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NBA Finals: Dream Scenario For Books

Fans, media and the NBA are bouncing like a new Spalding fresh out of the package over the rematch situation we have in the NBA Finals where the Cleveland Cavaliers square off against the Golden State Warriors for the second straight year. 

What you may not realize is that sportsbooks are also pretty jazzed about the whole LeBron-Curry do-over. And it’s not simply because popularity will draw more action to the books. Which it will. 

“This is the best possible scenario we could have hoped for,” says Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager at Bovada. 

That’s because the two betting favorites to start the year are back in the Finals, which leaves the books in a profitable position. That’s the norm when the favorite is in the final of a major sporting event - the book is usually left in good shape. It means, at worst, the House is left with payouts at the worst odds available to bettors if the favorite wins. 

So this NBA Finals is a bit of a dream come true for sportsbooks because both the first and second favorites are squaring off against each other.  The Cavs opened at +250 at many books to win the 2016 title while the Warriors opened at +500, though their scorching start didn’t leave them at that price for very long. 

Now the Warriors are -200 at Bovada and worse at several other shops while the Cavs are just +170. Bovada opened Cleveland at +195 but 57 percent of the bets have poured in on the Cavs to win the series and the book moved the number in response. 

“We expected that,” says Bradley. “We’re going to need Golden State. We’re good either way but that would be the best result for us.” 

I guess that means you can chalk one up for the House these NBA playoffs.

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