Pelicans vs. Warriors Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals

pelicans-warriors-2018-playoffs-oddsThe New Orleans Pelicans whipped through their first-round playoff matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers. No. 6 New Orleans pulled off a surprising sweep of the Blazers and are now locked in a semifinals series with the No. 2 Golden State Warriors.

Predictably, their first game at Oracle Arena wasn’t as easy as their contests against Portland. They dropped the game by a score of 123-101. Now the Pelicans will regroup and try to bring the same fire they did against the Trail Blazers.

But New Orleans will have an even tougher time, given that Steph Curry is expected to take the court for Game 2. Curry has been out since late March with an MCL sprain and will try to shake off the rust tomorrow night against the Pelicans.

The last time that the two-time NBA MVP had a long layoff before returning to the playoffs, he scored 40 points against Portland in a 132-125 victory. For good measure, Curry also grabbed nine rebounds and delivered eight assists.

Fellow Golden State star Kevin Durant looks forward to seeing his teammate back on the court.

“He loves the game just as much as anybody I ever been around and I know he wants to play. I’ve just been thinking about that, just worrying about how he feels not playing,” Durant said.

“Excited for him to get back just to be in a place where he enjoys most, which is playing ball, and the other stuff, we’ll figure it out. But I’m more so excited as his brother that he’s out there, he gets to play basketball, something that he loves to do.”

With another game at Oracle and Curry returning, the odds are stacked against New Orleans more than ever before. And you can see this reflected in our GTBets odds below.

Can the Pelicans shock people and even up the series, or at least play well enough to cover the spread? Find out as I discuss both teams’ prospects in Game 2 of this Western Conference semifinals series.

Warriors Pelicans Odds – 2018 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals Game 2, May 1 at 10:35pm

  • New Orleans +10.5 (-109) / +550 moneyline
  • Golden State -10.5 (-109)/ -755 moneyline
  • Over/under 226.5 (-109)

Why the New Orleans Pelicans Will Cover +10.5

New Orleans struggled to continue the same offensive dominance against Golden State. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that they still have four skilled veterans who can score.

Everything starts with forward Anthony Davis who’s averaging over 30 points in the playoffs. He wasn’t as dynamic against the Warriors in Game 1. But The Brow still put up a solid state line with 21 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

Jrue Holiday had been on fire after torching Portland. But Golden State cooled him down. Nevertheless, Holiday is still averaging 24.4 PPG in the postseason.

Rajon Rondo has upped his game in the playoffs as usual. He’s averaging 10.6 PPG and giving the Pelicans gritty defense. Sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic remains a threat from anywhere on the court, and he’s averaging 16.4 PPG in the postseason.

New Orleans plays at the league’s fastest pace, with 102.73 possessions per game. This is even quicker than the Warriors, who ranked fifth with 101.5.

The Pelicans are one of the few teams in the NBA that can keep up with Golden State. And Warriors guard Klay Thompson discussed how tough it is to compete against this New Orleans squad.

“Man, it was tiring,” Thompson said. “The Spurs (first-round opponent), they are a little older, so they play a little more methodical. They try to beat us up in the half court and low block. This team is kind of like playing ourselves.

“It’s like, you make a bucket, you can’t relax. You have to sprint back, find a shooter and they are pushing the tempo. It’s a whole different ballgame.”

The Pelicans are up against a seemingly impossible task. They face a team with the NBA’s best offensive rating (112.3) and a strong defense. But they have enough star power, and a lightning fast pace that can give Golden State trouble.

Pelicans Playoffs ATS Record: 4-1 overall; 2-1 on the road

Why the Golden State Warriors Will Cover -10.5

durant-warriors-pelicans-oddsMissing Steph Curry hasn’t slowed the Warriors down too much so far. Kevin Durant is leading the charge with 27.8 PPG, while Klay Thompson has proven a worthy sidekick with 23.3 PPG. Even Shaun Livingston has stepped up his game with 9.5 PPG.

Then there’s the ultimate utility man in Draymond Green, who played a fantastic all-around game against San Antonio. Green is leading the team in rebounds (11.8), assists (8.5), steals (1.7), and blocks (1.2) in the postseason.

