So after 1230 regular season games, and 79 playoff games…we’re right back where we were a year ago with the Cavs facing the Warriors in the NBA finals.
Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers
Some talking heads seem to think that this is going to be a close series. I do not. If you haven’t backed GSW yet for the title, they’re available around 1.45 and I think that is too big. GSW were shorter odds in the series and in their home games v OKC, and OKC was/is a much tougher matchup than the Cavs.
OKC shortened their rotation and ramped up their defensive activity v GSW and there were long periods when GSW struggled to get a decent look due to OKC’s physicality/athleticism. Cavs on the other hand, only have Lebron as a good defender, and he hasn’t given 100% on D all season. Cavs also have the notorious bad defenders in Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving, when those 2 are on the floor they’re just gonna get smoked by the Warriors. Irving may have to guard Curry who looks back to his best, good luck with that, there no way he’s going to stay in front of him or not give him the slight bit of space he needs to get his 3 off. Irving didn’t play in this series last year but the Warriors probably wished he did. Cavs should play Delly more on Curry.
For the Cavs are eyes are on Lebron. Unfortunately for them he’s clearly regressed this year as his jump shot has gone downhill. His shooting behind the line is his worst since his rookie season. His points in these playoffs have relied on him getting to the rim. Unlike the teams he’s played in the East, he’s not gonna get to the hoop at will; the Warriors have premier perimeter defenders and rim protectors. Cavs may be overrated by some in this matchup because they’ve had an absolute cakewalk to the Finals, and by shooting the lights out in part, while the Warriors needed some of their own amazing shooting to get by the Thunder in 7 games.
Some people have been saying that the Cavs may have success with Love at Center. They may do well on offense with a line-up like this, but overall I’m not so sure. Love at Center would provide shooting at all positions and would be able to drag GSW’s big man out of the paint leaving it open for Lebron to attack, but that won’t matter if GSW plays their “death line-up” and they can switch everything. Love at the 5 would get abused in the PNR (he’ll get abused in the PNR at the 4 if he’s guarding Green too). Plus with Love at the 5 they would forgo having Thompson out there contesting the glass.
Curry and the Warriors are better this year, and are just clearly better than the Cavs on both sides of the ball. Cavs won’t be able to stop GSW scoring and will have problems scoring themselves. For the Cavs to succeed in this series they have to go for the standard high variance strategies:
• Slow pace. Like last year the Cavs have to slow the pace right down where they were even taking 5 seconds (or more) to even inbound the ball.
• Crash the boards. Tristan Thompson is one of the elite offensive rebounders in the league.
• 3pt shooting. Like the earlier rounds in the playoffs, the Cavs are gonna need to be hitting a crazy amount of 3s.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors in 5
This is what you want, enough of the words, here’s the bets:
Back GSW outright at 1.44.
Back GSW -1.5 games on the series handicap at 2.10 – this is the top bet of the Finals IMO.
As for Finals MVP there’s obviously no value in backing Curry. I really don’t think the Cavs will win, so don’t bother with any of them. There may be only 5 games so if Klay Thompson has an amazing shooting performance in a couple of games he may be worth a look. Players guarding Lebron have won the last 2 Finals MVP (Kawhi & Iggy) so for Iggy to repeat he would need Curry & Thompson not to play to their level. Draymond Green could win it if he gets a few triple doubles and guards Lebron successfully…basically I’m not recommending anything here yet. Like last year I ‘ll prefer to wait a few games to see if anyone’s worth backing.
Top points scorer: I can’t see anyone other than Curry or Thompson winning this award. As mentioned before: Lebron’s jumper isn’t the same, and will have either Iggy or Green guarding him and won’t be the dunk the ball 10 times every game. Curry’s best priced at 1.72 which is decent, but as I’m worried about Thompson, I’ve decided to back Curry to score more points than Lebron in the series at 1.66.