Cash In Big With Two NBA Picks In Cavaliers vs. Warriors

Kevin Stott

Saturday, June 4, 2016 1:28 PM UTC

Saturday, Jun. 4, 2016 1:28 PM UTC

Let’s look at some Trends, Streaks and other angles for this huge game and offer up a hopefully profitable pick or two in a game in which the Site and Situation should carry some extra weight.

Odds Overview
Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors [Monday 01:05] (ABC, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN (US), 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT): LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers can even up this best-of-7 NBA Finals series with a win over Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland on Sunday night but it won’t come easy, facing the team which beat them in last year’s NBA Finals and a team which set an NBA record going 73-9 overall and 39-2 at Home (49-3 overall at Home) and sweeping them during the Regular Season with a 6-point win in Oakland on Christmas Day (89-83) and a 34-point win at Quicken Loans Arena on Jan. 18 (132-98). For Game 2, Offshore sportsbooks have opened up the host Warriors as solid 6½ (Heritage) favorites here with the Total (Points) currently in the 207 (Heritage) to 207½-point (The Greek) range.

The Money Line NBA odds see Golden State priced at -265 (Pinnacle) with the visiting Cavaliers lined at +235 on the takeback. The First Half odds have the Warriors as 3-point (5Dimes) chalks with the First Half Total opening at 106½ (5Dimes, Thursday night. The Warriors closed as 6-point favorites in Game 1 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Total 211) and covered ATS, winning 104-89 in a contest which went Under the Total (211, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).


Cleveland Cavaliers
Although the final score certainly doesn’t reflect it, the Cleveland Cavaliers (12/5 to win NBA Championship, Paddy Power) actually played pretty admirably—and actually led for a moment (68-67, 3Q)—for Head Coach Tyronn Lue in their Game 1 loss in Oakland on Thursday night. But it was the same thing Cleveland (69-28 SU, 29-20 on Road) had been doing to the denizens of the lessor Eastern Conference—exploding in the 4th Quarter like a Cross Country runner who has saved his lungs for a late sprint to the finish line—that was done to them by Golden State on Thursday as the hosts turned a 6-point lead after three quarters quickly into a 20-point game (96-76 4Q, 5:40) before Cleveland made one last gasp effort to pull within 97-85 with around 3 minutes to play before eventually succumbing to the defending NBA champion Warriors. The Cavaliers Big Three of LeBron James (23 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists), Kevin Love (17 points, 13 rebounds) and Kyrie Irving (26 points) all had nice-looking games in the Box Score and all three played pretty well as did starting C Tristan Thompson (10 points, 12 rebounds) as the Cavaliers (46-48-0 ATS, 20-26 ATS on Road) hung with the Warriors for around three quarters.

But starter JR Smith had only 3 points in 36:16 of Playing Time on just 1-for-3 shooting—really taking the “shooting” out of Shooting Guard—and the Cleveland Bench scored just 10 points with Richard Jefferson (3 points), Iman Shumpert (3 points), Channing Frye (2 points), Matthew Dellavedova (2 points) seeing moderate overall Playing Time and facing an often underrated and long-armed Warriors Defense. Reserves Marvin Williams, James Jones and Timofey Mozgov and Dahntay Jones all came in late and played 2:24 each and were held scoreless with North Carolina product Williams going 0-for-2 on his two shots. The Cavaliers (7-4 ATS L11 overall) shot just 39.0% (32-82) from the Field and only 33.3% on its 3’s (7-21) and for a team which has recently evolved into an uptempo, run-and-gun outfit which rolled through the East and averaged 106.9 ppg, the Cavaliers could only manage 89 points in the opener and it was partially because of a very good Defensive effort by host Golden State and because of the limited Playing Time and Point Production from the team’s Bench. To win Game 2, Cleveland will have to try to stop any Warriors big runs, like the 21-4 one late in the 2nd Half which ultimately put what was a semi-close game for three quarters out of reach.


Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors Warriors (57-41-0 ATS, 31-21 ATS at Home) and Head Coach Steve Kerr got exactly the type of game they wanted on Thursday night in Game 1 by preserving the Homecourt Advantage, avoiding any Injuries, getting nice scoring from both its Starting 5 and its Bench—which looks like it could play a big part in this series—and having everyone involved as Confident as they can now be for this spot on the calendar. Including the Crowd. In their Game 1 victory at ORACLE Arena in The City By The City By The Bay, Golden State (11-2 ATS L13 at Home) saw its All-Star backcourt—Stephen Curry (11 points, 4-15 FG’s, 3-8 3’s) and Klay Thompson (9 points, 4-12 FG’s, 1-5 3’s)—have extremely underwhelming games, which would normally result in a Loss for the Dubs.

