June 9, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
Take Cleveland Cavaliers at +2 spread against Golden State Warriors risking 3% of bankroll.
This year's NBA Finals, at least up until this point, has certainly lived up to the hype. The fact that the first two contests were decided in overtime shows that not much separates these two teams. That being said, Game 3 now shifts to Quicken Loans Arena which we believe should give the Cavaliers the edge in this contest. The Cavaliers managed to get their first ever NBA Finals victory when they knocked off the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena in Game 2. To get that 1st win is often the most difficult and the most nerve-wracking. Now that they have overcome that hurdle, they can be more confident in themselves without having that added pressure weighing in the back of their minds giving them something to build off of.
This is a team that still has some young players in the likes of Matthew Dellavedova and Tristan Thompson who are not only playing playoff basketball for the first time ever, but have also been thrust into major roles in the NBA Finals and for the most part they have held their own. As they gain confidence and get more experience under the bright lights and high pressure situation that is this stage. Both players performed well on the road in the first two contests and we expect their production to even increase now that they are back in the comforts of Quicken Loans Arena. It's a fact that guys like Thompson and Dellavedova are a bigger offensive force at home than on the road. Not everyone is blessed with the confidence that LeBron James has to perform in any situation. Many players simply fare better in a comfortable environment with the sounds of their home crowd supporting them. While Thompson has been killing the Warriors on the glass already this series, he has scored only a total of 4 points in the first 2 games! At home however, he's averaged scoring in double-digits in his last 3 games! There is no question that LeBron James has carried a bulk of the offense for the first two games, but we expect that he will receive some much needed offensive support in this contest.
We spoke about players like Dellavedova and Thompson upping their play at home, but we also expect the same from JR Smith and Iman Shumpert at the SG position as well. Both Smith and Shumpert have been rather quiet offensively in the first two contests and we expect to see that change tonight as one if not both players should see in increase in productivity. These are two players who certainly feed off the energy of the crowd and when Smith gets hot from behind the line, he can be a force to deal with. Cleveland also has multiple veteran role players who are well versed in big time moments and aren’t afraid to step up and shoot when needed. Everyone talks about the Warriors' great depth and for good reason but Cleveland has some players that have won championships before and done so in limited roles. Nonetheless, in front of a passionate home crowd, we wouldn't be surprised if a player like James Jones or Mike Miller comes in off the bench and hits a big-time 3 to shift momentum. The two veterans have done it in the past in clutch moments and can do so again.
A big strength of this Cavaliers team has been their ability to crash the glass and grab rebounds. They have outrebounded each of their playoff opponents during their run this season including outrebounding the Warriors by 10 in Game 2. While the edge on the boards may not be as great in this contest, we do expect them to maintain their edge on the glass in this contest. That is likely Cleveland's key to victory and we believe David Blatt knows that. They way Game 2 ended says a lot about Blatt's team. It was a truly impressive finish for the Cavaliers. To blow an 11-point lead in the final 3 minutes of regulation and have the game taken to overtime in hostile territory, fresh off an overtime loss had to have been extremely tough to overcome. And yet did they did it! The Warriors had only lost 3 games at Oracle Arena all season long so it would have been easy for the Cavaliers to already head into this series mentally defeated, yet they persevered. That showed a lot of heart, character and determination. With that victory still fresh in their minds, they should have the confidence to know they can hang around and beat this team.
Steph Curry, the reigning MVP of the league had arguably his worst shooting performance of the season in Game 2. It was all over the media after the game and the very next day. That seemed to be all the basketball analysts were talking about. Because of that everyone is expecting Curry to bounce back tonight with a strong performance. We are not saying that won't be the case as Curry is simply not a player who will have back to back poor performances. What we find most interesting however is not that everyone has been talking about Curry, but why no one has been mentioning the fact that Cleveland as a team shot only 32% from the field in the last game! It was their worst shooting performances ever and something that we can't see continuing! Therefore while Curry could play better tonight, we also expect the entire Cavs offense to be more efficient! Cleveland should get the outright win but we'll gladly take the 2 extra precious points for added insurance.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Cleveland is a perfect 7-0 at home when the total is between 190 to 194.5 points!
- Golden State is 3-11 ATS in road games after having won 2 of their last 3 games.
- Cleveland is 25-11 ATS after 5 straight games of allowing a shooting percentage of 42% or less.
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