2018 NBA Finals Preview

Although both teams took unconventional roads to get here, we ended up getting the NBA Finals we were expecting all along. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will lock horns for Association supremacy for an unprecedented fourth straight time after each overcame 3-2 deficits in their respective conference finals.

For the Warriors, it’s a chance to cement their place in NBA history as a legitimate dynasty (three titles in four years would look a lot better than two in four). Meanwhile, a Cleveland victory could move LeBron James past Michael Jordan in the minds of many when it comes to the ongoing debate of who is the greatest player in NBA history.

Golden State won both regular-season meetings this year, posting a seven-point win at home on Christmas Day and then beating the Cavs by 10 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Cleveland. But the Cavaliers blew up their roster with a series of trades just a few weeks later, and this will be a much different-looking Cleveland squad that takes the court when the Finals tip off Thursday in Oakland.

Let’s look at the betting odds for this series, then break down the matchup to see where the best betting value lies.

All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from BetOnline.ag at 10 a.m eastern on May 30, 2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

2018 NBA Finals Odds
This series looks incredibly lopsided on paper, and the oddsmakers agree. BetOnline lists Golden State as a -960 favorite to win the best-of-seven Finals, which implies the Warriors have more than a 90% probability of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy for the third time in four years.

NBA Finals Series Odds
Cleveland Cavaliers: +710
Golden State Warriors: -960
On the other hand, there’s a ton of value on the Cavaliers, whose +710 potential takeback is the highest of any team LeBron James has taken to the finals. It doesn’t take Lloyd Christmas to realize that if you’ve got The King, you’ve got a chance, and LeBron already took down this Warriors dynasty a couple of years ago.

That said, asking James to do the same this year is a very tall order. He no longer has Kyrie Irving at his side, Kevin Love’s availability is cloudy (more on that later), and the rest of his supporting cast has been spotty at best.

Fortunately, there are many other ways to bet on the NBA Finals series without laying 10 to win 1 on the Warriors or taking the Cavs on a wing and a prayer. Here are some of the NBA Finals series props currently available at BetOnline:

Cavaliers Series Handicap
Cleveland +1 Games: +600
Cleveland +1.5 Games: +400
Cleveland +2 Games: +340
Cleveland +2.5 Games: +210
Cleveland +3 Games: +100
Warriors Series Handicap
Golden State -1 Games: -800
Golden State -1.5 Games: -550
Golden State -2 Games: -425
Golden State -2.5 Games: -250
Golden State -3 Games: -120
Series Game Total
Over 4.5 Games -220/Under 4.5 Games +180
Over 5 Games +125/Under 5 Games -145
Over 5.5 Games +170/Under 5.5 Games -210
Over 6 Games +400/Under 6 Games -500
Over 6.5 Games +550/Under 6.5 Games -700
Series Exact Outcome
Cleveland in 4 Games: +15000
Cleveland in 5 Games: +5000
Cleveland in 6 Games: +1400
Cleveland in 7 Games: +1600
Golden State in 4 Games: +175
Golden State in 5 Games: +150
Golden State in 6 Games: +500
Golden State in 7 Games: +700
When Will Series Finish
Game 4: +175
Game 5: +150
Game 6: +425
Game 7: +525
Where Will Series Finish
At Cleveland (Game 4 or 5): -130
At Golden State (Game 6 or 7): +110
NBA Finals Individual Game Odds
It’s also going to be difficult to find value on the Warriors in individual games, judging by the point spread for Game 1. Golden State is a 12.5-point favorite to crush the Cavaliers Thursday in Oakland, marking the largest point spread in an NBA Finals opener since Allen Iverson singlehandedly carried the undermanned Sixers to the 2001 Finals versus the powerful Lakers. (Philadelphia pulled off the outright upset in Game 1, by the way, before losing the next four games in the series.)

The best times to back Golden State in individual games should be in Cleveland, where the point spreads will be much lower to account for the Cavaliers’ home court advantage. With home floor worth approximately 3 points on the NBA point spread, that means we should see the Warriors favored by 6-7 points in games played in Ohio. Conversely, the Cavs will have their most betting value when playing in Golden State, where they might backdoor a point spread or two with a meaningless bucket in the final minute of a blowout.

