NBA Finals Game 1: Cavs @ Warriors

NBA odds

NBA Finals Game 1

1. Cleveland @ Golden State (11:00am)

Best: Under 226.5 points ($1.91)

After what can only be described as a disappointing playoffs the NBA Finals could not have come soon enough. What we had all predicting prior to the start of the season has eventuated with the Warriors and Cavs to meet for the third year in a row – the first time two teams will meet in a 3rd consecutive finals in the history of the NBA. There is no hiding the bad blood between the two sides and it is a rivalry that continues to grow.

The Warriors made light work of the Cavs two years ago and were on track to do the same last year when they were up 3-1. A suspension to Draymond Green changed everything and the Cavs ended the drought for the city of Cleveland. The Warriors have since added a former MVP in Kevin Durant to their roster while the Cavs have done plenty of shopping themselves picking up Deron Williams and Kyle Korver among others.

Golden State went 67-15 with the best record in the league while the Cavs struggled following the All-Star break finishing as the second seed in the East with a 51-31 record, the same win percentage as the Clippers and Jazz. In the playoffs it has been a very different story. Cleveland have gone from strength to strength posting a 12-1 record while the Warriors have been flawless going 12-0 with a average winning margin of over 16ppg – both NBA records. \Neither side has been tested in the playoffs but The Wolf believes it is the Warriors who have a lot more to prove this time around. Up 3-1 last year they should have got it done and with Durant hunting for that elusive ring you can be sure that he will leave nothing in the tank.

Statistically we are in for an offensive display. The Warriors rank 1st in almost all offensive categories including points per game, offensive efficiency, floor percentage, 1st quarter points and fastbreak points. Over the last 12-18 months there was this notion that they were nothing but a 3-point shooting team but that is far from the truth. They rank 4th in point from three’s and are behind Houston, Cleveland and Boston in that category. It is a category where the Cavs lead the league in efficiency. Cleveland shoot 39.1% from beyond the arc – better than any other team but The Wolf warns us that the Warriors are the best team in the league when it comes to defending the deep ball.

The Wolf is convinced that the weakness of the East has pulled a blindfold of belief over the Cavs and their followers. There is a false perception that the Cavs will try to isolate Curry in the pick and roll and generate easy offence. These believers seem to forget that beating the Warriors is done on the defensive end and that is where they are a nightmare. Curry and Durant have been spectacular in the playoffs with the latter being unbelievably efficient.

The Warriors are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 with the Over going 8-2 in that stretch. They are an incredible 20-6-1 ATS in their last 27 and 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 after allowing 100 or more in their previous game. The only concern in the series opener is that they are slow starters coming off an extended break. Cleveland on the other hand are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 when on 3 or more days rest and 7-0-1 ATS in their last 8 road games.

In a true reflection of how the NBA is changing the set total is the largest in NBA finals history over the last 3 decades. With both teams setting scoring records it is easy to understand why the total has been set so high but The Wolf says “this is the NBA Finals people and we will see half court basketball for large parts”. The Under is 8-1-2 in the last 11 meetings in Oakland and 4-1-1 in the last 6 overall. It is also 28-13-2 in the Warriors last 43 at home to teams with a winning record. If the Cavs are to steal a game on the road it has to be this one and they will have to get off to a fast start. The Wolf has the Warriors winning but not by a lot. Cavs with the start in the Under.

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