NBA Finals 2016 Prediction
NBA Finals Betting Lines & Preview
Golden State Warriors (-210) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (+180)
After the regular season the Golden State Warriors had, it’s a testament to the progress the Cleveland Cavaliers made that they are only a +180 in this series. It’s also a sign of how much the Warriors have struggled in recent weeks, falling behind the Oklahoma City Thunder 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals, before raging back to earn an NBA Finals bid in imperfect fashion.
The Cavaliers are shooting the lights out from downtown right now, with J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson are all shooting better than 45 percent from beyond the arc, and Kevin Love isnt far behind.
If they can keep up this level of shooting, with LeBron James playing like LeBron James, they can absolutely upset the Warriors. But the Warriors’ defense will be better than anything they faced through the first three rounds of the playoffs. They are more suffocating on the perimeter—better equipped with Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston and Draymond Green to harrass long distance shooters.
More harrowing, it may not matter. Everything could go right for the Cavaliers. They could continue torching twine from the outside. James could explode for near triple-doubles on a nightly basis. Smith could continue playing solid defense. Love’s pick-and-roll prevention could prove adequate.
All of that could happen, and the Warriors might still win. That’s how good they are this season. They beat the Thunder without ever really piecing together a full 48 minutes of trademark basketball.
What happens if they get going in the NBA Finals, on the league’s biggest stage, facing the highest of stakes, just as they eventually did against Okalhoma City? What happens if Stephen Curry has more nights like Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals? What happens if Green finds his shot? What happens if Harrison Barnes stops disappearing on the offensive end for possessions, quarters and games at a time?
So much of what has been wrong with the Warriors is the result of their own struggles. The Thunder played them well, but many of their errors were unforced. They missed shots they typically make. And those shots will eventually go in, as we saw by the end of that Western Conference Finals.
Hence the dilemma here.
The Cavaliers are intriguing plays because of their uptick in shooting and chemistry. But the Warriors are still the Warriors. And while the return on their services isn’t huge, it’s senseless to roll with the Cavaliers—who, by the way, don’t have a great answer for Golden State’s “Death Squad” combination, a lineup consisting of Barnes, Curry, Green, Iguodala and Klay Thompson.
If the Cavaliers were bigger sportsbooks long shots, it would be different. They might be worth an inexpensive dice roll for the possibility of a lucrative reward. But given these odds, in addition to the obvious superiority of the Warriors, there is only one team deserving of your pre-series attention.
And it is, without question, Golden State.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors in six games
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