Cavaliers bounce back in Game 2 to send the series level 1-1 to Cleveland. Can the Warriors steal back home advantage in Game 3? Find out as we serve up our NBA Finals betting preview and NBA picks.
Cavaliers Get Even
No Kevin Love. No Kyrie Irving. No problem. The Cavaliers bounce back in a big way. Taking game 2 of the NBA Finals series in a building where the Warriors were the best team in the NBA, conquering a veritable fortress that witnessed only two regular season defeats and one playoff defeat. The NBA Finals are officially on!
With the series heading to Cleveland, the Cavaliers have the slight edge and, in turn, the NBA odds swing ever so slightly in their favour. Matched at -115 at Bet365 to win outright, the Cavaliers will look to take the lead in the series all while enjoying home advantage. Nobody however is writing off the Warriors in game 3 as they enter as the notional underdogs trading at -105 NBA odds or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice.
The spread betting markets are also set delicately on a point with the Cavs to the good, obviously. That said books opened on 2.5-points at the conclusion of game 2, only for it to be bet down almost immediately.
As it is, the Cavs and Warriors are level 1-1 SU and ATS with the Warriors coming through in game 1 as the hefty 6-point faves in the 108-100 win and the Cavs defying the NBA odds as the underdogs in game 2, cashing as the 7.5-point road pups in the narrow 95-93 win.
Compared to the previous games, the market on game 3 is considerably narrower with both money lines and spread betting lines shrinking to molecular size. However, it's worth noting that the overarching market on the NBA Finals remains unmoved. Indeed, if there were an NBA market that was the most telling at this vantage point and were to give us true sense of which way the ball rolls on the sports betting floor, it's the outright win market that is trading Golden State Warriors as the -200 favourites and the Cleveland Cavaliers as the +170 underdogs to win the NBA Championships.
LeBron James, The Chosen One
LeBron James was once again the X-factor on the court as he carried the hobbled Cavaliers to a pivotal victory all while posting a triple-double to remember at the Oracle Arena in game 2. After posting 44-points in game 1, LeBron James came back with a ferocious intensity and posted 39 points in game 2 with 16 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Oracle yielded to the Cavaliers what it was most stingy with from the start of the season: a "W" to the visiting team. It's only the fourth W to a visitor, so there's no reason for the Warriors to panic What's more, the win was by a couple of points only.
That said the Warriors conspicuously struggled to contain LeBron James in game 2 and if they are to come back on the road in game 3 they're going to need to find some answers quick. On the defensive side of the ball, the Cavs rose to the occasion and gave the Warriors fits. On the offensive side of the ball, the Warriors struggled something huge, and Stephen Curry had one of his worst shooting performances, shooting 5-for-23 from the field and 2-for-15 from 3-point range.
The Warriors simply couldn't dictate the game or impose their tempo on the resilient Cavs. That's quite concerning for the Warriors given the fact that the Cavs are without two of their All Stars, something LeBron James painstakingly reminded all and sundry at the post-game presser the other night.
On paper, the Warriors have the edge: they are the healthier, fitter and stronger team. And they have home advantage in this best-of-seven series. But the Cavs' campaign is fuelled by an intangible catalyst: LeBron James' quest for personal validation in the game and history books. Winning these NBA Finals with an undermanned Cavaliers would elevate the sure-fire Hall of Famer into another stratosphere of individual achievement, it would be surpass his NBA Championships win with the Miami Heat by a country mile. Lead the underdog Cavs to the title and he'll be the most significant player in the game.
NBA Betting Verdict
The Cavaliers are fired up and have the momentum going into game 3, but if the first two games are any indication the Warriors can't be counted out. Two game, two overtimes and two different winners. It's a scintillating series and more momentum shifts are sure to occur. That said, with the series now heading to Cleveland, expect LeBron James and the Cavs to keep the ball rolling their way. Take the Cavs at -115 to win outright and as the nominal home chalk on the spread.
NBA Picks: Cavs SU at -115 and to cover at -1.0 (-105) at Bet365