Five Things To Watch For In The NBA Finals
Golden State’s Dominance In Third Quarters
The third quarter has been Golden State’s best frame all season, and that trend has continued into the postseason. The Warriors have outscored opponents by 130 points in the third quarter during these playoffs, and by just 20 points in the other three quarters combined. Steve Kerr is obviously making some effective adjustments during halftime, and Golden State has also had to play with some urgency in third quarters after sleepwalking its way through the opening half of several games in these playoffs.

With Cleveland shooting less than 35% from the field during third quarters of this postseason, it’s a great recipe for a Warriors live bet once the third quarter begins. However, Golden State’s dominance of the third frame is hardly a secret, especially after the Dubs outscored Houston by 35 points in the third quarter of the last two games in the Western final. With the oddsmakers likely to adjust for this trend, it could be hard to find betting value.

Injuries
Both teams come into this series with concerns about the health of important players. Cleveland had to play Game 7 of the Eastern final without five-time All-Star Kevin Love (concussion), while the Warriors were without Andre Iguodala (leg contusion) for the final four games of their series against Houston.

Iguodala can be a bit of a forgotten man on a Golden State roster that is loaded with so much talent but don’t forget that he was the NBA Finals MVP against Cleveland just four years ago. Although the Warriors can also choose to guard LeBron James with Draymond Green or even Kevin Durant, Iguodala would be their ideal choice to try to contain The King, and his return would be huge for a Golden State team that struggled without him in the Western final.

But while the Warriors can still win this series without a healthy Iguodala, the same can’t be said of the Cavaliers if Love isn’t a big contributor. Other than James, he’s the only Cleveland player who is averaging double-digit point totals in the playoffs, and his ability to score in the paint would allow the Cavs to exploit Golden State’s biggest weakness defensively.

Cleveland’s Three-Point Shooting
With how prolifically the Warriors can shoot the three-ball, opponents don’t stand a chance unless they can hit the 3 themselves. Cleveland’s ability (or inability) to stroke it from beyond the arc will go a long way towards determining if the Cavaliers can even keep things close in the NBA Finals.

Judging by the playoffs so far, things don’t look good for the Cavs. Although they were a strong three-point shooting team during the regular season (37.2%), they’ve hit just 33.9% of their treys in the first three rounds. And while it’s true that Kyle Korver and J.R. Smith can get hot at any time, they’re now facing a Golden State squad that has clamped down on opposing three-point shooters in the playoffs, allowing a league-low 31.9% from distance.

Who Will Stop Durant? Or Curry? Or Thompson?
In last year’s Finals, the Cavaliers simply didn’t have an answer defensively for Durant. KD went off for 35.2 points per game in Golden State’s 5-game victory, shooting a blistering 55.6% from the field on his way to MVP honors. And even if the Cavs put their best defensive player (LeBron) on Durant, it just opens the floor for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson instead.

The scary thing for the Cavs is that last year’s team was a lot better defensively than this season’s outfit. Cleveland was second-last in the NBA in defensive rating during the regular season, allowing a dreadful 109.9 points per game. The Cavaliers’ defense has been improved in the playoffs, but don’t forget that they’ve only had to face Indiana, the perennial playoff choke-artist Raptors, and the defensive-minded Celtics. It’s quite possible, and even likely, that Cleveland’s defense gets exposed in a big way in this series.

Does LeBron Have Anything Left In The Tank?
The King has been absolutely incredible in these playoffs, averaging 34 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 8.8 assists through the first three rounds. But as dangerous as it is to ever question the abilities of LeBron, we also can’t ignore the possibility that he may finally hit the wall in this series.

Over the final two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, LeBron was on the floor for 94 of a possible 96 minutes. He’s averaged 41.3 minutes of court time per game in these playoffs (3.5 more than Durant and nearly six more than Curry), and that’s after leading the entire NBA in minutes played during the regular season.

A four-day break between the Eastern finals and Thursday’s opener may help him catch his breath, but he’s still 33 years old and Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be his 101st game of the season. Factor in how much weight he has to carry for the Cavaliers every night and fatigue could finally take its toll.

Switzerland Moves Towards Blocking Foreign-Based Gambling Sites

Bet365 has long been one of my top picks for all of our non-USA readers. It’s one of the biggest gambling sites in the world and has a long, positive history behind it. When Bet365 added online bingo to its lineup, it was great news for bingo players around the world.

