Basketball’s biggest prize is getting closer to being claimed with this season’s NBA play-offs beginning on Saturday. From 14th April until 17th June, 16 teams will battle it out to appear in the NBA Finals and be named 2018 champions. There are eight from each the Western and Eastern Conferences including reigning winners Golden State Warriors, who have won the past three trophies.

It will be fascinating over the next couple of months to see if they have the quality to once again compete having finished second in the Western Conference. The Warriors begin against San Antonio Spurs, a basketball side that cannot be taken lightly.

Tipbet will be providing odds for each of the NBA playoff games to the end of the season and there are 30 markets for the champions’ first game. The head-to-head record from this season is 3-1 in the favour of Golden State but the most recent meeting was a win for Spurs, so it is not an easy prediction to make, though it remains to be seen if San Antonio, who finished seventh in the Western Conference, will have the belief or quality to beat the champions four times and advance to the semi-finals from the first round.

The first meeting is on Saturday (21:00 CET) at the Oracle Arena in California and the home side are 1.25 to take first blood in the playoffs. Their expected dominance is shown in the fact that they are also 2.50 to win with an 11.5-point handicap. Those backing Spurs, though, will find value at and they are at 3.75 for an away victory.

From the Eastern Conference, a relatively clear-cut first game between Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards is expected, with the Canadians 1.25 to come out on top. Washington are up against it at 3.75 and they finished eight, the final team to get into the end-of-season stage, while the Raptors were top.

Tipbet also have season bets on both Conferences, as well as the outright NBA winner. Golden State Warriors, given their recent pedigree, are 2.25 favourites and closely followed by Houston Rockets (2.55) – who finished above them – and Cleveland Cavaliers (8.25) from the Eastern Conference.

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