Healthy Spurs, hobbled Warriors see movement on NBA title odds
The San Antonio Spurs are 5–0 straight up and 4–1 against the spread in their first five games of the 2016 NBA postseason. The Spurs have played well this postseason and stayed healthy, which is just as important for the veteran team.
San Antonio currently has +170 odds to win the NBA championship at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Uncertainty surrounding the knee injury of Golden State's Stephen Curry and San Antonio's early dominance have lowered the Spurs' odds to win the title considerably from +375 when the playoffs began.
The Spurs jumped out to a 1–0 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder (+2000 to win the NBA title) in impressive fashion with a 124–92 win in Game 1 of their second-round series. Game 2 of the series is set for Monday night in San Antonio.
The Cleveland Cavaliers also saw a slight bump to their championship odds in light of Curry's injury, dropping down to +333 from their playoff-opening odds of +400.
There were likely other contributing factors to this jump as well; the Cavaliers looked like a strong, cohesive unit in their first-round sweep of the Detroit Pistons, and the rest of the Eastern Conference has failed to impress through the first round with every other series going at least six games.
Golden State entered the postseason as a –150 favorite to win the NBA championship, and saw those odds slip to +150 heading into the second round. Interestingly enough, while the Warriors look like a victim of the postseason injury bug at first glance, they may also have been the beneficiary of it.
When the Los Angeles Clippers lost Chris Paul and Blake Griffin to injuries in Game 4 of their first-round series against the Portland, it paved the way for the Trail Blazers to pull off the series upset and advance.
While the Warriors without Stephen Curry would have been vulnerable against a healthy Clippers team, Golden State seems to match up well with Portland even without Curry as was indicated in a double-digit victory over the Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their second-round set.
An MRI on Curry's knee showed no structural damage, and early reports indicate that he could be back as early as Game 3 in the second round. Game 2 takes place on Tuesday night in Oakland.
It's impossible to know exactly when he'll be back on the court and how healthy he'll be, but if Curry is back at full strength in time for the third round, future bettors who took the gamble on Golden State would have an excellent shot.