The NBA Finals presents the same scenario as in 2013, when the San Antonio Spurs opened the series as slight favorites.
But seven games later, the Miami Heat held the NBA championship trophy, upset winners in 2013.
This year, the Spurs are favored again, both in the series and in Game 1 which creates some interesting angles and considerations for fans with bets on the NBA Finals.
The Heat have lost six straight games as road underdogs and are just 1-5 ATS in that time. Contrast that with San Antonio’s 7-0 SU and ATS streak when favored at home and you have a potential wager at -4.
But looking ahead to a series price bet, what is the most likely outcome? According to Topbet and some other shops, it’s the Spurs in seven games. That is currently a +290 wager.
The Heat winning in six games is next at +400, while the Spurs in six games is priced at +450.
A Miami sweep would pay out a whopping +1400 while a Spurs sweep is good for +1200.
2014 NBA Final Series Exact Result Prices:
Miami Heat vs San Antonio Spurs
Miami Heat in 4 +1400
Miami Heat in 5 +700
Miami Heat in 6 +400
Miami Heat in 7 +600
San Antonio Spurs 4 +1200
San Antonio Spurs 5 +550
San Antonio Spurs 6 +450
San Antonio Spurs 7 +290
American horse racing hasn't seen a Triple Crown champion in 35 years, but for the 13th time since then a horse – this one a Cinderella story from California Chrome – heads into the last of the Crown races, the Belmont Stakes, with a chance to add its name to the record books.
This year's Belmont Stakes betting party involves three tiers of betting; a big favorite, a short list of potential spoilers and a contingent of long shots. Here's how some Belmont Stakes betting odds looked as of early this week.
California Chrome has won his last six races. His last three times out he romped to victory in the Santa Anita Stakes back on April 5; then became the first Cal-bred to win the Kentucky Derby in over 50 years, besting a field of 19 back on May 3 at Churchill Downs.
And most recently he held off a field of 10 to win the Preakness Stakes May 17 at Pimlico.
Now he's faced with possibly his toughest task yet; going against a talented field that includes a couple sets of fresh legs in the longest run of his career, the mile-and-a-half Belmont.
As of early this week, online US racebooks had a price of +120 on California Chrome completing the Crown sweep with a victory in the Belmont.
Ride on Curlin, who finished a good second in the Preakness, was getting +800 at to win Saturday's Belmont Stakes.
Commanding Curve, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby at odds of 38/1, then skipped the Preakness, was getting +800 at some horse racing shops monitored by Odds Shark.
Tonalist is a newcomer to the Crown events, but owns a win on the Belmont track, in the Peter Pan Stakes three weeks ago. BetOnline was offering +850 on Tonalist to win the Belmont.
Wicked Strong won the Wood Memorial in come-from-behind fashion, then finished fourth in the Derby despite starting from the 19 hole. He'll also be ridden by New York-based jockey Rajiv Maragh, who very familiar with the Belmont track. Bovada was offering odds of 17/2 on Wicked Strong on its Belmont board.
Samraat began his career by winning his first five races, including his debut at Belmont back in October. He then finished second in the Wood and fifth in the Derby. He's getting 22/1 to win the Belmont at Bovada.
Finally, Social Inclusion, who finished third in both the Wood and the Preakness, was getting +3000 on TopBet's Belmont betting board.
The last horse to win the American Triple Crown remains Affirmed, who pulled the trick back in 1978.
The draw for post positions for the 146th running of the Belmont Stakes will take place Wednesday morning. The race itself is slated to go off at 6:52 pm ET Saturday, with NBC providing the live television coverage.
It’s less than three weeks until the cards will be in the air at the Rio in Las Vegas for the start of the 2014 World Series of Poker.
As usual, the WSOP gets underway with the local dealers' No Limit Hold’em tournament on May 27. After one of the dealers claps a WSOP bracelet around their wrist events will continue for nearly two months.
There are 65 events on the WSOP schedule this year, concluding with the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship Main Event, with many of the qualifiers earning their way into the tournament via online poker competitions.
This year’s Main Event gets underway on July 5. Last year’s Main Event drew 6,352 players and at least that many are expected to try their luck again this year.
The Main Event may begin in July, but once again this year the winner won’t be crowned until November. The final nine players won't bag up their chips until November 10 when the November Nine have a showdown for the big pot and the title of World Champion.
At Bovada, they’re slowly starting to roll out the WSOP betting odds with a few interesting prop bets available. Leading the list is the birth country of the main event winner.
The favorite in the category is the USA at -175, while the rest of the world is lumped in together at +135. Taking a chance on the rest of the world may be worth the risk though.
Americans have won the last two WSOP titles, including Michigan’s Ryan Riess, last year’s winner. However, before the back-to-back American champs, two international players were the last man standing with German Pius Heinz winning in ’11 and Canadian Jonathan Duhamel becoming the first Canuck champ in ’10.
Out of the last 10 WSOP champs, five were American and five were international players.
The WSOP props list also asks if a former winner will claim the prize again (yes +600/no -1200), if a female will make the final table (yes +900/no -2000), and how old the winner will be (27 years or older -140/ 26 years and 364 days and younger +100).
The chances of a former winner repeating are extremely low considering how large the field is in the tournament. In fact, a former winner hasn’t reclaimed the top prize since the late Stu Unger won his third WSOP title in 1997. That’s 17 years and counting.
The number of women in the WSOP field has been steadily growing over the years, but it hasn’t kept the final table from continually being an all-boys club. Only one female player has ever made the final table – Barbara Enright in 1995.
On the last prop, the age of the 2014 WSOP champ, it should come as no surprise that under 27 is an EVEN money favorite.
