The NBA Finals Contenders Not A Surprise, But Will Odds Shock Bettors?

Jason Lake

Friday, May 26, 2017 3:00 PM UTC

Friday, May. 26, 2017 3:00 PM UTC

We’ve been waiting for this all season long: The Cleveland Cavaliers will meet the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Who belongs in our basketball picks?

So much for the Boston Celtics. They were on the wrong end of a historic beating Thursday night, losing 135-102 to the Cleveland Cavaliers (–9.5 away) in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavaliers set a team playoff record with 43 points in the first quarter, and LeBron James finished the day with 35 points to break Michael Jordan’s record for career playoff points.

Frankly, we’re happy to get out of that series at 2-3 ATS after recommending Boston in every game. The Cavs looked vulnerable in Games 3 and 4, but apparently, that’s because James came down with some kind of virus. He looks fine now. James also has another week to prepare for Game 1 of the NBA Finals on June 1 (9:00 p.m. ET, ABC), and he’ll need it, because his next opponents are one of the greatest teams of all-time.

The Men Who Stare at GOATs

We’re talking about the Golden State Warriors, of course. They’ve already opened as 7-point home favorites on the NBA odds board for Game 1 in Oakland, and once again, the math doesn’t look good for the Cavs; FiveThirtyEight projects Golden State as a 10-point chalk and has the Dubs winning the title 90 percent of the time.

The usual caveat applies here: Cleveland has played at a much higher level during these playoffs. But this isn’t the Celtics (+2.7 point differential), or the Toronto Raptors (+4.2), or the Indiana Pacers (–0.2). This is the Golden State Warriors (+11.6). This is Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala... I could go on.

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It wouldn't surprise me if the warriors beat the cavs in 4 or 5 games 🤷🏾‍♂️

— Damarious Randall (@RandallTime) May 24, 2017

Instead, here’s a quick rundown of teams throughout the rich history of the NBA who have played at the level Golden State has this year:

1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (+12.3)
1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (+12.3)
1995-96 Chicago Bulls (+12.2)

That’s it. All three of those teams won the championship, by the way. Oh, and did I mention the Warriors are 16-0 SU and 8-4 ATS in the postseason with a +16.3 point differential? Of course, we’re going to put them in our NBA picks to win the series; we’ll almost certainly recommend them for Game 1, as well, but that’s another story for another day.


Free NBA Pick: Warriors -250Best Line Offered: at Intertops
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