes -190; No plus-170
Free throws made by James: 6.5 (under -125)
Points scored by Warriors’ Klay Thompson: 17.5 (over/under -110)
Total points, rebounds and assists by Draymond Green: 28.5 (over/under -110)
First team to 10 points: Warriors -135; Cavaliers plus-115
Team to make first 3-point field goal: Warriors -120; Cavaliers plus-100
Points scored by Warriors’ Andre Iguodala: 7.5 (under -120)
Total points and rebounds by Cavaliers’ Tristan Thompson: 19.5 (over/under -110)
Points scored by Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith: 8 (over/under -110)