Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Predictions
NBA Finals betting sites and odds comparison
After a year-long wait and a forgettable postseason, we finally get Cleveland-Golden State round three. Both these teams cruised to the NBA Finals, racking up double-digit average win margins and one combined loss through the playoffs. Now, we get perhaps the most star-studded finals clash in history.
Anyway you slice it, this will be a razor-close series. On one hand, you have a team that’s won the most games in a three-year span. On the other hand, you have the best basketball player in the world. This series is best judged by breaking it down, matchup by matchup.
At first glance, Steph Curry has the clear upper hand against Kyrie Irving. But Curry has a history of trouble against the Cavaliers. He shot just 44.3 percent — including 38.5 from three-point range — in first finals matchup two years ago, followed by 40.3 percent from the field last year. By his standard, those are pedestrian numbers. Perhaps the moment is too big for him, but we can’t say the same for Kyrie Irving, who has two game winners against the Dubs to his name.
There’s no arguing here, Klay Thompson blows J.R. Smith out of the water on both ends of the floor, especially defense. With that said, Klay has been far from sharp this postseason. He’s perhaps the lone Warrior player that isn’t peaking right now. Throughout the postseason, he’s averaging a modest 14.4 points on 38.3 percent shooting from the floor. If he catches fire, which by now seems overdue, he’s an X-factor this series.
Advantage: Golden State
It doesn’t get any bigger than this one, as the NBA’s top two players collide. Still, LeBron has the edge — as he does with every other player. You can pull up all the analytics you want, but there’s just measuring the value of having James on the court. The Cavaliers always have a chance with him, even when down 3-1. Plus, he has a long history of toppling Durant. In career head-to-head matchups, James-led teams are 18-5 against Durant’s squads.
For all of the Dubs star power, the engine of the team remains Draymond Green. Between his very vocal leadership to his second-to-none defensive prowess, Golden State feeds off his tenacity. Let’s not forget Green was the only Warrior player that showed up to play in Game 7. Love is clearly a notch below Green in this matchup, but he’s playing well as of late. He’s hitting on 47.5 percent from downtown this postseason, which surely will go down with a premier defender in Green now guarding him.
Advantage: Golden State
Whether it’s Zaza Pachulia or JaVale McGee getting the minutes here, neither compares to Tristan Thompson. The Warriors don’t have a lot of weaknesses, but if we’re diggin hard, they’ve been prone to beatings on the offensive glass. That makes Thompson’s role even more crucial. He’s a force down low, averaging the sixth most offensive boards in the league during the regular season at 3.7 per game. Somehow, that number has improved to 4.3 during the playoffs. Like Klay for Golden State, Thompson is the X-factor for Cleveland.
Steve Kerr’s status remains in the air for this series, but interim head coach Mike Brown would love nothing more than sticking it to the team that’s fired him twice. Regardless, Tyron Lue gets the advantage here for the mere fact of drawing up that game-winning three from Irving in last year’s Game 7.
So there you have it, with the 4-2 advantage, we’re going with the Cavaliers to repeat as champions. In the end, we really don’t want to bet against an all-time great like LeBron.
Pick: Cleveland (+230)
Series outcome: Six Games
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