June 16, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
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Take Cleveland Cavaliers at +4 spread against Golden State Warriors risking 3% of the bankroll.
Down 3-2 in the series, this is it for the Cleveland Cavaliers. There are no second chances. They must win this game if they want to have any hope of extending their season. LeBron James is the unquestioned leader of this team and he has put in some remarkable performances thus far in this series and with this being the Cavaliers last home game of the season, we expect them to leave everything on the court tonight. The Warriors have taken the last two games from the Cavaliers, including the most recent meeting in Cleveland but we would be hard pressed to believe that James would allow his team's season to end on an 0-3 skid in arguably the most high profile game of the season.
This has been an incredibly close series throughout, however its worth mentioning that 2 of Golden State's 3 victories in the Finals have come thanks to last minute runs that ultimately decided the game. The Warriors were the team who performed late in the game and finished playing until the final whistle. They managed to outscore Cleveland 12-2 in overtime in Game 1 to take an early series lead. After a closely contested Game 5, the Warriors ended the game on a late 11-2 run which culminated with a Steph Curry shooting a 3 pointer over Matthew Dellavedova. In Games 2 & 3, Cleveland managed to play like a championship team and made the clutch shots needed at critical times to seal the game so they have shown their ability to close out the game that they absolutely "needed" at certain points in the series. That is what we expect them to do tonight. James has carried his team up until this point and has put on some spectacular performances in the process and we expect him to do so once again.
Other than LeBron James, we've also seen the emergence of other role players step up in the confines of Quicken Loans, with players like Dellavedova and Thompson have season best games at home in the playoffs. There is no doubt that some of the younger, less experienced members of the Cavs have been more comfortable at home in front of the friendly crowd. We also believe that David Blatt will likely pull out all the stops tonight. He will use every player and weapon at his disposa to score baskets. Guys like Mike Miller and James Jones could see a decent amount of action tonight.
Andre Iguodala has been stuck to LeBron James like glue since Steve Kerr put him in the starting lineup a few games ago and he has down an admirable job of coming up with big stops at critical moments. David Blatt knows this. He also knows that Iguodala has struggled from the free throw line this season. We saw him attempt to use the "hack-a-Dala" strategy late in Game 5 in order to send Iguodala to the line in an attempt to get Cleveland to close the gap on Golden State. This strategy is twofold. It allows Cleveland to potentially go 2 for 1 in scoring while also forces Steve Kerr to make a decision whether to leave Iguodala in the game. Taking him out would give LeBron James the extra breathing room he has been craving for the last couple of games.
As we have stated in the past, part of the art of handicapping is being able to see the big picture. Looking somewhat outside of the box at this moment, we have both number 1 seeds from each conference playing in Game 6 of the Finals. It has been highly publicized that this has been the most viewed Finals in NBA history and there is no doubt that a lot of people are making a lot of money having these two teams duke it out. Game 6 & 7 have proven to be the most lucrative games of the series and it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for the league to be clamoring for the all-decisive Game 7, which would mean that Cleveland would need to win this game. Now we're not saying that there will be any foul play involved in this game or that a Cleveland win is something that the league will ensure happens, however it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see the Cavaliers be shown just a little bit of favoritism at some critical moments in this game.
We do believe that this series will be extended to a Game 7, however, most of this series have been decided in the closing minutes of the game at which time points can be extremely precious. While we do believe Cleveland will get the outright victory tonight; taking the points is the safer investment and a very nice bonus. Back the enthusiastic home side as their backs are against the wall and they find themselves in a must-win situation!
Other notable facts to consider:
- Home team is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings.
- Cleveland is 15-3 ATS after playing 4 consecutive games as an underdog.
- Golden State is 3-12 ATS in road games after having won 2 of their last 3 games.
- Cleveland is 11-3 ATS in home games revenging a loss vs opponent of 10 points or more.
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