The Three-Match. The Trilogy. The Three-For-All. The Rubber Match. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year. It’s real, and it’s going to be spectacular.
Considering the way the Dubs have steamrolled their way through the 2017 playoffs, it’s no surprise to see them as pretty significant favorites at home for Game 1. But if there’s one team that won’t back down to the Bay Area juggernaut, it’s the Cavs, who are looking to repeat as champs.
Here’s everything you need to know about the betting information for Thursday’s finals opener at Oracle Arena:
Warriors vs. Cavaliers: NBA Finals Game 1
Spread: Warriors (-7), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: Warriors (-280); Cavaliers (+240)
Warriors Record Against the Spread: 48-42-4
Cavaliers Record Against the Spread: 43-48-4
Preview & Prediction
Both teams have had their offenses clicking at unbelievably efficient levels this postseason. The Cavs have an offensive rating of 120.7 (points per 100 possessions) with a true-shooting percentage of 63.4, while the Warriors sit 115.8 and 61.3, respectively. For reference, the Warriors led the NBA in both stats during the regular season at 113.2 and 59.7.
The difference in this series could come down to defense, and that’s where the Warriors have the advantage. The Dubs have an overall defensive rating of 99.1 in the playoffs, while their starting five (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Zaza Pachulia) has stifled opposing teams to just 93.4 points per 100 possessions and 40.4 percent from the field.
Cleveland’s defense, meanwhile, hasn’t fared nearly as well. The Cavs have a defensive rating of 104.6 in the postseason, while the Kyrie Irving, JR Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson lineup is at 105.1. The difference in defensive numbers is even more stark if you look at regular season numbers, though that’s not a totally fair comparison since the Cavs tend to turn the dial up when they get to the playoffs.
Ultimately, the Warriors are the deeper team, and they’re at home. They should extend their postseason winning streak to 13 games, but the Cavs are too good to not cover a fairly large spread.
Prediction: Warriors 109, Cavaliers 105