I books post lines to draw action on both sides, but how can they have GSW as 3-point favorites on NBA odds for Game 4? And as -115 series favs? Here are a few props that stand out to me for Game 4.
NBA Finals MVP Prop
The Cavaliers lead 2-1 and are looking to hand the Warriors their first three-game losing streak all season. Golden State players say they aren't worried because this series has somewhat mimicked the Western Conference semifinals against Memphis. In that one, as vs. Cleveland, the Warriors won the first at home, lost Game 2 in Oakland and Game 3 on the road, struggling offensively in both defeats. Then the Warriors flipped a switch and won the final three games easily. Grizzlies are a fine team, but they don't have a singular talent like LeBron James, who is having a Finals for the ages. His 123 points through three games is the most in league history. I said heading into Game 3 that Warriors coach Steve Kerr simply had to alter his strategy defending James. He didn't. I say he does Thursday, and most experts agree with me. He has to! James is single-handedly carrying a bunch of second-tier players to one of the most unlikely titles in league history -- much like Dirk Nowitki did for Dallas as a big underdog in the 2011 Finals against LeBron's first Heat team.
LeBron James -200
Stephen Curry +110
Klay Thompson +1500
I touched on the Finals MVP update ahead of Game 3 and Curry was still the favorite, with LeBron a close second and Thompson the only other guy under +1000. I am actually going to recommend something I never thought I would: take James even if you think the Cavaliers will lose this series. That's how good he has been. The only Finals MVP to win it on a losing team was the first year the award was given, in 1968 to the Lakers' Jerry West. James is averaging 41.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 8.3 assists in 47.0 minutes per night. He's even hitting 3-pointers better than he did through the Eastern Conference playoffs. Curry did bounce back with a good Game 3 with 27 points so it's going to be either him or James. I thought Thompson had a chance but he was not good in Game 3, going 6-for-16 from the field for 14 points. There are rumors he's playing through some sort of injury.
NBA Free Pick: LeBron -200 at Bovada -- if this goes seven and Cavs lose, he still deserves it. Obviously if Cleveland wins the series he will be a unanimous choice.
Harrison Barnes & Draymond Green Props
Barnes total points + rebounds -- 'over/under' 16
Green total points -- O/U 12
Green total rebounds -- O/U 9.5
Green to have double-double -- yes-only at +200
All I have hit on in the previous three games are props on LeBron (keep going over all his totals) and Curry, so let's shift gears here. A big reason why the Warriors are down 2-1 is because Barnes and Green aren't playing well. Green had by far the best season of his career, was nearly named Defensive Player of the Year and had some saying he was better than Kevin Love so it worked out well that the Warriors didn't trade Thompson for Love this past offseason. Well, Green has been exposed a bit this series and vastly outplayed by counterpart Tristan Thompson. Sometimes height does matter. Green's point totals have gone down in each game of the Finals and was just 2-for-10 from the field for seven points with seven rebounds in Game 3. I think his minutes may drop a bit because David Lee gave the Warriors such an offensive spark late in Game 3, nearly helping lead a big comeback. Green might be costing himself a few million dollars as a pending free agent. I could have put up a line that Barnes did in Game 3: 0-for-8 for 0 points with three rebounds, three turnovers and two fouls in 19 minutes. The Warriors were outscored by 14 points with Barnes on the floor in Game 3 (Green as well).
NBA Free Picks: 'Under' on Barnes as well as Green points. 'Over' on Green rebounds. No double-double.