NBA Finals Primer: Warriors-Cavs III
Published on Friday, 5/26/17, at 1:26 p.m. Eastern.
With Cleveland (63-32 straight up, 44-47-4 against the spread) absolutely smashing the Celtics at TD Garden last night to send Boston into vacation, the rubber match between the Cavaliers and the Warriors is set as these two teams will meet in the NBA Finals for the third straight season.
The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened Golden State (79-15 SU, 48-43-3 ATS) as the -260 favorite to win the series. Gamblers can take the Cavs as +220 underdogs (risk $100 to win $220).
Golden St. is 12-0 SU and 8-4 ATS in the playoffs to date. The Warriors are in the midst of a 5-1 ATS run, while the ‘over’ has hit in their last five outings and is 9-3 in the postseason.
The Cavs are 12-1 SU and 8-4-1 ATS in the playoffs. The ‘over’ has cashed at a 9-4 clip.
The Warriors beat Cleveland 4-2 in the 2015 Finals, but the Cavs didn’t have Kevin Love in that series and Kyrie Irving also missed significant time due to a knee injury.
Then last year, Golden St. took a 3-1 series advantage and appeared poised to repeat as champs. But after Cleveland won Game 5, Draymond Green was suspended for Game 6. The Cavs would win the last three of the seven-game set, including a Game 7 thriller at Oracle Arena in Oakland. LeBron James had an epic blocked shot in the final minute before Irving delivered the dagger by draining an off-balance 3-pointer.
Much has changed for both teams since last year’s series. Golden St. no longer has Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa, Andrew Bogut or Harrison Barnes. Instead, the Warriors have Kevin Durant, David West, JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachlia. In other words, they’re much better now.
Cleveland lost Matthew Dellavedova, Mo Williams and Timofey Mozgov, replacing those players with Kyle Korver and Deron Williams. If Williams plays like he played last night (14 points, zero turnovers, 5-6 FGAs, 2-3 from 3-point land & 2-2 FTs) when he reminded fans of his days with the Utah Jazz, then the Cavs are better, too. I say that because we know Korver is one of the greatest 3-point shooters in NBA history. Therefore, whether he’s banging home 3-balls galore or not, his presence must be accounted for and helps spread the floor for Irving and LeBron to do their thing off of dribble penetration.
When these teams met on Christmas Day, Cleveland captured a 109-108 win as a four-point home underdog. The 217 combined points fell ‘under’ the 219.5-point total.
In the rematch at Oracle on Jan. 16, Golden St. coasted to a 126-91 win as a nine-point home ‘chalk.’ Thompson led the Warriors’ balanced offensive attack with a team-high 26 points.
The ‘under’ has cashed in three straight meetings between these clubs dating back to Game 7 of last year.
For Thursday’s Game 1 in Oakland, most books are listing the Warriors as seven-point favorites with a total of 225.5. The Cavs are +250 on the money line (risk $100 to win $250). Tip-off on ABC is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Here is the schedule for the Finals:
Date Away Home Time TV
June 1 Cavaliers at Warriors 9 p.m. ABC
June 4 Cavaliers at Warriors 8 p.m. ABC
June 7 Warriors at Cavaliers 9 p.m. ABC
June 9 Warriors at Cavaliers 9 p.m. ABC
June 12 Cavaliers at Warriors 9 p.m. ABC *
June 15 Warriors at Cavaliers 9 p.m. ABC*
June 18 Cavaliers at Warriors 8 p.m. ABC*
Here are the opening odds to win Finals MVP honors over at Sportsbook.ag:
LeBron James (Cavaliers) 39/20
Kevin Durant (Warriors) 2/1
Stephen Curry (Warriors) 9/4
Draymond Green (Warriors) 8/1
Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) 15/1
Kevin Love (Cavaliers) 25/1
Klay Thompson (Warriors) 25/1
Andre Iguodala (Warriors) 100/1
Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers) 150/1
JR Smith (Cavaliers) 200/1
Ian Clark (Warriors) 500/1
Kyle Korver (Cavaliers) 500/1
JaVale McGee (Warriors) 750/1
Deron Williams (Cavaliers) 1000/1
David West (Warriors) 1500/1
Zaza Pachulia (Warriors) 1500/1