“Draymond is going to guard everybody,” said Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. “He started on Davis, but when (Looney) came in to guard Davis, Draymond slid over to (Rajon) Rondo. You know how Draymond is. He wants to be in the fray and he wants to be in the middle of the floor.

“Middle of the action, I should say. We’re going to put him on people that are going to be in the middle of the action and probably not guys who are spotting up and shooting, so that he can make an impact.”

Golden State has proven very tough to score on. Holiday is a perfect example, because he couldn’t find his shot with Durant draped on him. He also faced Iguodala, Kevon Looney, Klay Thompson en route to 11 points on just 4-for-16 shooting. Holiday was particularly stifled by Durant, finishing 1-for-9 when guarded by the 7-footer.

“Well, Holiday has been really, really good, in that last series and late in the year so he was a priority for us for sure,” Kerr said. “I thought Kevin’s size factored in and Kevin did a great job on him.”

Golden State also did a good job of throwing different looks at Mirotic. In Game 2, Livingston, Thompson, Looney, and Green all harassed Mirotic into 3-of-9 shooting.

With everybody on their game and Curry coming back, it doesn’t seem like Golden State will have too much trouble winning Game 2. The only question is how much they’ll win by.

Warriors Playoffs ATS Record: 4-2 overall; 3-1 at home

Final Thoughts on Warriors and Pelicans Odds

New Orleans has been a feel-good story so far. They’re the lowest seeded team remaining in the playoffs. And it’s no secret that many fans would love to see this David topple Goliath, especially considering the success that the Warriors have had in the past few years.

But Golden State likely won’t face any serious challenge if/until they play the Houston Rockets next round. They don’t have much to worry about at home. But maybe New Orleans can give them a serious run at the Smoothie King Center in Game 3.

Final Score Prediction: Golden State wins 117-106 – Warriors cover -10.5 spread

Victor Oladipo and the 3-Pointer that Cost Vegas Millions

victor-oladipo-three-pointer-sportsbooksThe Indiana Pacers came up just short in their first-round playoffs series against the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James torched them for 45 points in what would be the difference maker in a 105-101 loss. But maybe Indiana can find some solace through an interesting story involving Victor Oladipo.

The Pacers guard hit a three-pointer as time ran out. The shot was virtually meaningless, other than to make the score closer. But it has special significance from a betting perspective. Specifically, it caused a multimillion-dollar swing at Vegas sportsbooks.

Oladipo’s Three Helps Pacers Cover Game 7 Spread

victor-oladipo-three-pointer-sportsbooks-1Many Vegas and online sportsbooks opened their Game 7 line with the Cleveland Cavaliers as a 6.5-point favorite. This is understandable, given that James hasn’t lost a first-round playoff series in 13 years, and he was playing at home.

Regardless, people were taking the Pacers at -6.5. This caused most land-based and online sportsbooks to close the Cavs’ line at either 5.5 or 5 points.

Both of these turned out to be losing propositions. Oladipo’s last-second three-pointer helped Indiana close the gap to 105-101. This meant that the Pacers covered their spread anyway you slice it.

How Oladipo’s 3-Pointer Happened

Cleveland point guard George Hill was fouled with six seconds to go in the ballgame. And he made his first free throw to give the Cavaliers a 105-98 lead. This basically iced the game, because it meant that Indiana would need the impossible task of scoring three times in six seconds to win.

Nevertheless, Victor Oladipo wasn’t ready to give up yet. Hill missed the second free throw and Oladipo rebounded it. He then dribbled up the court and hit a wide-open three-pointer to close the game.

Sportsbooks Lost Millions on Oladipo’s Three

vegas-sportsbooks-lose-oladipoFew people feel sorry for the sportsbooks when they lose big. And it appears that Vegas did lose big when Oladipo nailed the three.

According to ESPN’s David Purdum and Darren Rovell, the sportsbooks were seeing a lot of action on Indiana. And this came back to burn them when the Cavs didn’t cover.