The promotions at Bet365 are always changing, but I wanted to take today to talk about the latest bingo promos for both new and current members of Bet365.com. Bingo is a game of pure luck, so it’s important to take advantage of every promo you can get your hands on.

New Players
Bet365 Bingo welcomes all new players with two different bonuses. When you first join, you’ll get 200 free tickets right up front. You don’t need to deposit or jump through any hoops to get these tickets. Just make an account and Bet365 will give you 100 tickets for use in the Kiss and Tell room the next day. The day after that, you’ll get another 100 free tickets.

Altogether, these tickets are worth £10. Yes, these are micro-stakes games, but it’s still an extra £10 that you wouldn’t have otherwise. It takes all of five minutes to sign up for an account. I’d say this is a good deal.

Bet365 will also give you a £20 bonus after you make your first deposit. If you deposit £10 or more after joining, you’ll get an extra £20 that you can use to buy even more tickets. After you sign up for an account, Bet365 will send you an e-mail with a unique offer code that you can use to redeem the bonus.

Click here to get your bonus

Existing Players
There are so many bingo related promos at Bet365 that it would take a year to explain them all here. Let’s just say that there is always something happening at Bet365 bingo. Every week, they have guaranteed prize pool games that give away anywhere from £10,000 to £50,000. All you have to do is play during certain times and you can compete for your share of a hefty prize pool.

One of the biggest regular promos is the £50,000 Feel Good Friday contest that runs every Friday evening at 18:00 UK time. Basically, this is just a whole series of games that give away guaranteed prizes worth £400 to £5,000. Cards start at just 10p and never go higher than 50p. That alone is a great value.

And if you’re really on a budget, Bet365 hosts free bingo games every day with prizes worth £100. You don’t have to pay a thing to join, but you have a real shot at winning money. All you have to do is show up.

Bet365 also has The Breakfast Club for all you morning birds. This promo hosts a guaranteed £2500 worth of prizes every morning from 06:00 to 09:00. Tickets for this one start at just 5p.

These are just a few examples of the many promos Bet365 runs every week for its bingo players. Even if you already have a gambling site to call home, Bet365 is worth a look for the bonuses and promos alone. You’d be missing out on a lot of free money if you passed on this bingo site.

Casino Gambling Laws

The biggest problem with developing a page for a web site that deals with casino gambling laws is that almost as soon as you put it up some of the information has changed. There are literally thousands of jurisdictions around the world and they each have their own rules, laws and regulations about online casinos.

Some countries have specific laws regulating the running and licensing of online gambling establishments, some countries have specific laws against online gambling and some countries don’t have any laws about online casinos at all. In addition, if you just included a few lines about each jurisdiction in the world you would end up with a page that was miles long.

There are often many different jurisdictions within each country that may have their own set of laws. The United States is a perfect example of this with laws on the federal level, state level, city level and county level. Sometimes you need a law degree just to figure out who has the authority to do what in any given situation.

Because of the ever changing legal landscape and different jurisdictions I have included many tips, tricks and methods for finding out what the casino gambling laws are where you live or where you are planning to visit.

Gambling Law Disclaimer
Before continuing you need to understand that I am not offering legal advice and you are responsible for determining if any actions you take online are legal where you live. This page is simply for educational purposes and to help you find the answers you need.

The Best Advice about Casino Gambling Laws
By far the best place to learn more about casino gambling laws is to speak with an attorney who specializes in online gambling laws. There are not many of these types of lawyers around, but they do exist.

If you want to be 100% sure you are receiving the best advice possible this is your only option. Plan to spend a fair amount of money, because these lawyers are in demand and they charge for their services.

Learn About Casino Gambling Laws Cheaply
This is the way most players and potential players approach online casino gambling laws. They may do a quick search online, but for the most part if they can make a deposit and play at an online casino they assume it is legal. Searching on the Internet for questions concerning the law and legal advice can be dangerous.

You need to realize that just about anyone with Internet access and a few dollars can launch a web site that says anything they want, whether true or not. In addition, just because you find multiple sources reporting the same things as fact you can’t be sure they are true.

Often a site will make a statement of fact and other sites will start saying the same things and presenting them as factual without verifying them. Remember the old saying that says you often get what you pay for. By reading free advice you may be setting yourself up for an unpleasant experience.

