Counterpoint: Surprise! Cavaliers Can Stay Close Enough in Opener

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 3:17 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 30, 2018 3:17 PM UTC

Other than the Cleveland players, nobody is giving the East champs a chance against Golden State. But as basketball bettors, we understand the spread is the great equalizer in game situations.

<h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="NBA Betting Forum">NBA Finals, Game 1: Thursday, 9 p.m. ET (TV: ABC)</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="Cavaliers vs. Warriors">Cavaliers (62-38 SU, 40-58-2 ATS) vs. Warriors (70-29 SU, 42-54-3 ATS)</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NBA Pick: Cavaliers +12</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=BetOnline" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">BetOnline</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3475325, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,274,180,999996,19], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>The opening contest of the NBA Finals is supposed to be a blowout. The <a href="" target="_blank" title="NBA Odds">NBA odds board</a> opened with Golden State as an 11.5-point home favorite and this jumped to -12 almost immediately. When the news came down Tuesday night that Kevin Love (concussion protocol) was still "iffy" for Game 1, the Warriors shot up to -13.</p><p>Seriously, what chance does LeBron James have versus four other players who -- like him -- are presumed to be future Hall of Famers? Probably not much, yet with this big a spread, an opportunity exists for Cleveland. Let me explain. And no chuckling from SBR colleague Swinging Johnson, because I've been rollin' over him thus far in the postseason like a road-grater.</p><p> </p><h2>Taking Advantage Of Opportunity</h2><p>Golden State players understand the situation and know they are enormous favorites to win the series and most likely know they are super-sized favorites in the series opener. With the Warriors having beaten Houston in the Western Conference Finals, it would not be a stretch for the Warriors to surmise they have already won the championship. Even the Golden State owner came out and said playing Cleveland is getting old.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;&lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#NBAFinals&lt;/a&gt; Watch Party Tickets are ON SALE NOW! πŸ™ŒπŸΎ&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;🍺 + 🌭 deals &lt;br /&gt;πŸ“Ί &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#CavsWarriors&lt;/a&gt; on &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@Humongotron&lt;/a&gt;&lt;br /&gt;πŸ€ games for kids&lt;br /&gt;πŸ‘• FREE &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WhateverItTakes&lt;/a&gt; tees for the first 1,000 fans&lt;br /&gt;+ more!&lt;br /&gt; &lt;br /&gt;Get $10 tickets here β†’ &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt; &lt;br /&gt; &lt;a href=\";amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#WhateverItTakes&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;β€” Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;May 30, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>Nonetheless, this might be Cleveland's best chance in the entire series to pull off an upset. The Warriors' guard could be down in Game 1, not taking a familiar opponent all that seriously.</p><p>The Cavaliers need that same steely intensity they played with in Game 7 of the East finals in Boston. Plus, if Golden State plays that casual style, in which they often commit quite a few turnovers, that could aid Cleveland for easy baskets.</p><p> </p><h2>LeBron Could Go Off</h2><p>Warriors coach Steve Kerr will undoubtedly send a battalion at LeBron James to slow him down. But James will have one major advantage, at least presumably in Game 1, not having to face Andre Iguodala. The one Warriors player that has proven most capable of slowing James down is Iguodala. Against any other Golden State defender, James scores at least 10 percent more of the time and has more room to operate to find open teammates.</p><p>Kerr will likely have young defenders like Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney take a few turns guarding James because of their height and length, but the King's strength will matter on the blocks or when he drives to the dish.</p><p>For <a href="" target="_blank" title="Free NBA Picks">NBA picks,</a> this will be Cleveland's best shot to cover the spread in Oakland and they are a solid 13-4 ATS on the road having covered three of their last four.</p><p>Expect my humiliation of Swinging Johnson to continue.</p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="">Read why Swinging Johnson is a thinking man -- but not an overthinking man.</a></h2>
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