“It was probably a swing of $3 million to $5 million in Nevada,” said Johnny Avello, who runs the Wynn’s sportsbook. “These types of things happen five or more times a week in our industry, whether it’s a two-run home run to cover the run line in the bottom of the ninth or an empty-net goal in the last minute of an NHL game.”

Westgate assistant manager Ed Salmons was bold enough to throw his support behind Cleveland before the game.

“We need the Cavs,” Salmons said. “The smart money was on the Pacers.”

The ESPN column also points out how William Hill Nevada saw 70 percent of the point spread money put on Indiana. This means that William Hill took a healthy loss here, because they couldn’t balance both sides of the line.

Scott Shelton, who supervises the Mirage sportsbook, said that his company was in a strange position. Indiana covering the spread meant that the Mirage suffered a five-figure loss. But if the Pacers had won the series, then Mirage would’ve booked a six-figure profit.

The good news for online and Vegas sportsbooks is that we’re still relatively early in the 2018 NBA Playoffs. That said, they have more than enough time left to recoup their losses and win money.

Chiefs Trading CB Marcus Peters to Rams

marcus-peters-tradeThe Kansas City Chiefs have a deal in the works to trade cornerback Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams. Peters is one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks, but he’s also caused some drama in Kansas City.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the deal is nearing completion and should be agreed upon by both teams. However, the trade can’t officially be finalized until March 14, which is considered the first day of the league’s year.

Why are the Chiefs Trading Marcus Peters?

As good as Peters may be, he’s also had his share of on-field problems. In a game against the New York Jets last season, he threw an official’s flag into the stands and left the field, because he thought he’d been ejected.

When Peters found out that he wasn’t ejected, he returned to the field without any socks on. The 2-time Pro Bowler was suspended for a game afterward for a combination of this incident, and an argument with head Coach Andy Reid on the way to the airport before the game.

Marcus PetersDespite the suspension, Peters came back the next game against the Rams and played excellent. His two interceptions helped the team win and clinch the AFC West title.

He also drew heat from Chiefs fans for sitting during the national anthem throughout the entire 2017 season. When asked to explain his reasoning during an interview with the Kansas City Star, he said the following:

“I’m an American, bruh. I’m an African-American that was born in this wonderful country that we all can live in. How about we start all protecting each (expletive) other and come together, you feel me? It will be better for it.”

What are LA and Kansas City Getting in This Trade?

Los Angeles will likely lose cornerback Trumaine Johnson in free agency. That said, they’ll be looking for another elite cornerback to fill this space on their defense. And the trade for Peters will do exactly this.

Peters himself should enjoy the move too, because he won’t be far from his hometown of Oakland, California. And given that Kansas City has been very active on the trade market – they dealt quarterback Alex Smith already – they’ll have no trouble also dealing their star cornerback.

The compensation that L.A. is sending back hasn’t been announced yet. But NFL Media’s Rapoport reports that the team will most likely get draft picks and/or a player in return.

Rapoport believes that the possible player could be outside linebacker Robert Quinn. Quinn had 8.5 sacks for the Rams last year, which pushed his career tally up to 62.5.

Regarding the draft picks, it’s unclear exactly how high these will be. But gaining Quinn along with one or more middle-round picks for Peters wouldn’t be a bad deal.

Chiefs should Have a New Look Next Season

Even after dealing Peters, Kansas City should still have a very strong defense. But many will be interested to see if their offense improves or regresses next season, based on Smith being dealt.

Smith is a veteran who started for the team the past two seasons. By dealing him, Kansas City is ushering in the the future with second-year QB Patrick Mahomes.

The 10th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Mahomes certainly isn’t short on confidence. In fact, he claims that he has an even stronger arm than Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen.

“I’ve seen these things with Josh, but I’m going to say I believe I have the stronger arm,” Mahomes told the KC Star. “I’ve never seen anyone throw harder than me with the football. Until I see it in person, I believe I have the stronger arm.”

He added, “The furthest I have even thrown the ball was 85 yards. But I had a little wind at my back, so I don’t claim that one. At my Pro Day, I threw it like 80 if it was windy, but I didn’t throw it as good as I could have. It was wobbling.”

