The Golden State Warriors hold a 2-0 advantage as the NBA Finals shifts to Cleveland, but some believe that the series is already over and a sweep is in the offing. Let’s discuss whether or not Cleveland can battle back as we take a quick glance at what the oddsmakers are dealing.
A King Does Not an Empire Make
The NBA’s Kings may be based in Sacramento but the kings of the NBA hail from Golden State. Speaking of kings, LeBron James may be the ruler of his realm in Cleveland, but he is no match for the emperors who rule in Oakland. What we are witnessing is that even the best of the best need help. How would General George Patton have done without his Third Army, or Gladys Knight without her Pips? LeBron is a ringmaster without any lions, tigers, elephants or trapeze artists with which to lead.
And yet here he is in the NBA Finals after vanquishing three opponents in the postseason only to meet his nemesis for the fourth time in as many seasons. At age 33, James is averaging 34.6 points per game in the playoffs, only eclipsed by his 35.3 PPG in the ’08-’09 postseason. There is no Kyrie Irving, Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh to dish the ball on this team, and if a case can be made for Kevin Love then you’re welcome to make it. Love is no longer the force he once was but still checks in with a 14.7 PPG playoff average, the second-leading scorer on the Cavaliers and 20 points less per game than LeBron. The man is going it alone against a team of All-Stars who have captured the NBA title in three of the last four years.
Golden State has dominated Cleveland over the last two seasons, having gone 9-2 straight up and 7-4 against the spread. This season the Warriors are 4-0 straight up and 3-1 ATS, despite the herculean efforts of LeBron James. The next two games are in Cleveland, but do we really believe that the change of venue will produce a change in results? Although some may point to Game 1 where the Cavaliers – or should I say LeBron – battled the Warriors to the wire, they still lost the game by 10 points, albeit in overtime. These next two games are more akin to a coronation than a competition because once it’s toast it can never be bread and these Cavs are toast.
The Oddsmakers Speak
The only place to get the best sports betting picks and the latest, breaking odds is Sportsbook Review where readers can see what all the best online sportsbooks in the world are dealing for lines on all the major sporting events. As we peruse SBR, we can see that the point spread on Game 3, just two days away as of this Monday morning writing, has the Warriors as anywhere from 4½ to 5 point road favorites with a money line of -190/+165 which means if you don’t want to lay the points with Golden State or take the points with Cleveland then you can let your money do the talking and lay $190 for every $100 on the Warriors or bet $100 to win $165 on the Cavs.
The series price has gotten completely out of control but then again, it was enormous on the Warriors from the onset and chalkier than a Stanford quantum physics blackboard. Before Game 1 the oddsmakers had Golden State -1000 to win the series but now that number has swelled to –2150 with the Warriors owning a 2-0 lead in the series headed into Cleveland. There are online sportsbooks offering Golden State at +125 to sweep and considering they will be 4 to 5 point favorites in both games makes this an enticing bet for those who believe that the Warriors are destined to continue their run as the best basketball team on the planet and will close it out before the series returns to Oakland. Steph Curry is -300 to win the Finals MVP, a feat he has never before accomplished. And if you want divergent views on this series then check out SBR’s point/counterpoint series between Doug Upstone and Swinging Johnson, two top cappers who go head-to-head on each and every game.