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Warriors remain overwhelming favorites on NBA championship odds

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At the trade deadline, the Golden State Warriors remain overwhelming favorites on the NBA championship odds, but oddsmakers have slightly shuffled the contenders down the board.

The Warriors, who have integrated big man DeMarcus Cousins into their lineup laden with all-stars, are now -220 favorites on those NBA futures at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. As the league trade deadline approaches, the two-time defending champions have surged to the top of the Western Conference. It is, however, arguable, that the half of the league that Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and for the last three seasons Kevin Durant have run through is not as deep as in the past.

The top teams on the board also include the Toronto Raptors (+800), Boston Celtics (+1000), Milwaukee Bucks (+1100), Los Angeles Lakers (+1100), Houston Rockets (+1300), Philadelphia 76ers (+1600), Oklahoma City Thunder (+2000), and Denver Nuggets (+2200).

The fact that Toronto has gone past the second round in the playoffs only once in their history is always a reason to be wary. The Raptors did defeat the Warriors twice before Christmas. But being 23rd in the league in three-point percentage is a bigger red flag than practicing “load management” with star forward Kawhi Leonard. The last team to vanquish the Warriors, the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, were third in efficiency from deep in the regular season.

Similarly, the Bucks’ value is at season low after they opened at +7500. But it remains to be seen how well superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will adapt to playoff defending – he makes fewer than 20 percent of his threes – or whether Milwaukee has a strong enough supporting cast around the Greek Freak.

The Philadelphia 76ers are all in on making a playoff run after swapping two first-round choices for all-star caliber forward Tobias Harris this week. The trade gives Philadelphia one of the league’s best starting lineups, and their value might never be greater than now, since many bettors took a wait-and-see approach with a team that has been assembled on the fly. Unlike the Raptors and Bucks, Philadelphia is a top-10 team in three-point shooting.

Over in the Western Conference, the Nuggets have lost a lot of their value after opening the season at +10000 at online betting sites.

There is the idea that the team that ends Golden State’s reign is more likely to do it earlier in the playoffs than later. The Nikola Jocic-led Nuggets would need home-court advantage over the Warriors in a best-of-seven conference final to truly pose a threat, and even then, they lost by 31 points at home in their last meeting with Golden State in mid-January – and that was before Cousins was cleared to play.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Daytona 500 Odds: Betting Preview for Great American Race

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Winning the Great American Race once might generate confidence with bettors, but recent history shows that it means little once the race begins.

Joey Logano, one of the eight past champions in the field, is the +800 co-favorite on the Daytona 500 odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Brad Keselowski (+800) and Kevin Harvick (+850) join Logano at the top of the board.

The favorites for the NASCAR Cup season opener at Daytona International Speedway also include Kyle Busch (+1200), who won in 2017, as well as Ryan Blaney (+1100), Clint Bowyer (+1100), Chase Elliott (+1100) and Denny Hamlin (+1100).

A chalk pick with Logano, who will start fourth, is justifiable, but the wide-open nature of motorsports means the value is farther down on the board and higher in the grid. Ten of the last 13 champions, including the last four, have been first-time winners. Five of the last six winners have started eighth or higher on the grid.

Picking Keselowski would mean being comfortable with a racer who has failed to finish in the last four runnings at Daytona International Speedway. Elliott is a big name bettors probably should fade, based on the fact he has also fared poorly on this track. Likewise, Harvick has failed to finish in four of his last five runnings on the track, while Kyle Busch has finished outside of the top five in each of the last two years.

Aric Almirola (+1100), who had the lead in the 2018 race until he crashed with a mile to go, still holds of a lot of value as bettors try to gauge whether he has put that misfortune in this showcase event behind him or it becomes some sort of mental millstone. Jimmie Johnson (+1800), who won the rain-shortened Advance Auto Parts Clash last Sunday, is one former champion who might worth taking a flier on.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (+1500) has fared well in his recent restrictor-plate races and would fit the first-time winner trend. A darkhorse whose NASCAR odds for Sunday have dropped without killing his value, though, is Daniel Suarez (+2200), who ran well during the aforementioned Clash before getting stuck behind a wreck and ultimately finishing 10th.

It is tough enough to win Daytona twice in a lifetime, let alone twice in a row, so defending champion Austin Dillon (+3000) is well down the board at online sports betting sites. No driver has won the race twice in a row since Sterling Marlin in 1994 and 1995.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Smith Jr., Curry, Team LeBron favorites on All-Star weekend NBA odds

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Overdoing it in the Slam Dunk Contest last year has given Dennis Smith Jr.’s odds a little more vertical, so to speak, entering NBA All-Star weekend.

Smith is the +200 favorite on the Slam Dunk Contest odds for Saturday in Charlotte at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The New York Knicks point guard was the favorite in the 2018 edition but a miss in the first round brought him back to earth, helping the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell – who’s not competing this time around – win the title.

The aesthetics of the dunk contest tend to favor players around the size of the six-foot-three Smith, who may have learned some lessons about the procedure of the event.

Miles Bridges (+225) of the host Charlotte Hornets is an explosive leaper who has the hometown advantage. The Atlanta Hawks’ John Collins (+225), as the tallest player competing, might be at a judging disadvantage.

The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (+175) is the favorite on the Three-Point Contest odds, followed by defending champion Devin Booker (+450), Buddy Hield (+450), Seth Curry (+550), Kemba Walker (+900), Joe Harris (+900) and Damian Lillard (+900).

The fact that 10 players have won in the last 10 years highlights the randomness of the event. Beyond Stephen Curry, Booker offers excellent value in an event that is overdue for someone to win back-to-back, and Walker will be competing on his home floor, although no host-team player has won in the event’s 32-year history.

De’Aaron Fox (+250) has top odds in the Skills Challenge at betting sites, followed by Luka Doncic (+325), Trae Young (+375), Mike Conley (+550), Nikola Jokic (+600), Jayson Tatum (+600) and Kyle Kuzma (+700). International players comprise four of the last nine winners and Doncic might offer more upside than the favored Fox. The last three winners of this timed event have all been six-six or taller, so a skilled big such as the six-nine Kuzma poses a darkhorse threat.

As for the game on Sunday, Team LeBron is a 6-point betting favorite against Team Giannis. The higher value resides in the game MVP props, where superlative scorer Kevin Durant (+600) is co-favorite to win MVP with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Team LeBron is loaded with three-point threats such as Durant, James himself (+650), James Harden (+1000), Klay Thompson (+4000), Damian Lillard (+4000) and Bradley Beal (+4000). Harden’s historic streak of 30-point games makes him an intriguing pick.

On the Team Giannis side, the Greek Freak himself would seem to pose the best chance; the game MVP always comes from the winning side and he would stand to play a major role in the betting-line underdog winning on these NBA odds.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.