The Chiefs will also return second-year running back Kareem Hunt, who rushed for 1,327 yards and added another 455 receiving yards. This helped him earn Pro Bowl top honors as a rookie.

Add in explosive wide receiver Tyreke Hill, and the team could have one of the best offenses in the league. But much of this will depend upon how Mahomes performs in his first year as a starter.

Study: Twitter Is Secret to Winning Live Wagering

live-wagering-soccerNew research shows that Twitter activity can help bettors successfully win profits with live wagering.

The study, which was conducted by the UK’s University of East Anglia (UEA), discovered that the positive tone of tweets can indicate which team is more likely to cover live soccer wagers.

According to UEA’s website, researchers poured over 13.8 million tweets during the English Premier League season. They then compared these tweets to live wagering prices at a leading online sportsbook.

The university discovered that if the combined tone on Twitter was positive for a specific team, then they’re more likely to produce a successful live bet.

Tweets are especially helpful after a red card has been issued or a goal has been scored. The tone from this content can help assess the implications moving forward in a match.

UEA Wanted to Measure Forecasting Ability of Social Media

uea-uk-study-sports-bettingVarious firms are already using social media as a way to forecast future results. And the university wanted to determine the accuracy of social media as a forecasting tool. They accomplished this by measuring the aggregate tone for all tweets surrounding each EPL team.

The research has been published in the journal Economic Inquiry, and it was carried out by Dr Alasdair Brown, UEA’s School of Economics, and colleagues from the Universities of Dundee and Reading, and Birkbeck, University of London.

Dr. Brown, who’s a senior economics lecturer, told UEA the following:

“The modern forecaster has a number of tools at their disposal. In particular, prediction markets and social media have proved extremely popular.

“We know that prediction markets, such as Betfair, generally lead to accurate forecasts, and outperform individual experts and polls in many settings. However, we wanted to find out if social media has anything to add. Can we combine probability forecasts from prediction markets with social media output to improve our predictions?

“We find that Twitter activity predicts match outcomes, after controlling for betting market prices. Much of the predictive power of social media presents itself just after significant market events, such as goals and red cards, where the tone of Tweets can help in the interpretation of information.

“In short, social media activity does not just represent sentiment or misinformation. If sensibly aggregated it can, when combined with a prediction market, help to improve forecast accuracy.”

More on the Live Betting Findings

epl-live-wageringThe UEA team used a number of betting strategies to determine the degree to which social media can predict live wagering outcomes. Using a strategy that factors in sportsbook commissions and uses the positive tone on specific teams, UEA earned an average profit of 2.28% on 903,821 bets.

This is a very impressive when considering that the average online better loses 5.41% on EPL live wagering (according to UEA research).

Dr. Brown said these are significant returns when considering the size of the EPL market and the volatile nature of live betting.

The only goal that the study didn’t accomplish is determining if tweets are helpful before a goal is scored. UEA was unable to find a correlation between a positive Twitter tone and making successful bets prior to a goal being scored.

Twitter Is a Very Helpful Live Wagering Predictor

“These results fit in with recent evidence that social media content can be useful as a forecasting tool,” Brown said. “For example, there is evidence that social media output, both on Twitter and on financial message boards, predicts future stock returns.

“At first glance this may be surprising, as we might think that an individual in possession of valuable information would bet or trade first, and post later. However, if we think that valuable information is dispersed among a number of individuals, then we might understand why social media content leads market prices, as it does in this study and elsewhere.”

Dr James Reade, an economics expert who co-authored the study, also spoke about the findings.

“This is a real ‘wisdom of crowds’ kind of outcome,” said Reade. “It says that if we listen to the right parts of the crowd, we can gain more information and make better predictions.

“It’s great for football fans, who always want to know what others think of their team. Betting prices, allied with the general mood on Twitter, can give a really accurate picture of where a match is going, in real time.”

