The 2018 NBA Finals are set. For the fourth straight season, the Golden State Warriors will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers. And just like they did last season when they took the series in five games, the oddsmakers in Las Vegas expect this to be a short series in favor of the Warriors. In fact, the Warriors are historically heavy favorites to win the title.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened Golden State as a -1,000 favorite to win the best-of-seven series, which tips off Thursday. The Warriors are the largest Finals favorites in at least 16 seasons, according to odds database Sportsoddshistory.com.
Cleveland opened as a +650 underdog against the Warriors in the series. The Cavaliers were around +360 underdogs against the San Antonio Spurs in 2007, James' first trip to the Finals.
In addition, the Warriors 12-point favorites in Game 1, which tips off on Thursday night. The Los Angeles Lakers were 12-point favorites in Game 1 of the 2001 Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers -- coincidentally that was the game Allen Iverson stepped over Tyronn Lue, now the Cavaliers head coach, in that infamous photo -- but no one else has been a bigger favorite for Game 1 of the Finals since 1991.
The Warriors opened as 12-point favorites in Game 1. That's tied for the largest point spread in a Finals game since 1991, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Los Angeles Lakers were 12-point favorites over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the 2001 Finals, a game won by the Sixers.
Of course, underdogs do win sometimes. Just look at the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL. However, these are some pretty steep odds the Cavaliers are facing. They'll need LeBron James to deliver some more historic performances if they want any hope of shocking the sports books.