Cavaliers and Bulls collide today with the series finely poised 1-1. Who will come out on top when all is said and done in game 3? Find out as we serve up our NBA betting preview and picks.
Cavaliers Level Series
LeBron James (+500 to be NBA Finals MVP) powered the Cavaliers to a 106-91 win over the Bulls behind a 33 point account that eradicated the memory of his subpar performance in game 1 emphatically and proved exactly why he's one of the greats in the game. Kyle Irving also had a standout game with 21 points as the Cavs levelled the series.
Going into game 3, the Cavs must be well pleased to be back in the series and not facing a 2-0 hole in Chicago. The way the Bulls kicked off the series, it would have been a mountain to climb back from you'd think, especially seeing that they are without forward Kevin Love for the remainder of the NBA Playoffs.
The Cavs go into Friday's clash with the Bulls as the marginal underdogs, matched at +105 to win outright and the 1.5-point pups. The disadvantage on the NBA odds board is so nominal that it's almost a moot point.
J.R. Smith is slated to return to game 3, which should be a boost for the Cavs as they attempt to take a 2-1 series lead in Chicago. They are riddled with injuries and shorthanded as it is without Smith's suspension that they've had to contend with in the first two games. Recent injury woes included Iman Shumpert, who is listed as questionable for game 3 after straining his groin in Wednesday's game. That said, if LeBron James can have another dominant game on Friday night, the Cavs have to fancy their chances of going up in this series.
Bulls Banking On Home Edge
The Bulls faced an entirely different Cavaliers team in game 2; namely, a possessed LeBron James. That was the main difference along with some line up changes that ended up stalling the Bulls' pick-and-roll game, which saw so much success in the opening game of the series. Derrick Rose had a subpar game 2, finishing with just 14 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. While Paul Gasol mustered up only 11 points and struggled to find the kind of space he enjoyed in game 1.
As the Bulls go into their first home game of this series, they'll be looking to bounce back and take the lead. The homecourt advantage is going to be key. That and maybe a less inspired LeBron James on game 3, or so they'll hope.
As it is, the Bulls are trading as the home favourites at -125 on the NBA betting odds board and as the 1.5-point home chalk. The onus is on the Bulls to come through on these NBA odds though as it is the Cavs that have the momentum right now.
NBA Betting Verdict:
Buoyed by a monster game 2 from LeBron James, the Cavs head to the windy city looking to steal one back on the road. When LeBron James plays like he did in game 2, there is no stopping him really. He's that X-factor. That game-changing player that can carry a team on his shoulders. Winning on the road is going to be the challenge for the Cavs in this series, banged up as they are. However, if there were a team to do it, it's the Cavs. And that's all down to LeBron James.
Therefore, we must shade the Cavs on our NBA picks on the money line and spread odds. Consider they remain the Eastern Conference faves to reach the NBA Playoffs, they're a steal bet in game 3 at their disadvantaged +105 NBA odds. It's not often that one gets a team of their quality at such juicy NBA odds. BUY. BUY. BUY.
NBA Picks: Cavs +105 and +1.5 at 5Dimes