My beloved New York Knicks have had a winning record just three times in the last 15 years. They’ve made the playoffs four times and won a single playoff series in that timespan. They went 32-50 this season, and I’m pretty sure they traded away their 2016 1st round pick in the Stephen Marbury deal … or was it the Andrea Bargnani trade? Oh, that’s right, it was the Carmelo Anthony trade. The one where they traded away half of their roster and multiple draft picks for a player that was going to be a free agent in a few months anyway. All of this to say, being a Knicks fan can and will drive a man to gamble. It’s all we have during playoff time! And with the new Commish, Adam Silver, giving his stamp of approval, there is no reason not to throw away some of your hard earned cash in the name of entertainment. Here are the bets I’m eyeing for the 2016 NBA Playoffs:
San Antonio Spurs +400 to win NBA Championship
After winning the Championship in 2014 to avenge their heartbreaking loss to the Miami Heat the year before, the Spurs came into last season fat and happy, literally. Which was perfect for the Golden State Warriors, as they never had to go through the defending champs on their title run. But they won’t be so lucky this time. Not only did the Spurs come back refocused this season, but they came back reloaded, as well, adding LaMarcus Aldridge and David West. While the Warriors were going all out to break the all-time regular season wins record, the Spurs were lying in wait, resting their players, and preparing solely for their inevitable Western Conference Finals matchup.
I do think the Golden State Warriors will win the NBA Championship, but at -150 odds, that bet just isn’t any fun. And I think the Spurs and Warriors are much closer than the odds reflect. I’m a contrarian bettor by nature, and I’m going to ride with the Spurs at +400.
Cleveland Cavaliers -260 to win Eastern Conference
LeBron has been on an absolute tear since going into “playoff mode,” and I just don’t see a team in the East good enough to knock the Cavs off with him playing at this level. I don’t love the odds, and I might be better off just betting on them series to series, but I’ll place a small bet on them at -260 to start, and go from there.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)