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by ASA - 05/04/2017
We hope you had the opportunity to read our Playoff article before the post-season began and how efficiency ratings helped predict the eventual NBA Champions. In short, teams that win NBA Championships, historically must rank in the top 11 of the league in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency ratings in the regular season. Teams that have accomplished this feat have won the past eight Titles.
So now that the playoffs are underway and even the casual fans are paying attention, is there any value on making a futures wager? The clear choice right now by many is the 6-0 Cleveland Cavaliers who are cruising through the East right now. You can bet the Cavs at 5-2 to win in all in 2017 but we won't bite! The reasons are obvious in our opinion as the Cavs are fool's gold and we won't be suckered into this proposition. We were not impressed with Cleveland's first round series win over a subpar Pacers team that was just 42-40 SU on the regular season. Versus the Pacers the Cavs went 4-0 and had a positive overall point differential of plus +6.5PP. In comparison that number is drastically lower than the Warriors +18PPG differential over a similar team to Indiana in Portland. Cleveland has dominated Toronto in the first two games of their second round series but let's face it, the Raptors looked horrible in a few games against the Bucks in the first round and the Cavs have dominated them the past two years. Not to mention, the Raptors limped into the post-season with a 10-10 SU record and really aren't playing well right now. In fact, we'll even go as far to say we expect the Cavs to sweep this series and we still won't wager on them to win it all in 2017.
Cleveland was bad defensively all season long and they haven't been any better in the playoffs. During the regular season the Cavs ranked 21st in (DEFF) defensive efficiency ratings allowing 1.104 points per possession. In comparison, last year when they won a Championship they ranked 10th and allowed just 1.045PPP. Thus far in the playoffs, in four games against Indiana (15th in the NBA in offensive efficiency so average) and two games against Toronto (6th OEFF) they are allowing 1.111 points per possession which is WORSE than their regular season average! So they can say they are going to 'turn it on' in the post-season but in reality that hasn't happened. So when it comes to the Finals, when they have to play the best offensive team (Warriors) in the league, they won't be able to just 'flip the switch' on the defensive end of the court. Golden State plays on both ends of the floor and will eventually be the Champions in 2017. Another indicator here is the price on this wager. Prior to the start of the playoffs the Cavaliers were 5-2 to win it all and that number hasn't moved even after a 6-0 start. It would be easy to get caught up in all the hype surrounding the Cavaliers and LeBron but don't get fooled into making that futures bet. My money is on the Golden State Warriors!
Best of luck with all your wagers moving forward in the Playoffs!