Cavaliers - Warriors become first teams to advance in NBA Playoffs

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

By Andrew Ryan
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No surprises here. The NBA playoffs are a week and a half old, and 14 of the 16 teams are still alive and kicking heading into Tuesday night. The two teams who have advanced are the favorites to win it all, something that has been the case for quite some time now.

Golden State disposed of Portland in four very easy matchups, and the fact of the matter is that its stock has basically not changed. The Dubs opened up the playoffs as -240 favorites, and they're only up to -250 at this point.

As far as the favorites in the East, the Cavaliers are down to +310 after opening up at +340. LeBron James took over the opening round series against the Pacers, finishing off a clean sweep thanks to some particularly awesome play in the second halves of games. This sweep wasn't indicative of just how easy those games were; the Pacers were live dogs in the fourth quarter of all four games. But sweeps are sweeps, and the Cavs will now have basically a full week off before having to contend with Toronto or Milwaukee.

After that though, things are a little blurry. It's clear now that the Rockets, the fourth favorites to win it all at +1500 are going to dispose of Oklahoma City after taking a 3-1 series lead thanks to a win at the BOK Center in Game 4. But aside from that, we've got a lot of series that hang in the balance.

The Spurs were up 2-0 and looked to be coasting against the Grizzlies, but all of a sudden, it's as if Memphis got tired of getting pushed around. The Grizz had been beaten by at least nine points in six straight playoff games by the Spurs, but they came out alive at home and won both Games 3 and 4 on their home court. The offense put together two games the likes of which they haven't seen in the postseason in years and years, and that really caught the Spurs off guard. San Antonio is still a comfortable favorite to advance in what is now a best-of-three series, but at +1200 to win the title, bettors have to be at least a bit leery of what's going on.

In the other Western Conference series, the Clippers and Jazz have literally beaten each other up. First it was Rudy Gobert who was out for a couple games thanks to an injury suffered in Game 1, then it was Blake Griffin who's season ended in Game 3 thanks to a toe injury. Gordon Hayward had a stomach bug that caused him to play just nine minutes in Game 4. Needless to say, these two teams are beaten the heck up, and they've still got at least two games to play just to get to Golden State. There's a reason why neither team is better than 100 to 1 on the NBA Finals odds.

In the East, the top seeded Celtics are starting to look a little more like themselves. They lost the first two games against the Bulls at home, but they turned around and took the two games on the road to more or less regulate things. Once down to 50 to 1, Boston is back to 35 to 1 to capture a championship, though most realize that this is still definitively a series.

Toronto has taken a 3-2 series lead on Milwaukee going back to the BMO Harris Bradley Center, but with LeBron and Co. waiting in the next round, there's a reason why the Raps are just +4000.

The Wizards looked to be cruising against the Hawks after two games at home in the 4/5 series, and with Boston struggling against Chicago, the opportunity seemed to be there for them to get to the Eastern Conference Finals without much resistance. As it is though, Atlanta won the last two games and carries all of the momentum into Game 5 back in D.C., putting this series in the balance as well.

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