Our basketball betting blog looks at LeBron James' performance in the NBA Finals while exploring past 1-2 title matchups ahead of the Warriors-Cavaliers record-breaking championship clash.
LeBron James passed Michael Jordan as the NBA’s career playoff scoring leader in Cleveland’s 135-102 Finals-advancing win over the Celtics Thursday night. This is the seventh title series in a row for James, and eighth in his career. Let’s take a look at how the four-time MVP has fared in each game.
Game 1: James is just 1-6 SU and ATS in the series opener, his team going off the betting favorite only twice. The King averages 0.60 points per minute. His stat line: 25.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game.
Game 2: This has been the money spot for LeBron bettors. His team is 4-3 SU and ATS, going off 2.7-point underdogs on average. James has won three of five as a road pup in this spot, including a 95-93 victory over the Warriors in 2015.
Game 3: LeBron is 4-3 SU and ATS in Game 3, tipping off at -0.3 average odds. He’s yet to record a triple-double in Game 3, despite tallying one in Game 1 and Game 2.
Game 4: Outside of the series opener, this is James’ weakest spot for production. He averages 23.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 7.4 assists in 43.1 minutes per game. His team is 2-5 SU and 3-3-1 ATS, including a sweep by the Spurs while in his first stint with Cleveland in 2007. The team has failed to score their projected team total in five contests.
Game 5: James is just 2-4 SU and ATS in Game 5. Twice he has faced elimination in this spot, splitting the pair. Five of six have been on the road. The King triumphed in only one. James recorded a triple-double in three of the six.
Game 6: James has gone off a home favorite in every Game 6. He has also faced elimination in each. The King is 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS. The OVER is 4-0, though one (Heat-Spurs, 2013) benefitted from overtime. LeBron scored 32 points or more in three of the four. He averages a playoff-high .70 points per minute in Game 6.
Game 7: LeBron has gone the distance twice in the Finals. In each, he won the title. In 2013, the Heat topped the Spurs 95-88 as 6-point chalk in Miami. James scored 37 points, collected 12 rebounds, and dished out 4 helpers in 45.0 minutes in the win. Last year, the Cavs shocked the Warriors 93-89 in Oakland as 5-point pups. The King notched a triple-double with 27 points, 11 boards, and 11 assists.
Top Seed Dominant Against Lesser in NBA Finals
The Warriors-Cavs series is the fifth 1-2 matchup in the NBA Finals since 2002. The two sported identical seedings in 2015, the first of an NBA record three consecutive meetings for the title. Golden State won that series 4-2, outscoring Cleveland by 7.2 points per game. This is the seventh Finals in this span, in fact, to feature a No. 1 team playing a lesser seed. The top spot won the previous six championships.
Peering deeper into the four prior 1-2 matchups show near identical home/road splits. The 1-seed is 8-4 SU and 7-5 ATS defending its hardwood, while 7-4 SU and 8-3 ATS away from home. Looking at individual games, top seeds open the series 3-1 SU and ATS but tend to struggle in the next two appearances. They are 3-5 SU and ATS in Games 2 & 3. These were the Cavs’ only two wins in 2015. The late stages of the series are dominated by No. 1, going 9-2 SU and ATS from Game 4 on.Make Sure To Check Out Free NBA Picks For Warrior-Cavs Final