No one gave the Cleveland Cavaliers a chance in the NBA Finals against Golden State after losing Kyrie Irving to injury in Game 1. Yet the Cavs can take a 2-1 series led at home Tuesday. Here are a few Bovada props that stand out to me for Game 3.
LeBron James Props:
Will LeBron score more than 43.5 points -- no -650, yes +450
Will LeBron have a double-double -- yes -225, no +185
Will James have a triple-double -- no -350, yes +275
Total James points -- 'over/under' 33.5
Total James assists -- O/U 8.5
Will LeBron make his first 3-pointer -- no -210, yes +170
Total made free throws -- O/U 7
For Sunday's Game 2, I recommended 'over' pretty much every LeBron James O/U prop: 51.5 points + rebounds + assists, seven made free throws, 1.5 made 3-pointers, 12 made field goals, yes on more than 33.5 points, Cavaliers to have game's highest scorer. The only thing I didn't like was LeBron 'over' 9.5 assists because the Warriors aren't double-teaming James and allowing him to hit open guys at the 3-point arc. True, LeBron was just 11-for-35 from the field in the Game 2 95-93 overtime win, but he had a historic line of 39 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists; he also made three 3-pointers and 14 of 18 free-throw attempts. As NBA odds makers know, only one player in NBA Finals history, James Worthy of the 1988 L.A. Lakers, had ever put up a 35-point, 15-rebound, 10-assist game. It was James' fifth career triple-double, which is three shy of the all-time record by Magic Johnson (eight). The only number that surprised me was the assists, but James is just about the only Cleveland guy controlling the ball once the Cavs cross midcourt. I will be very curious what Warriors coach Steve Kerr does Tuesday. Does he alter his defensive strategy? Or does he think James' less-than-stellar cast of characters around him will eventually fade? If anyone should know what to do here it would be Kerr because he played with Michael Jordan. James is a physical marvel but he might be a tad gassed here after playing 50 minutes in Game 2.
NBA Finals Props Picks: No on 43.5, yes on double-double, no on triple-double, 'over' 33.5 points, 'over' on the assists, no on the 3-pointer and 'over' the free throws (at home, James is going to get more calls).
Stephen Curry Props:
Will Curry score more than 38.5 points -- no -1200, yes +650
Will Curry have a double-double -- no -285, yes +225
Total Curry points -- 'over/under' 26.5
Total Curry assists -- O/U 7
Total made 3-pointers -- O/U 3.5
Total turnovers -- O/U 3.5
Who will record more points -- Curry (+7.5) vs. LeBron
I had a great Game 2 on these props because while I was bullish on all of James' numbers and he delivered, I was down on Curry with defensive pest Matthew Dellavedova on him now that Irving was out. Curry was a mess, shooting just 5-for-23 overall (third-worst percentage by a regular-season MVP in a Finals game with a minimum of 15 attempts) and 2-for-15 from 3-point range, including an air ball with around five seconds left in OT. He also had six turnovers. Curry finished with 19 points, six rebounds and five assists. I don't know what it is about Dellavedova, but he can get under guys' skin. I took 'under' 40.5 points + rebounds + assists for Curry, no he wouldn't top 31.5 points and 'over' 3.5 made free throws because Dellavedova plays physical and that Curry would get to the line. He made 7-for-8 from the charity stripe. Curry seemed almost offended in the post-game interview when asked if Dellavedova had bothered him. I expect a bounce-back game. For example, in Game 5 of the conference semifinals against Memphis, Curry struggled by going 6-for-16 from the field and had five turnovers. The next game, Curry had 32 points, 10 assists and six rebounds as Golden State closed things out.
NBA Finals Props Picks: No on 38.5 points, no on double-double, 'over' 26.5 points, 'over' 7 assists, 'over' 3.5 3-pointers, 'over' turnovers and take Curry plus the 7.5 against James with your NBA picks at Bovada. I expect Curry to play more like an MVP in this one.