Getty Images

Warriors remain overwhelming favorites on NBA championship odds

Leave a comment

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.

EPL Matchweek Odds: Liverpool favored over Manchester United

Leave a comment

The twist scenario in this weekend’s derby is that the pressure is on the visiting, first-place Liverpool – which could make Manchester United the value play.

Liverpool is the +135 away favorite on the Premier League odds with host Manchester United coming back at +205, while the draw is offering +250 and there is a 2.5-goal total for Sunday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

This is first-place Liverpool’s game in hand over second-place Manchester City; while the Reds are undefeated in 26 of their last 27 away matches, they are coming off a desultory 0-0 draw against Germany’s Bayern Munich this week in Champions League play. Manchester United’s new-found confidence attributed to caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is borne out by some strong trends, which include scoring at least two goals in six consecutive matches, while also winning eight of their last nine in the league.

Confidence in Manchester United, which is led by midfield magician Paul Pogba, could be tempered somewhat if first-choice starters Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are ruled out of action. Liverpool would seem like a safe bet to continue its skein of scoring in every away game in the league this season, even though Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah have not been capitalizing at a high rate of late.

Cardiff City (+215) and Watford (+140, draw +230) meet in a Friday EPL matchup with a strong OVER trend, as 10 of their last 11 meetings have had more than two goals. With Cardiff refreshed by a bye week and Watford being without suspended left back Jose Holebas, alternate totals such as OVER 3.5 (+245) should be considered.

West Ham United (-115) hosts Fulham (+325, draw +295), which has been a feeble away team that has lost 10 of its last 11 away games in the league, while also trailing at halftime in seven of its last eight away games. West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic (+333 first scorer, EVEN anytime) should have ample opportunity to score. In correct score group props, West Ham United 3-0, 3-1 or 3-2 (+450) is a high-value, if chancier, play.

Burnley (+425) takes dubious trends against Tottenham Hotspur (-145, draw +270) into a Saturday matchup. Tottenham has kept a clean sheet in the last three meetings and is undefeated in the past nine. Burnley is a tough out at home, and Tottenham win / yes (+250) and yes / over 2.5 (+125) both offer value in both teams to score prop betting.

Bournemouth (+180) and Wolverhampton (+160, draw +235) is the tautest three-way moneyline of the week. The slight home underdog Cherries are an attacking team at home and five of the Wolves’ last six away matches have gone OVER 2.5 goals, so both teams to score props are worth poring over, and Either Team 2-1 (+350) has potential in the correct score group props.

And Leicester City (+120) hosts Crystal Palace (+250, draw +235) dragging a three-match home losing streak, as well as a three-match goalless streak against the visiting Eagles.

The head-to-head trend makes Crystal Palace the percentage play on the double chance (-140 for a win or draw), but there is potential for offense and Leicester could get it from winger Demarai Gray (+900 first scorer, +330 anytime), with Jamie Vardy (+350 first scorer, +120 anytime) being the usual suspect.

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.

Red Sox, Yankees share top of 2019 World Series odds board

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Major League Baseball so split into the win-now and win-later camps, it lends itself to wondering whether the grand old game will see it its first repeat champion in almost two decades.

The reigning Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are each listed at +600 on the 2019 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. After the AL East’s two behemoths, the top of the board also includes the Houston Astros (+800)  and Los Angeles Dodgers (+800).

No team has repeated since the 1998-2000 Yankees won three World Series in a row. But the Red Sox, led by reigning MVP Mookie Betts, are coming off a dominant 108-win season where they scored 876 runs. Boston also has proven pitching depth.

The current Yankees should also be formidable at bat and on the mound, particularly with a bullpen of Dellin Bettances, Zack Britton, Aroldis Chapman and Adam Ottavino that could be lights-out in the postseason. Whoever finishes first in the AL East – keep in mind that the last four World Series champions have been either a No. 1 or No. 2 playoff seed in their league – will rate an excellent chance of being the favorite in October.

The Astros and the Dodgers rate the relatively short odds. However, the respective AL West and NL West champs face questions about their pitching – Houston bid adieu to Dallas Keuchel, whereas Los Angeles is wondering how much velocity Clayton Kershaw will recover after three consecutive years of battling injuries – that beg taking a wait-and-see approach.

Recent league MVP Bryce Harper is still unsigned and the team that the slugging outfielder has been most linked to, the Philadelphia Phillies (+1400), presents excellent value farther down the board, including on the season win totals at sportsbooks.

The most tightly contested division is expected to be the NL Central with the Chicago Cubs (+1400), St. Louis Cardinals (+1400) and Milwaukee Brewers (+1600). Of those three, the Cardinals, who added slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt over the winter, might be the most undervalued.

The Atlanta Braves (+1600), Cleveland Indians (+1600) and Washington Nationals (+1600) are all recent playoff teams. Atlanta probably has the most upside of those teams by virtue of having a young corps, and a longshot play on a team building toward its peak is always better than taking a team past its best-before date.

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.