Game of Thrones Betting Destroyed by Episode Leaks

game-of-thrones-betting-leaksOnline sportsbooks have done very well with prop bets on the HBO show Game of Thrones. However, Game of Thrones betting has essentially been destroyed by the recent episode leaks.

HBO has been victimized by cyber attacks recently. And this led to script leaks of Games of Thrones’ fourth episode, Spoils of War, and fifth episode, Eastwatch.

This obviously ruined prop bets such as “who will die next” or “who will kill Cersei [Lannister].” And this has led to many online betting sites canceling their odds on Game of Thrones Season 7.

One of the few wagers that hasn’t been ruined by the episode leaks is who’ll sit on the Iron Throne at the end of Season 7. The Iron Throne is for the ruler of the kingdom Westeros, which has driven many of the show’s plots thus far.

How Game of Thrones Odds are Made

Pat Morrow, a head oddsman at a leading internet sportsbook, spoke with Business Insider on the matter. Morrow and other oddsmakers have been tasked with creating unique bets for Game of Thrones. He personally came up with the idea to create prop bets on the show after watching its popularity soar on Twitter.

game-of-thronesMorrow spoke with Business Insider on other factors that go into making lines for the show. Here’s what he had to say:

“There are a lot of different things that drive it. Part of it, I’d say the last couple of seasons — before the TV show not just caught up with the book, but then passed it — I was able to work off of book knowledge. After the fact it was the combination of not just my own knowledge, but also scouring the internet for the best fan theories, and trying to separate the ones that sound fun, and the ones that seem to be a bit more credible.

“And then of course, the last part is profiling. I often use this example, especially when we’re talking about an entertainment setting like this, but someone betting — whether it’s Los Angeles, or someone’s betting from a part of the world were we know they’re filming this, we would take a wager like that much more seriously than we would of someone betting in Iowa City.

“And that’s not to bemoan the great people of Iowa City, but as far as I know, they’re not doing any filming there. So, there’s not the kind of hard math that we prefer to use when we deal with sporting events.”

Most of the lines that sportsbooks have offered on the show are serious bets. But there’s also the occasional long-shot bet that’s offered purely for fun.

“Last season, we put Hodor up on the Iron Throne at 5,000 to 1, and took a few bets for that because we thought we’d have a laugh,” said Morrow.

“And I guess it was worth it for the pay out as well. We tried to post more serious stuff this year. But unfortunately those leaks have hampered us a little bit.”

Other Sources have Crushed the Game of Thrones Betting Industry

frikidoctor-game-of-thronesWhile the episode leaks certainly hurt Game of Thrones betting, other sources have also revealed crucial plot details. This includes a YouTuber who gave away so many details about the first four episodes that sportsbooks chose to remove some/all of their odds.

“He’s not revealing his sources,” Morrow explained, “but as a result, based on his YouTube channel, the entire season has kind of been spoiled, so it’s forced us to pull everything down for the remainder of the season.”

Morrow didn’t offer up the YouTuber’s name. But Business Insider speculates that it could be Frikidoctor. In this case, the source of the leaks is unknown because Frikdoctor won’t divulge this information.

Is Game of Thrones Betting Finished Forever?

Game of Thrones is set for an eighth installment after Season 7 ends. But will all betting lines on the show cease to exist?

Not quite. Morrow said that his sportsbook plans to fix the issue. They’ll release odds on Season 8 immediately after the seventh season ends.

eddard-stark-oddsObviously this limits what sportsbooks can do with Game of Thrones in the future. But betting sites should still have plenty of props to offer based on the final events of Season 7.

Many of these props will likely deal with the deaths of specific characters. After all, Game of Thrones has become famous for killing off popular characters at any moment. Perhaps the best example is Eddard Stark, who was killed towards the end of Season 1.

Eddard was a noble person who seemed like he’d be a major character throughout the show. However, he was executed in Episode 9 of Season 1, much to the shock of Game of Thrones fans.

Cavs vs Celtics Odds – Does Boston’s Game 3 Win Mean Anything?

cavs-celtics-game-4-oddsGame 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals was going about how people expected. The Cleveland Cavaliers were leading 77-56 midway through the third quarter, dominating the Celtics again on the heels of a 44-point victory.

