The Golden State Warriors will be out to avenge last year’s championship series defeat as they tip off the 2017 NBA Finals as solid home favorites against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 on Thursday.
The Warriors blew a 3-1 series lead a year ago versus the Cavaliers, who also rebounded from a 2015 loss to capture their first NBA title in Game 7 at the Oracle Arena.
Point spread: The Warriors opened as 6.5-point favorites; the total is at 225.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NBA betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 112.3-109.5, Warriors (NBA picks on every game)
Why the Cavaliers can cover the spread
Cleveland has won four of the past five meetings with Golden State both straight up and against the spread, including Games 5, 6 and 7 in last year’s NBA Finals.
The Cavaliers won twice at Oakland during that stretch and also earned a victory in Game 2 of the 2015 NBA Finals there.
While the Warriors added Kevin Durant in the offseason to give them an offensive edge, LeBron James will still be the best player on the court and can play good enough defense to neutralize him.
James was able to do that in the 2012 NBA Finals when he won his first title for the Miami Heat and Durant was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Why the Warriors can cover the spread
Golden State is a perfect 12-0 SU and 8-4 ATS in the 2017 playoffs despite playing without head coach Steve Kerr for most of the team’s run.
Kerr remains sidelined following surgery to repair a back injury, but assistant Mike Brown has done an outstanding job in his place.
Brown knows James extremely well from their days together in Cleveland, and he will look to exploit the star’s weaknesses in any way he can.
Making James work harder defensively in guarding Durant could be one of the keys to the series.
Smart betting pick
Durant is expected to be the difference-maker this time around for the Warriors as he seeks his first NBA championship. His presence should help keep their other top scorers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson more fresh and take pressure off them throughout the Finals.
Look for Golden State to push the pace and make an early statement with a big win and cover.
NBA betting trends
Cleveland is 6-2-1 ATS in its last nine games.
Cleveland is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five games on the road.
Golden State is 5-1 ATS in its last six games.
Source: Bleacher Report
Featured Image: Hindustan Times
Inset Image: Bleacher Report