2018 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals Predictions
Odds are courtesy of Bodog.
Golden State Warriors (-200) vs. Houston Rockets (+170)
The Golden State Warriors have made it look easy to this point in the NBA playoffs. Breezing through the opening two rounds and only losing two games during that span, the defending champions will face its biggest test yet — the Houston Rockets.
The Warriors and Rockets will clash in the Western Conference final, which begins May 15. Despite coming in as the No. 2 seeds, oddsmakers still have the Warriors as the -200 favourites to defeat the Rockets and return to the NBA Finals.
Golden State flexed its offensive muscle in the opening two rounds, averaging a league-best 110.3 points per game. Houston was not far behind, however, putting up a points per game average of 109.5. This will be a high-scoring series and it will come down to which team can make more stops when it matters most.
This series also features two of the best pure scorers in the league: James Harden of the Rockets and Kevin Durant of the Warriors. Harden sits fourth in playoff scoring with 28.5 PPG, but Durant is right on his tail at 28 PPG.
Heading into this series, Golden has won six of the last 10 meetings against the Rockets in the head-to-head matchup. But looking at the last three contests, it was the Rockets that walked away with two victories.
It will be hard to bet against the defending champions, who are playing some of the best basketball they have all season long. But it is the Houston Rockets’ time.
Western Conference Finals Pick: Houston Rockets (+170)
Cleveland Cavaliers (-280) vs. Boston Celtics (+240)
LeBron James knows that if the Cavaliers want to get back to another NBA Final, he will have to carry them there. The three-time champion has done just that, averaging a league-leading 34 PPG. King James will have to put up the same kind of performance as the Cavaliers prepare to face the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Cavaliers finished fourth in the conference and many believed the team would be out of the playoffs by this point. However, after sweeping the top-ranked Toronto Raptors, the Cavs head into their semifinal series as convincing -280 favourites against a Celtics team that has also overcome adversity this season.
Boston star point guard Kyrie Irving, who is out for the remainder of the playoffs, will not get a chance to face his former team. But the Celtics, at +240, are still a popular pick among bettors. Expect to see the money come pouring in on Boston and that line to come down before the series officially tips off on Sunday night.
Cleveland has owned the head-to-head matchup over the last 10 games, defeating the Celtics seven times during that stretch. The Cavs have also outscored the Celtics 112.60 to 99.60 over that period.
If Boston can somehow slow down King James, they will have a chance to win the series. However, that is much easier said than done. Cavaliers will take this one in five or six games, tops.
Eastern Conference Finals Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers (-280)
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