Today’s Hot Plays
Cleveland Cracks First
In the cross-country battle that’s being waged by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors as they head towards the NBA Finals, it was the Cavaliers who cracked first. With both teams having won their first ten games of the postseason, Golden State held serve on the road in Game 3 at San Antonio, but Cleveland could not do the same on their home floor against Boston last night. The Cavs coughed up a 21-point lead and lost 111-108, a game they were a (-16.5) favorite.
No one is under any illusion that this is going to slow Cleveland’s march to the Finals, but that doesn’t mean we can just dismiss it as an embarrassment. Basketball bettors have been preparing for the anticipated Warriors-Cavs Finals matchup all season and information gathered now matters a great deal. So, was last night’s lost just a little embarrassing hiccup or is it a sign that the Cavs are clearly not in Golden State’s class?
Critics of the Cavaliers will point to the supposedly easier road that they’ve had in the Eastern Conference. While no one can dispute that the West is, top-to-bottom, the superior conference, Golden State’s playoff road has not been harder than Cleveland’s.
The Milwaukee Brewers Surprise The Market
In a season of pleasant surprises in major league baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers are certainly near the top of the list. The money standings bear that out—the Brewers have netted a $1,090 profit for the season, a figure that’s second only to the Colorado Rockies. That’s an impressive profit margin by any standard and even more so when the actual W-L record on the field is a good-but-not-great 25-19.
It’s enough to have the Brewers in first place, holding slim leads on teams vastly more accomplished and respected in the betting market in the Cardinals and Cubs. It will come as no surprise to learn that the market isn’t ready to consider Milwaukee a legit contender in the NL Central—Chicago remains the heavy 1-4 favorite, with St. Louis at 3-1. What is at least noteworthy is that the Brewers’ price of 20-1 keeps them much closer to the Reds (25-1) and Pirates (35-1).
That essentially tells us that Las Vegas doesn’t see this Milwaukee team a whole lot differently than at the start of the year. That lack of respect is going to show up in moneylines on a nightly basis, which means that as baseball handicappers we have to make a hard-nosed assessment of whether the market is right.
The case against the Brewers might run thusly—they’re offensive production is being driven mostly by players who have next to no major league track record. Before this year had anyone heard of Eric Thames (.429 on-base percentage/.664 slugging percentage), a 30-year-old first baseman who had spent the last five years in the minor leagues? Certainly no one who had heard of him thought he’d be an MVP candidate as the calendar approaches Memorial Day.
Warriors finish off Spurs behind Curry's 36
SAN ANTONIO -- The celebration was subdued on Monday after Golden State made history in its four-game sweep of the San Antonio Spurs in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.
Versatile D-backs aim to wax White Sox again
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks will try to continue their mastery of interleague play Tuesday night when they play the middle game of a three-game series with the Chicago White Sox.