| Sun 13/05/2018 - 05:45 EDT

      2018 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals Odds, Schedule, Picks

      2018 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals Odds, Schedule, Picks

      Western Conference Finals Odds

      My Team's Next MatchHouston Rockets

      #2 Golden State Warriors defeated #1 Houston Rockets 4-3

      • Game 1: Golden State 119 Houston 106 
        Game 2: Golden State 105 Houston 127
      • Game 3: Houston 85 Golden State 126
      • Game 4: Houston 95 Golden State 92
      • Game 5: Golden State 94 Houston 98
      • Game 6: Houston 86 Golden State 115
      • Game 7: Golden State 101 Houston 92

      The Golden State Warriors face their toughest adversary in the Houston Rockets, a team designed for the sole purpose of dethroning the NBA champions. Leading MVP candidate James Harden leads the Chimera-like Rockets and with Chris Paul and Clint Capela are 50-5 throughout the season. They'll need to beat the Warriors four times when they have only lost three playoff games since adding Kevin Durant.

      Golden State starts the series as -246 favourites while the Rockets are +168 underdogs. Houston won the season series 2-1 and will have the home court advantage with the best regular season record at 34-7 and was 5-1 during the playoffs. Golden State has the second-best road record at 31-14 entering this series. 

      The script flipped on Saturday as it was Houston who found themselves collapsing in the second half. The Rockets outscored Golden State 39-22 in the first despite being without Paul but then Klay Thompson happened scoring 35 points and hitting nine threes. Houston only managed 35 points in the entire second half as they lost by 29.

      The Rockets' fate will be dependent on how healthy Paul is. Even if he returns, it's unclear how effective he will be. Harden scored 32 points with nine assists in his absence but it's clear he can't carry the scoring load. Golden State is healthier and even with Durant playing badly, they managed to decimate Houston.

      If Paul plays, Golden State will still have the edge since they are a better scoring team overall. If Paul is out, this is all but a lock for the Warriors. Either way, this is Golden State's game to lose.

      Eastern Conference Finals Odds

      My Team's Next MatchBoston Celtics

      #4 Cleveland Cavaliers defeated #2 Boston Celtics 4-3 

      • Game 1: Sun, May 13: Cleveland Cavaliers 83 Boston Celtics 108
      • Game 2: Tue, May 15: Cleveland Cavaliers 94 Boston Celtics 107
      • Game 3: Sat, May 19: Boston Celtics 86 Cleveland Cavaliers 116
      • Game 4: Mon, May 21: Boston Celtics 102 Cleveland Cavaliers 111
      • Game 5: Wed, May 23: Cleveland Cavaliers 83 Boston Celtics 96
      • Game 6: Fri, May 25: Boston Celtics 99 Cleveland Cavaliers 109
      • Game 7: Sun, May 27: Cleveland Cavaliers 87 Boston Celtics 79

      Despite injuries to their two stars, the Boston Celtics return to the Conference Finals after owning the Philadelphia 76ers. Meeting them is the same team who took them out a year ago: the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James has played like a man possessed and even if his Cavs are not as good as last year's version, they destroyed the top seed Raptors and look poised to go through Boston again.  

      Cleveland opens the series as -340 favourites. They won the season series 2-1 and are 7-3 against the Celtics including beating them in five games last season though with different lineups. The Celtics are +224 to start this series but will have the benefit of homecourt advantage. They are undefeated (7-0) at home during the playoffs while Cleveland is 3-2 on the road.

      As expected, Cleveland defended homecourt and forced a game seven. The home teams are undefeated at 6-0 and the favourites are 5-1 since the series started. Now it's a winner-take-all and it becomes a bit more complicated. James is 5-2 in game 7s and hasn't lost a game 7 since 2008 when he faced the Big Three Celtics who went on to win the NBA title.

      It's not surprising Cleveland is the favourite to win. As great as Boston has played, they are still young and inexperienced. But they get a bit of a break because Kevin Love, Cleveland's second-best player, is out meaning James will be forced to do even more.

      The x-factor remains whether James will get some help from his supporting cast. And the answer will be "yes" as the Cavs will edge the pressured Celtics and return to the NBA Finals for a fourth straight time.

      2018 NBA Conference Finals Picks

      We went 2-0 predicting game seven and are finally over .500 (8-6) for the Conference Finals. We're 5-2 picking the Eastern Conference Finals, which has been awfully predictable while the Western Conference Finals remains unpredictable. Both Rockets and Warriors have been hot-and-cold with key injuries. We're 3-4 picking this series.

      Our overall record: 21-18 

      Date Conference Game Prediction Result
      May 13 CLE at BOS Game 1  CLE ML  BOS ML
      May 14 GSW at HOU Game 1  HOU ML  GS ML
      May 15 CLE at BOS Game 2  BOS ML  BOS ML
      May 16 GSW at HOU Game 2  GSW ML   HOU ML
      May 19 BOS at CLE Game 3  BOS ATS  CLE ATS
      May 20 HOU at GSW Game 3  GSW ATS   GSW ATS
      May 21 BOS at CLE Game 4  CLE ATS  CLE ATS
      May 22 HOU at GSW Game 4  GSW ATS  HOU ATS
      May 23 CLE at BOS Game 5  BOS ML  BOS ML
      May 24 GSW at HOU Game 5   GSW ML  HOU ML
      May 25 BOS at CLE Game 6   CLE ATS  CLE ATS
      May 26 HOU at GSW Game 6   GSW ATS  GSW ATS
      May 27 CLE at BOS Game 7  CLE ML  CLE ML
      May 28 GSW at HOU Game 7  GSW ATS   GSW ATS

      Warriors at Rockets Game Seven Pick

      Golden State remain favourites. They are -6.0 on the spread and -240 on the money line. Houston will be +6.0 on the point spread and +195 straight-up. Paul and Andre Iguodala's statuses are still questionable. But the return of either player should cause some changes to the lines, especially in Paul's case.

      The Warriors have been tough to bet on during this series. They are only 2-3 ATS on their last five road games and 4-6 ATS in their last ten overall. There are many instances where they seem out-of-sync and complacent. Many question whether they have the same motivation as Houston win. But even in this state, they have managed to blow out Houston. 

      Paul's injury couldn't have come at a worse time. He was Houston's best player and carried them when Harden was struggling. Without Paul, this drastically limits Houston's offence and even with great defence, it's only a matter of time before Golden State pulls away. Bet Golden State to win and cover the spread. 

      Cavaliers at Celtics Game Seven Pick

      True to the script, Boston is favoured to win. Their point spread is -2.5 and their money line is -140. The Cavaliers are +2.5 on the spread and +120 straight-up. Unlike the last six games, don't expect a lopsided victory for either team. This game will be competitive throughout just like the Indiana-Cleveland game seven with similar results.

      James is superhuman. The three-time Finals MVP is unbeaten in game 7s in a decade. He's averaging 32.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists on 49 per cent shooting in those five games. But he'll need to do more than this as his team has disappeared in the TD Garden and he'll be without Love. The Cavs' role players will need to elevate their game in a big way. 

      Boston is unbeaten at home (7-0) and has played more consistently than Cleveland. They play a better team game but in a close one, a single LeBron James is worth the entire sum of the Celtics. At an underdog price, Cleveland is the team to bet. 

      NBA Championship Odds Update

      After several shifts including being taken off the board, the championship odds have returned close to their original lines when the Conference Finals opened.

      Golden State is a decided favourite to win their second straight title at -167. Houston is a distant second at +250. Boston and Cleveland have evened up at +900 apiece.  

      The 2018 NBA Finals will begin on Thursday, May 31, in either Houston or Golden State.

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