Warriors are heavy favorites over Spurs in Western Conference finals

Updated May 12, 2017 - 7:47 pm

The Warriors and Cavaliers have been so dominant in sweeping their first two NBA playoff series that the William Hill sports book has posted a prop bet asking if either team will go undefeated in the postseason.

No is the minus-1,600 favorite ($1,600 to win $100), and yes is the plus-900 underdog ($100 to win $900).

The odds are the same in the Western Conference finals, with Golden State a minus-1,600 favorite over San Antonio (plus-900).

The Spurs routed the Rockets by 39 points in Thursday’s series-clinching victory without injured Kawhi Leonard, who is expected to play in Sunday’s opener in Oakland, California.

San Antonio will have the advantage over Golden State inside with 6-foot-11-inch LaMarcus Aldridge and 7-foot Pau Gasol, along with a big coaching edge in Gregg Popovich over Mike Brown. But without injured point guard Tony Parker and their best defender in Leonard banged up, the Spurs will be hard-pressed to slow the Warriors’ fantastic four of Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

“I don’t know who’s going to be guarding those guys,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “There’s only one Kawhi Leonard, and I don’t expect him to be 100 percent. And they’ve got all those weapons on the Warriors.

“It’s just such a difficult task at hand for this Spurs team. I’d be extremely surprised if they win two games. I expect them to come away with one win, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they get swept.”

Covering the spread is another matter. San Antonio, which opened the regular season with a 129-100 win at Golden State, opened as a 10½-point underdog in Sunday’s series opener. That’s the largest underdog role for the Spurs in 268 playoff games under Popovich, according to ESPN.

The Warriors failed to cover as 15½-point home favorites over the Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their first-round series and also didn’t cover as 13-point home chalk over the Jazz in Game 1 of their semifinal series.

“If there’s a game in Golden State that (the Warriors) might have some difficulty in, I think it’s this one,” Sherman said. “The Spurs are coming in with some momentum, with the way they shared the ball the last game. And sometimes Game 1 is a tricky spot for a team that’s been off for a while. But it wouldn’t surprise me either way.”

The Warriors are 8-0 straight up and 5-3 against the spread in the playoffs, winning by an average of 16.5 points with a 5-3 over-under record. Since suffering a 107-85 loss at San Antonio on March 11 while resting four starters, Golden State is 23-1.

Cleveland is 8-0 straight-up and 4-2-2 ATS, winning by an average of 9.6 points with a 6-2 over-under record. The Cavaliers haven’t lost ATS since failing to cover in their first two playoff games against the Pacers.

In the Eastern Conference finals, Sherman projects Cleveland as a minus-400 favorite over the Celtics — who would have home-court advantage — and as a minus-900 or minus-1,000 favorite over the Wizards. Washington tied the series with a 92-91 victory Friday, and Game 7 will be Monday in Boston.

“It would be a lot more competitive series than what we should see out West,” Sherman said. “Personally, I think Washington matches up better with Cleveland than Boston does. (Wizards guard) John Wall really exceeded my expectations to where he’s at now.

“The Celtics are so reliant on Isaiah Thomas. It’s going to be difficult for Boston with just him and the fringe around him to get past that Cleveland team.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-266-6080. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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