Then Marcus Smart started heating up…

Normally known for his defense and hustle, Smart scored 27 points on 7-of-10 three-point shooting while starting in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas.

Smart’s production was much needed on a night when most of Boston’s players didn’t shoot great. But the supporting cast did enough in other areas to help Boston book a 111-108 victory.

Now the question remains, does this win mean anything moving forward? Or is it just one win that delays the inevitable? Let’s answer these questions below while previewing Game 4 of the Celtics-Cavs matchup.

Game 4: Cavs vs Celtics Odds (from GTBets.eu)

  • Point Spread: Boston +14.5 (-110) at Cleveland -14.5 (-110)
  • Money Line: Boston +1200 at Cleveland -2000
  • Over/Under: 215 (-110)
  • Game Time: May 23 at 8:30pm EST (Cavs lead series 2-1)

Celtics are Still Big Underdogs

marcus-smart-cavs-celticsBoston put everything they had into Game 3, and it resulted in an unlikely victory. There were several heroes in this game, including Smart, Avery Bradley (20 points, game winner), Jae Crowder (14 points, 11 rebounds), and Jonas Jerebko (10 points in 12 minutes).

“Pride, freedom and desperation, that’s what happened,” Kyrie Irving said of his opponents’ performance. “They played with it all. [Smart] got comfortable, and we let him.”

Despite the big win, nobody is penciling Boston in as favorites for Game 4. In fact, they’re a big underdog here at GTBets.eu at +14.5.

While it’s impressive that Boston was able to steal one in Cleveland, the fact remains that they’ll play the rest of the series without their best player and were battered by 44 points in Game 2. Given everything going against the Celtics, they’ll need to continue pulling magic out of their leprechaun hats to stay in this series.

LeBron James Had His Worst Playoff Performance

Irving and Kevin Love certainly did their part in Game 3, scoring 29 points and 28 points respectively. Kyrie was 10-of-15 from the field, while Love shot a blistering 7-for-13 from beyond the arc.

But the biggest downfall for Cleveland is that LeBron James just couldn’t find the basket. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting. Throw in 6 turnovers, and this was easily one of James’ worst playoff games ever.

Don’t expect this to happen again, though, given that LBJ has been amazing in every other postseason contest so far.

“LeBron has been consistent in his bounce-back attitude since Miami,” teammate James Jones said regarding LeBron. “He doesn’t change for us. I know he’s going to come into the facility [Monday] upbeat, like the loss helps us on this process.”

Can Smart Keep This Up?

As covered earlier, Marcus Smart had the playoff game of his life. He jolted this team to life with several three-pointers in the second half and also dished out 7 assists.

Nobody expects this kind of production out of Smart on a nightly basis. But with Thomas sidelined for the year with a hip injury, don’t be surprised to see his usage elevated.

We don’t expect any more 7-for-10 three-point performances again. However, Smart should continue scoring more for this shorthanded team.

Cavs Bench Needs to Play Better

A huge difference between the Cavs and Celtics was the play of their bench. Boston got 32 points from a combination of six players, while Cleveland got just 9 points from four bench players. What’s worse is that the Cavs reserves were a combined 3-of-14 shooting.

For the most part, Cleveland’s bench has been good. And they’ll certainly need more than what they delivered in Game 3.

What to Expect the Rest of the Way

Technically, the Celtics are back in this series. And coach Brad Stevens will continue using his best defensive lineups since they lack firepower without Thomas.

Smart and Bradley are an excellent defensive backcourt. Throw in Crowder’s defense at small forward, and it’s tougher for James and Irving to get shots any time they want.

Cleveland played a poor defensive game, as opposed to the excellent defense they’ve been playing since the Raptors series. Odds are that this is a fluke and we’ll see a much-more focused team in Game 4. James said as much himself during the post-game press conference.

“Let’s get back to playing desperate basketball,” he said. “and let all the narrative stop.”

With the Warriors trying for a sweep of the Spurs, don’t count on Cleveland giving Boston any more chances to extend this series.