NBA tip-off: The best Finals bets as the Warriors take on the Cavaliers
Home advantage should prove crucial as Golden State and Crucial meet fore the title yet again...
After three dull rounds, it’s finally time for the finals match-up we have been expecting (and hoping for) all along.
Both Golden State and Cleveland come into the series in strong form and well-rested, having lost just one game combined across the entire course of the playoffs so far.
The Warriors – undefeated in the postseason – are favourites to win the opening game, and are well worth backing given their home advantage.
They have won 42 of their 47 games at Oracle Arena in the regular season and playoffs, while the Cavaliers have lost 21 of 48 on the road.
These teams split their two meetings in the regular season, with the home side winning on both occasions.
The Warriors lost by just a single point in the Christmas Day game in Cleveland before thrashing the Cavaliers by 35 back in California three weeks later.
Golden State’s dizzying ball movement and complicated offense makes them incredibly difficult for opposing teams to work out, and they won the first two games of last year’s Finals by an average of 24 points as Cleveland made a slow start.
LeBron James has lost five consecutive Game 1s in the finals, and the same result should be expected here.
Back the Warriors to win by at least seven points at .
Golden State are favourites to win the title, and ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives them a 93 per cent chance of doing so.
While Cleveland are now playing their best basketball of the season, the Warriors have been at this level for the entire campaign, and could probably have reached 73 regular-season wins again had they really pushed for it.
They pushed the Cavaliers all the way last season, and have since added one of the five best players in the NBA to their already talented roster.
Stopping Steph Curry is hard enough – although Cleveland managed it last year – but doing so when Kevin Durant is also commanding defensive attention is almost impossible.
Golden State are to win the series 4-0 and complete an undefeated postseason, but the Cavaliers’ impressive home record means that is highly unlikely.
There is definitely plenty of value in backing the Warriors to win by two games or more, though, at .