The WSOP main event has become a young man’s event in recent years. The last six champions were all 25 years old or younger and someone older than 27 hasn’t won since Jerry Yang’s big win in 2007 at the ripe old age of 39.
Coming into the postseason, the Miami Heat were 2/1 favorites to win the NBA championship with Indiana and San Antonio considered to be two of their biggest threats.
With those two teams struggling with their first-round matchups, Miami looks like an even stronger favorite at 7/4 to win it all on the latest NBA future odds lists at OddsShark.com.
San Antonio trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter of Game 1 against Dallas before going on a 15-0 run to win the game. But the Spurs were down big again in Game 2, and couldn't mount the comeback in a shocking 113-92 home loss to the Mavericks.
After being dominated through most of the first two games of the series, those looking to bet on NBA action have seen San Antonio fall from 3/1 to 11/4 to win the NBA championship in 2014.
Indiana's stock also took a hit this week as the Pacers split their first two games against Atlanta and appeared to have matchup issues with Roy Hibbert against Atlanta's speed. The Pacers have fallen from 6/1 to win the championship down to 15/2.
While San Antonio and Indiana have seen their odds get adjusted slightly due to splitting their first two games at home, two home teams dropped both of their first games at home and have seen their stocks plummet because of it.
The Houston Rockets entered the playoffs going off at 20/1 to win the NBA championship, but those odds are now down to 50/1 as the Portland Trail Blazers have won the first two games of the series in Houston.
Portland appears to be peaking at the right time with an 11-1 SU and 8-4 ATS record over its last 12 games, and is up to 20/1 after starting the playoffs at 40/1 to win the title.
Out East, the Chicago Bulls were 40/1 to win the championship, but they are all the way down to 150/1 after losing the first two games of the series to Washington. The Wizards are up to 66/1 from 150/1 and are 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games against Chicago.
Rounding out the remaining teams fighting for the title are Oklahoma City (4/1), Los Angeles (9/1), Brooklyn (25/1), Golden State (40/1), Memphis (66/1), Toronto (66/1), Dallas (75/1), Atlanta (250/1) and Charlotte (1000/1).
See the latest updates and matchups and NBA betting trends on every game at NBA-Odds.com .
Entering the final month of the season, Juventus look poised to claim their third straight Serie A championship.
With many key Juventus members also on the Azzuri at World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Italians are hoping Juventus success breeds World Cup success.
Dominant in league play, 16-3-1 SU in their last 20 games, Juventus have fallen short in international competitions; finishing eighth in the International Champions Cup, and getting eliminated in the Group Stage of UEFA Champions League competition by Galatasaray.
Juventus’ most difficult test of the season may come this week, as they face Benefica in the UEFA Europa League semifinal. [ Serie A betting odds, matchup reports ]
While Juventus is a -220 favorite to get past Benefica and a -110 favorite to win the Europa League title, Italian soccer fans may be more concerned about the impact of Juventus veterans on the nation’s fortunes at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The Juventus roster currently includes as many as nine players who could don the Azzurro Savoia for Italy. Italy’s Juventus contingent is led by goalkeeper Gigi Buffon. Captain of both Juve and the Italian national team, Buffon was the hero of Italy’s 2006 World Cup win.
However, an injury limited Buffon to just 45 minutes of action in 2010, when the Italians entered the tourney at 14-1 but were eliminated in the Group Stage after failing to record a win.
Going into this year’s World Cup, Italy is positioned outside the group of favorites, sporting odds of 22-1 to win their fifth title. Italy’s World Cup effort will be bolstered by Juventus defenders Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, who was anointed as the world’s seventh best footballer in a recent Top 50 list.
Juventus will not be contributing any players pegged as favorites to lead the World Cup in goals scored. The only Italians sporting odds to be top scorer are Mario Balotelli of AC Milan at 33-1, Giuseppe Rossi of ACF Fiorentina at 66-1 and Alberto Gilardino of Genoa CFC at 80-1.
However, Juventus will be providing the services of one of the game’s best at free kicks. Nicknamed “l’architetto” (The Architect), Andrea Pirlo is also regarded as one of the best passers in the game.
Pirlo, who turns 35 in May, has one goal and three assists in two World Cup tournaments, and one goal and five assists in 10 World Cup qualifying matches dating back to last season.
For Italy’s odds to win the World Cup and updated future lines on all 32 nations taking part in Brazil 2014, check out WorldCupOdds.net.
He breezed through the Santa Anita Derby and breezed to the top of Kentucky Derby future odds list.
Now California Chrome appears set to go off as the prohibitive morning line favorite when the 2014 edition of the Run For the Roses goes May 3. He was 7/4 this week, down from 3/1 just a week ago.
Danza and Wicked Strong are the next two betting choices and they offer horse betting value. Danza won the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park in a surprise performance which moved him up to 8/1.
The Todd Pletcher trainee looks to break a dreadful 1-for-36 mark for Pletcher in the Derby.
Vicars In Trouble is next in the list of top Kentucky Derby contenders and he is currently 10/1 odds. Hoppertunity is next at 14/1 and Dane With Fate and Wildcat Red are both 16/1.
Current Kentucky Derby odds from Bovada
California Chrome 7/4
Wicked Strong 8/1
Vicars In Trouble 10/1
Dance With Fate 16/1
Wildcat Red 16/1
Intense Holiday 20/1
Social Inclusion 20/1
Candy Boy 25/1
General A Rod 25/1
Ride On Curlin 25/1
Ring Weekend 25/1
Medal Count 33/1
Strong Mandate 33/1
We Miss Artie 33/1
Uncle Sigh 40/1
Noble Moon 50/1
Tap It Rich 50/1
Watch for Derby line updates and the selections of the final remaining spots in the field of 20 horses.