NBA Pick on Total: Grab Warriors vs. Cavaliers 'Under' Before Value Vanishes for Game 3

Jason Lake

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 2:26 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jun. 9, 2015 2:26 PM GMT

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors played overtime again on Sunday, and they still went UNDER the basketball odds. How slow can they go? Slower than slow.

Jason’s record as of June 8: 81-84-5 ATS, 21-23 Totals, plus-0.15 units ML, 6-4 Series (plus-2.0 units)
 

We were joking here at the home office about how they might need two overtimes for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors to go OVER the posted total in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. Fortunately for us, they only played five extra minutes Sunday night, and it was indeed not enough time to push the final score beyond the 199-point total. Cleveland won 95-93 to send this series back home tied 1-1.

Will we be treated to a third overtime game Tuesday night (9:00 p.m. ET, ABC)? It figures to be a close one, with the Warriors favored by a single point on the NBA betting odds board at press time. That does make us a little worried about sticking with the UNDER. So does the total dropping to 196 points at the open, and moving even further to 194 points, despite our consensus reports showing 56 percent of bettors on the OVER.
 

ISO 23
We'll take our chances. Not only did the Cavaliers stick with their game plan from the opener, they went even more iso-heavy through LeBron James, who shot 11-of-35 en route to his triple-double (39 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists). This time, he got a little more support from his bench players, particularly James Jones, who sank two of his four trey attempts and led the Cavs at plus-22 in just 23 minutes of work. Otherwise, Cleveland was a horror show on offense. And it only got worse as the game wore on.

The big difference from Game 2 was Stephen Curry shooting just 5-of-23 from the field and 2-of-15 from downtown. Some of that was Matthew Dellavedova's defense, but some of it was just dumb luck. Shots that would go in on any other day rattled around the basket and popped back out. Maybe there is something to the concussion angle, though: Curry is 7-of-32 on his 3-pointers over the past three contests, since getting dumped on his noggin in Game 4 of the Western final against the Houston Rockets.

Obviously, it helps our cause with the UNDER if Curry is indeed on the fritz. But three games is too small of a sample size for us to get too worked up about. We should instead expect some regression to the mean for Tuesday's matchup. Curry will probably get his in Game 3. Our main fear is that he becomes super-motivated and starts hitting every three he takes, but if Curry shoots 8-of-11 or something like that, well, that's about as unlikely as 2-for-15. Something in between is a lot more probable.

 

Not Enough Hops
Let's look instead at Cleveland's starting backcourt. Lost in the kerfuffle over Game 2 is that Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert shot a combined 5-of-21 on Sunday, including 2-of-11 from long range. Again, we can blame bad luck as well as Golden State's defense, but on the whole, it's not like these are quality 3-point opportunities. It's all about James; everything else is just crumbs off his table.

We should also note that Dellavedova and Shumpert were both limping around quite a bit at the end of Game 2. There's no indication that either player will miss Game 3, but given how hard they're playing defense, especially Dellavedova with his Aussie-rules approach, it's no wonder if they don't have any legs left to make accurate jump shots. So we'll go ahead and stick with our game plan until the Cavs change theirs, or until something else happens that makes us take the OVER instead. Maybe if the total keeps falling – as we write this, it's dropped to 193.5 at several of the books on our NBA odds board. Better get a good price while it's available.

Free NBA Pick: Take UNDER 194 (–102) at Pinnacle

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