NBA Betting: LeBron James As Home Dog in Game 3; Warriors Letdown Coming?

Jay Pryce

Monday, June 5, 2017 12:41 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 5, 2017 12:41 PM UTC

Our NBA betting blog shows how top seeds perform in Game 3 of the NBA playoffs after taking a 2-0 series lead, the Cavaliers' matchup issues defending the 3-pointer vs. Golden State, and LeBron James' numbers as a home underdog.

Top Seed 2-0 Lead

The Golden State Warriors walloped the Cleveland Cavaliers 132-113 in Game 2 on Sunday night, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant each recording a triple-double in the win. The victory gave Golden State a commanding 2-0 series lead with Game 3 scheduled for Wednesday in Cleveland. Since 2002, No. 1 seeds like the Warriors in the NBA playoffs are 23-26 SU and 21-26-2 ATS in Game 3 after taking a 2-0 series lead. Oddsmakers opened the Warriors 2-point favorites, the line adjusting to -3 at many sportsbooks within hours of release.

In this span, No. 1 seeds have tipped off road chalk 30 times, going 18-12 SU and 15-15 ATS. Most of the success against comes at a higher number than offered currently. Short-priced favorites of 4 points or less are 7-9 SU and 6-10 ATS in this spot. As the Western Conference top seed three playoffs in a row, the Warriors have faced this situation twice in the current era. They dropped both games. In 2016, Golden State lost 97-96 as a 3.5-point favorite at Houston in Round 1, and again in Round 2 120-108 at Portland as 3-point chalk.


Big Blowouts Equals Regression

The Warriors' 132 points vs. Cleveland in Game 2 are the most in a NBA Finals matchup since 1987 when the Lakers scored 141 against the Celtics. The more surprising number is that Golden State has taken the first two games by a 20.5-point average margin of victory. Curry and Co. won Game 1 by 22 points (113-91) and Game 2 by 19 points (132-113).

In the last 15 years, NBA playoff teams have won consecutive games in a series by 15 points or more in each 37 times. Overall, they are 17-20 SU and 12-24-1 ATS the following contest. Most success comes as a sizeable favorite. As an underdog or short-priced chalk of 5 points or less, teams are 5-20 ATS. Golden State is currently favored by 2.5-to3 points in Game 3 depending on the shop.


Cavs Can’t Match Up From Downtown

The Warriors' 18 3-pointers in Game 2 were the most ever in a NBA Finals game. Golden State fired up 43 from behind the arc, Curry, Durant and Klay Thompson connecting for four each. For the Cavs, it was their third time allowing 18 treys in game this season. Cleveland’s kryptonite all year is defending the 3-pointer, and it struggles to adjust to teams that are successful in prior matchups. The Cavs are 14-17 SU and 11-20 ATS after allowing 12 3-pointers or more in the prior meeting. Opponents average 12.2 3s next time out.


Underdog LeBron

Since returning to Cleveland in 2014, LeBron James has tipped off an underdog at Quicken Loans Arena six times. Five of those have come against the Warriors. Overall, Cleveland is 3-3 SU and ATS. For prop bettors: James averages 29.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 1.5 3-pointers, 1.0 blocks, 1.7 steals, and 3.7 turnovers in 41.4 minutes per game. The new NBA Finals triple-double King, after tying Magic Johnson with eight all-time in Sunday night’s Game 2 defeat, has yet to achieve the feat in this situation.

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