After a long playoff run for both teams, the NBA Finals are set and it’s a healthier rematch from last season. The Cavs and Warriors doing battle presents some nice betting NBA odds.
Series Price – Warriors (-210) vs. Cavaliers (+175) – Bovada
Last season the Cavs' excuse after they lost to the Warriors was that they weren't at full strength, and that if they were, it would have been an entirely different series. Now the Cavs are healthy, but the sportsbooks are not buying that thought process. At Bovada sportsbook, the Warriors are solid favorites in the series odds, and with home court advantage and the momentum from coming off three straight wins in their comeback victory over the Thunder, it's hard to argue with how they are priced right now.
But then again, this is a different Cavs team than the one a year ago. They are playing faster and much better on offense, they are shooting three-pointers at an increased clip, and they are also much more rested than their opponent coming into Game 1 on Thursday. Could this lead to a series upset?
Regular Season Meetings
The Warriors won both of the regular season meetings with the Cavaliers back in December and January, and even though the Cavs are playing a lot better than they were earlier in the season, it's hard to ignore how the Warriors could have probably played better. In their first meeting, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shot a combined 12-for-31 and the Warriors still won thanks to a huge game from Draymond Green.
In their second meeting, the Warriors dominated the Cavs in Cleveland thanks to a seven three-pointer game from Curry, and another big performance from Green. It's also worth noting that the Dubs didn't have Harrison Barnes in the first game, but had him back in the second game. Barnes is an underrated player, and he could play a big role for the Dubs in this series, even if Andre Iguodala starts again.
While Cleveland has been playing better, they are likely outmatched in this series even while healthy. All the Warriors have to do is keep knocking down shots, and get Green to be a reliable third scoring option, and the Warriors are going to win their second title in as many seasons.
What To Watch For
In games where Green records a double-double this postseason, the Warriors are undefeated. Considering Green is coming off a very poor Western Conference Finals, he is going to be the Warriors' championship Achilles heel. If he has a good series, it would not surprise me to see Golden State win this one in five games. If he struggles with his shot and lets his emotions get the better of him, Cleveland is going to have a chance to win this series.
However, Green's defense on Lebron James might be his most important role in the series. James shot a combined 17-for-42 in the team's two regular season meetings, and while he was dominant in the Finals last season, if Green can even get close to slowing James down, this is going to be a quick series.
Another couple of guys to watch in this series is Iguodala for the Warriors, and Tristan Thompson for the Cavs. Iguodala showed how he can be an x-factor last season in the Finals, as well as in the last few games of this season's Western Conference Finals. If he is providing good defense and timely shot making, the Warriors are almost impossible to beat.
On the other side, Thompson is going to play a big role in this series. The Cavs need him to continue to punish the Warriors on the offensive glass, and if he is creating extra possessions for the Cavaliers, it could come together for Cleveland this season.
Putting It Together
The problem for Cleveland is they need to play damn near perfect to win this series. The Warriors can absorb a bad game here and there from one of their star players and still win a game, but the Cavs are going to need everyone clicking on all cylinders if they want to win this series as an underdog. However, the formula for Cleveland is set. They need to slow down one of the Splash Brothers, and they have to control the three-point line. If that happens, they win, but of course that's easier said than done against what appears to be the greatest team ever assembled.
On the other side it really comes down to Curry being the best player on the court. If he is steadily outplaying James, the Warriors are going to run away with this series. In my eyes, the Warriors just got past their toughest opponent of the playoffs. The Thunder presented many more problems than the Cavs can, and even though Cleveland is more rested, that could also play to their disadvantage as well. As it stands now, a bet on the Warriors to win in five or six games might be the best play. Those NBA odds are currently at around +300 and +500 respectfully.