If you must research gambling and casino laws using the Internet make sure to verify any information you find with reputable sources.

Just as a word of caution, Wikipedia is not a trusted or reputable source. It often does have good information, but just about anyone can edit there so many times the details can be incorrect. You can often find solid sources referenced at the bottom of the page in Wikipedia, so if you must use it at least follow the links to find credible resources.

Is Anyone in Jail for Gambling?
This is the test I often use to help me determine if it is legal in a certain jurisdiction to gamble online. I try to find out if anyone has ever been sentenced to jail for doing what I want to do. For example, if I want to play at an online casino I see if anyone where I live has ever went to jail for doing so.

While this is far from a solid defense if you ever get charged, it does make me feel better if no one has done jail time. In other words, you can’t say “Well no one else got in trouble for doing it so I should be allowed to do it” as a defense in a court of law. (I guess you can say it, but if you broke the law it will not help you get the charges dropped.)

You can even take this a small step further to see if anyone has even been charged with a crime for playing at an online casino.

Can You Trust Advice on Online Forums?
While it’s dangerous to say anything is 100% certain one way or another when it comes to sharing information online, I can say that most advice that you find on online forums is suspect at best, and much of it is just plain wrong.

Do not ever base your safety and protection from possibly breaking the law based on anything you read on an online forum or message board. Anyone with Internet access can post on most forums and act like they are an expert.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking just because someone has a bunch of posts they know what they are talking about either. I have seen people with thousands of posts tossing around completely inaccurate information. I don’t know if all of these people are bad or intentionally trying to spread bad information, but some of it is close to criminal and can cost people money and / or get them hurt. Just like anything else you find online, make sure you verify the important details.

Is Any Place Safe to Gamble?
I realize that so far I have painted a discouraging picture about online gambling and the law. The good news is there are plenty of jurisdictions that have specific laws in place to make online gambling and casino play legal for companies that operate with the correct licenses and for players.

This information can often be found on the government owned web sites in your country. Local attorneys are also likely to have this information if you live in one of the countries that have specific laws allowing online casino play.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking online gambling is legal just because you have land based casinos in your country. Often the biggest opponents of online gaming are the land based casinos. There should either be specific laws allowing online gambling in your jurisdiction or at the very least no laws that prohibit it.

There are often different laws concerning owning an online casino and playing at an online casino. In many jurisdictions you can play legally but you can’t own an online gambling establishment. There are even a few places where you can own one but citizens are not allowed to play in one.

How Do Banks Factor Into Gambling Laws?
The online casino and gambling industry is fueled by the movement of money into and out of the online casinos and other gambling businesses. Without a safe and secure way to move the money around the online gambling business would quickly go away. So in some jurisdictions the law makers try to either control online gambling through banking laws or try to do away with online gambling by making banking with online casinos illegal.

The UIGEA passed in the United States is an example of this. It doesn’t make gambling online illegal, but it tries to target the banking industry to get them to stop dealing with online casinos. But it hasn’t been very successful at driving the online casinos out of the market. There are still plenty of places for United States citizens to play at online casinos, poker rooms and sports books.

Getting money into and out of these establishments may be a little more challenging than it used to be but it is still fairly easily accomplished. There were many e-wallets, casinos, sports books and poker rooms that left the US market, but just as many stayed or entered the market after the UIGEA.

I Want to Start an Online Casino
If you want to start an online casino then the only advice you need from this entire page is to seek the help of a qualified attorney. There are jurisdictions where you can do this in a legal and safe manner, but there are also places where you will go to jail for running one.

In addition, once you find a legal jurisdiction you will need to find reliable banking solutions, a solid software provider and possibly a local person who you can trust to help you set everything up without being taken advantage of. You may also need to move to whatever country you plan to run your online casino from so you can watch over the day to day operations.

Conclusion
With all of the different laws around the world governing gambling and with the possibility of many of them changing at any time, it can be quite a challenge to know what is right and wrong. In addition, the existing laws in many places are not well worded or thought out and create more questions than answers.

Other places have laws that were put into place well before the Internet even existed and people are trying to determine how these laws fit with the online world. The only thing you can do is find a group of trusted sources to keep up to date and / or use the services of an attorney.