NBA Picks: Take Warriors As Underdogs vs. LeBron And The Cavaliers

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 18, 2016 7:34 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 18, 2016 7:34 PM UTC

In what may be part two of an NBA Finals preview, the Warriors may very well complete a regular season sweep of LeBron James and the Cavaliers as underdogs in Cleveland Monday.  


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NBA Pick: Warriors +3
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


In the second rematch this year between the participants of last season’s NBA Finals and also in a possible preview of a Finals rematch this year Monday night, it is virtually impossible to resist the best team in basketball in the defending champion Golden State Warriors (37-4, 24-16-1 ATS) as underdogs when they pay a visit to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers (28-10, 17-20-1 ATS) at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH at 8:05 ET on the NBA on TNT.

The point spread at Heritage Sports has Golden State as a small road underdog for this contest with the current line at +3 with NBA odds of -105.


Will These Teams Meet Again?
This is the second and final NBA Finals rematch this regular season from last year after the Warriors beat the Cavaliers 89-83 in Oakland on Christmas Day, but we have a feeling that these teams will meet again come June in an NBA Finals rematch, with no disrespect intended toward the San Antonio Spurs who are also in the mix.

Golden State has uncharacteristically been the losing NBA pick in two of its last three games following its worst loss of the season 113-95 to the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills Saturday in what may have been a look-ahead spot with this marquee game up next, as the Warriors also lost at Denver three games ago with a home blowout of the Lakers sandwiched in between those losses. Still, Golden State maintains a 1½-game lead over the Spurs for the top seed in the West.

Thus this is a battle of top seeds with the Cavaliers leading the Toronto Raptors by four games for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. You may recall that the Cavaliers were actually the two-seeds in the East en route to the NBA Finals last year, but they proved how little seeding means to the best teams in the league by sweeping away the top seeded Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Finals before losing to the Warriors in six games.


Fulfilling Expectations
These two teams were the two favorites to win the championship on the NBA Futures before the season, and things have gone according to plan so far not only with these teams each owning the best record in their respective conferences but also with the third choice the San Antonio Spurs looking like the only obstacle to a Finals rematch.

And for the second straight season, the Warriors look like the best team in basketball statistically, validating their phenomenal record. Offense has never been a problem for Golden State as long as reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry mans the point guard spot, and this year has been par for the course with the Warriors leading the NBA in scoring with 113.9 points per game and in three-point shooting at 42.4 percent while ranking second in field goal percentage (48.4).

Yes the Warriors play at a fast pace, but they still lead the league in offensive efficiency grading out at 111.9 points per 100 possessions.

But what makes Golden State a great all-around team is its defense, a unit that is often overlooked due to ranking just 19th in the NBA in points against at 102.7 per game. That average goes back to the Warrior’s pace though, as the fact of the matter is that they are third in the league in field goal percentage allowed at 42.7 percent, first in three-point defense at 31.4 percent and third in defensive efficiency at 99.0 points per 100 possessions!


Not Surprising Favorites
Now do not get us wrong, as we are not surprised that the Cavaliers are small favorites at home here, where they are 15-1 on the season. And also, the Cavaliers are second in the NBA in points against defensively allowing just 95.1 points per game on 43.9 percent shooting.

However the Cavaliers play in the weaker Eastern Conference, so those defensive numbers would probably not hold up if they played in the West. Granted, they did hold the Warriors to 89 points on 41.0 percent shooting on Christmas Day, but we expect Golden State to make the necessary adjustments for this contest.

And let up not forget that the Warriors did win that first meeting after all as the Cavaliers shot a woeful 31.6 percent. Granted we look for the Cleveland to make adjustments and improve offensively here also, but the fact remains that Golden State is better on both ends of the court. There can be no debate that the Warriors have the better offense, and defensively Cleveland is ranked fourth in efficiency, which while excellent is still just behind the Warriors.


Rarely Lose Two Straight ATS
Finally, the Warriors may have been caught looking ahead to this game in their blowout loss to the Pistons, but that may set them up well here considering that they are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS loss, 46-22-2 ATS in their last 70 games following a straight up loss and 19-6-2 ATS in their last 27 games following a straight up loss by more than 10 points! Golden State is also still 16-7-1 ATS in its last 24 road games.

While we have nothing but respect for LeBron James and the Cavaliers, we simply feel that the Warriors are much better when both teams play to the best of their abilities and we look for Golden State to prove that with the mild upset on the road in Cleveland Monday.

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