Cavs starting to have that NBA Finals look

May 10, 2016 3:00 AM

Cleveland has a nice little mini-vacation before the NBA Eastern Conference Championship.

The Cavaliers wait for the winner of the Toronto-Miami series and will be a big favorite to make the Finals as they’ve blown by the first two rounds with an 8-0 record (5-3 ATS).

They’ll be underdogs against both the Warriors or Spurs in the Finals, but with the recent appearance of solidarity and execution on the court, the perception of Cleveland has changed a little bit.

“The Cavs have closed the gap some with the presumptive West representatives, Warriors or Spurs,” said Westgate SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman. “Their offensive efficiency will make for an even more compelling finals than we saw last season.”

Last season the Cavs took the Warriors to 6 with one of the grittiest performances ever seen out of LeBron James, who averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists a game. He had to put the team on his shoulders with Kevin Love out and Kyrie Irving only playing one game.

The Cavs went to a slow down approach and back-up point guard Matthew Dellavedova’s defense gave Stephen Curry some trouble early on. Their offensive plan was to hold the ball down to the final seconds of the shot clock and then let LeBron do his thing. And the crazy thing is it almost worked.

So far through their 8-0 playoff run, this Cavs squad looks nothing like last year. They’re high flying and setting NBA records for 3-pointers made. This team that looked like it was ready to implode during the regular season with so much LeBron drama overplayed in the media, has put it all together.

Cleveland looks more focused and together as a team that it’s hard not to give them a real shot to win it all. Give LeBron credit for his role and the turnaround as the leader. He’s very calculated in everything and his purpose during the regular season was to get his team ready – in any manner – for this moment, the real part of the season.

Now they’re having fun for the first time all year.

But the question about this offensive version of the Cavs is whether or not that style will play right into the hands of the Warriors or Spurs. The Warriors would seem to welcome a high-scoring team like Cleveland, who has averaged 107.8 points per playoff game and shooting 46 percent from long range. That plays right into their hands.

The Spurs also have an excellent counter attack playing against high scoring teams. Is the LeBron-Love-Irving trio something really special or when the first Cavs loss happens, the finger pointing and blame game begins.

The Westgate has Cleveland 2-to-1 to win the NBA Finals, with Golden State favored at 10-to-11 and San Antonio at 3-to-1. If looking to bet the Cavs to win it all, right now is the time, especially if believing the Spurs can win against the Warriors.

MLB best at futility

The year was 1991 and every sports book in Las Vegas was going to lose money on the World Series winner whether it was the Twins or Braves, two teams that had been offered odds at 100-to-1 coming off last place finishes the previous season.

The Twins would win in 7 and up until the Cardinals September 2011 run to help win it all, it was the worst baseball beat the books had ever seen.

In 2016 and those same two teams are making headlines, except this time it’s for being so bad a price is hard to make daily on them. The Braves have won seven of 36 games and the Twins have won eight in 38 through Sunday.

Chris Sale from the White Sox has seven wins on his own. Bettors have been taking aim against them every day either laying the big price with their opponents or -1.5 on the run-line.

The Braves profit margin if betting them every day is -10.3 units and the Twins is baseball’s worst at -14.2. Because of being so bad, and knowing the public is betting against them, the books have to add an inflation tax of about 25 percent daily on their prices to try and attract action on the dead sides.

When you see popular betting teams like Cubs, White Sox and Nationals win on a day, and then the Braves and Twins also lose, just know that the books got hit pretty hard that day on a very popular public parlay.

At some point, however, the tide is going to turn and the Braves and Twins will go on nice runs and it’ll take a few weeks for their rating adjustment to actually catch up. There is value with them now, but before jumping on board, wait till they win two straight before taking a shot.

Best MLB total teams

We all keep waiting for the Blue Jays bats to unload, and they have this massive rating on totals that has numbers high, but so far the scoring hasn’t happened like last season and they’ve gone 21-9-3 to the UNDER due to large totals every day. Only the Rays at 19-7-3 have a better UNDER percentage.

The best OVER team is Milwaukee at 22-8-1, thanks to allowing an MLB-worst 5.9 runs a game. The Pirates shaky pitching and consistent hitting have them next at 21-10 to the OVER. Also, keep note of the Reds allowing 5.8 runs a game which has them 19-11-2 to the OVER.

Cincinnati’s bullpen is by far the worst in baseball with a 6.59 ERA. Next worst, surprisingly, is the Padres at 4.88. How can a bullpen be that bad pitching at Petco Park?

Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Twitter: @MicahRoberts7 Email: [email protected].