Cavaliers-Warriors Game 1 Props: Big Nights for Cleveland Big Men?

tristan thompson kevin love

Jordan Sharp

Thursday, June 1, 2017 3:51 PM GMT

For the third straight season, the Cavaliers and Warriors are set to do battle in the NBA Finals. Everyone has a thought on how this game/series will shape out, but with several good props from Bovada sportsbook I am here to keep our bankroll going with two more prop betting picks.

Tristan Thompson O/U 10.5 rebounds

Zach Lowe of ESPN wrote a great feature on Tristan Thompson the other day. The former No. 4 overall pick has been a work in progress like most big men early in their careers, but since he was picked fourth overall, Thompson has turned into what Lowe called an "elite role player." No description fits Thompson better. He is an elite rebounder, plays good defense and sets screens. That’s all he needs to do to give the opponent fits.

That’s exactly what he should do here in his third meeting against the Warriors in the NBA Finals. Thompson has the size, leaping ability and the defensive skill-set to stay on the floor as long as is needed, even if the Warriors go small. Thompson can defend Draymond Green at center if the Warriors go that route. If that’s the case and Thompson is on the floor for 40 minutes in this one, 11 or more rebounds should be gravy.

In last season’s NBA Finals, Thompson averaged 10.1 rebounds over the seven games and 32.4 minutes per contest. In four of the five games he played 30-plus minutes he grabbed 11 or more rebounds. On top of that, two years ago Thompson finished with an average of 13 rebounds per game vs. the Dubs in the Finals.

Free NBA Pick: 'Over' 10.5 (-105)Best Lines Offered Both: Bovada Kevin Love O/U 28.5 Points & Rebounds

Love absolutely destroyed the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finalss. He averaged 22.6 points and 12.4 rebounds in a dominating effort. However, as I mentioned during that five-game stretch many times Love was a horrible mismatch for anyone on Boston.

Now things are about to change, and after having a great beat on Love during the ECF, I am ready to take advantage of Bovada again, now for overvaluing Love’s individual chances.

Last year in the NBA Finals, Love was nothing compared to one of the league’s best defenders, Green. With all the issues that LeBron James causes, now that the Warriors have Kevin Durant it means more Green versus Love one-on-one. In the 2016 Finals, Love averaged just 7.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He had double figures in scoring just twice, and after a huge Game 1 he disappeared in that series.

I could see something similar going down in the first two games of this series on the road. Love’s value is sky-high after his big series against a poor defensive team. However, now that he is facing a Defensive Player of the Year contender, I see him regressing a lot in this series.

Free NBA Pick: 'Under' 28.5 (-105)