But fellow All-Star Draymond Green (16 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals) quickly put on his Royal Blue-and-California-Orange colored Superman cape and showed Steph and BronBron who the real MVP end may being while the Warriors Bench scored 45 points—Golden State’s Reserves outscored Cleveland by 17-5 in 1st Quarter—and was the real difference in this game, scoring 17 of those 21 points in that telling 21-4 spurt which for all practical purposes, put the game away. And for a second straight game, Golden State (14-6 ATS L20 overall) got an outstanding, game-changing, Crowd-energizing performance from Shaun Livingston (20 points, 8-10 FGs, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 26:34 PT) who not only scored a team-high number of points, but again scored them at the perfect time as he aptly did in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City. A star is born? Livingston is proving to be the right man at the right time here and along with fellow Bench studs Andre Iguodala (12 points, 6 rebounds)—last year’s unlikely NBA Finals MVP—and Leandro Barbosa (11 points, 5-5 FGs), give an already great team some semi-secret weapons. Watch Livingston again in Game 3 as Kerr knows who has the team’s Hot Hand right now. Starting C Andrew Bogut (10 points) and SF Harrison Barnes (13 points) also had pretty solid games in the Paint underneath and played very good Defense, as did the entire Warriors squad which shot 51.8% (43-83) at their familiar Home Rims. And what’s scary for Cleveland, is that Golden State (86-14 SU, 49-3 at Home) shot just 9-for-26 from 3-point land (34.6%), had below average games from Curry (30.1 ppg) and Thompson (22.1 ppg) and still won by 15 points.


Series Trends, Streaks, Final Thoughts and Game Picks
Golden State (1/3 to win NBA Championship, Paddy Power) has now W6 in a row straight up (SU) against the Cavaliers dating back to last year’s NBA Finals, winning by margins of 15, 34, 6, 8, 13 and 21 for an average win margin over this stretch at 16.3 ppg. Head-to-head, the Warriors are now 5-1 ATS the L6 meetings and now 8-3 ATS the L11 at Golden State after Thursday night’s mini-romp. The Under is 8-3-1 in the L12 meetings in this series and is 5-1-1 the L7 at the ORACLE Arena in Oakland, so with the hosts expending so much energy and frustrating the Cavaliers to the point where maybe Lue feels that he has no real Bench to turn to for scoring.

We’ll see. The bottom line here is that Cavaliers (48-48 O/U) got only 10 points from their Bench while the Warriors Bench had three players in double-figures and that doesn’t bode well at all for Cleveland for Game 2 at ORACLE Arena in Oaktown where Curry and Thompson will certainly shoot better and probably provide more than the feeble 20 points combined they had in Game 1. Perhaps the Brothers’ Splash-iness was a bit dry Thursday night. Or maybe the Cavaliers played some pretty good Defense for as long as they could. (They did.) It really looked like the team playing in the better conference showed why, as the great Lizard King poet Jim Morrison said in the classic song “The End,” that indeed, “The West is the best.” And 12 NBA championships in the L17 seasons speaks backs Mr. Mojo Rising’s words.

Some more Trends for your handicapping consumption for this Game 2: The Road team is 4-2 ATS the L6 meetings, the Warriors are just 2-5 ATS their L7 against the Eastern Conference, the Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS their L8 against the Pacific Division and Cleveland is 16-6 ATS in its L22 vs. teams with a Winning Percentage above .600. But Cleveland is also 3-8 ATS its L11 games in these NBA Finals and just 5-12 ATS its L17 playing on 2 Days Rest. Also, the Under is 11-5-1 the L17 Warriors games played on Sundays, 21-8-1 their L30 against teams with a Winning record, 12-4 ATS against teams with a Winning Percentage over .600, 6-2 their L8 overall and the Under is 4-1-1 in the L6 NBA Finals games overall.

Enough Under Trends for you? The Under is also 5-1 the L6 Cavaliers games against the Eastern Conference, so with so much at stake here and both teams fairly well-Rested (Friday-Saturday) and not having to Travel, expect a similar 48 minutes to Game 1 here with the hosts probably having to rely less on scoring from their Bench and the Cavaliers still desperately looking for scoring from their key Bench players like Dellavedova, Jefferson, Frye, Shumpert, Williams and James Jones, who combined for just 10 points in Game 1 in around 47 minutes combined Playing Time.

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Free NBA Pick: Golden State Warriors -6.5 (-105) or Under 208.5 (-102)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage and Pinnacle respectively
Predicted Final Score: Warriors 110 - Cavaliers 89

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