There were a lot of people of the opinion that the Golden State Warriors, having won the NBA title so easily last season over the Cleveland Cavaliers, are actually getting a little bored. Whether they lost some interest during the regular season is certainly a matter of conjecture; there was actually a time when coach Steve Kerr decided to stir things up by letting the players themselves take over. Golden State did not earn the #1 seed in the Western Conference; that distinction went to the Houston Rockets, who won 65 games. And there are some doubts as to whether the Warriors would have won the West finals if Houston had not lost point guard Chris Paul to an injury.
So maybe it is with some doubts surrounding them that the defending NBA champs take the court to defend their title, once again facing the Cavaliers, in the best-of-seven series that begins on Thursday (9:05 PM ET in Oakland). BetAnySports customers can enjoy the action on ABC and place wagers while it is happening, using the state-of-the-art software from Live Betting Ultra.
2018 NBA Finals Betting Preview and Odds:
Even without the former Finals MVP, the Warriors are considerable favorites in the 2018 NBA Finals Betting Lines for this series that have been posted at BetAnySports:
Golden State Warriors -1000
Cleveland Cavaliers +650
In Game 1 of the series on Thursday night, Golden State is a 12.5-point favorite, with a total of 214.5 points.
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2018 NBA Finals Betting Preview – CJ’s Take
Having lost the last three games two seasons ago to the Cavaliers, Golden State decided to add a new weapon to its artillery, in the person of Kevin Durant, who had won the MVP award while with Oklahoma City. Then they cruised to a 4-1 series victory over Cleveland last year. Are they better this season? Well, the still have an awesome starting lineup, but perhaps the bench isn’t as good, and there are questions surrounding Andre Iguodala’s fitness to play, as he has a bone bruise in his leg.
That scare that Golden State got against Houston might teach them a lesson or two. They can’t take anything for granted, and they have to follow the formula that has put them in good stead for the last several seasons; namely, distributing the basketball. They led the league in assists this season, and as far as the percentage of baskets made in two-point territory that were the product of an assist, it wasn’t even close between them and the next NBA team on the list. But all too often, especially in the games his team lost, Kevin Durant set himself up one-on-one against an opponent try to make a play. He kind of “stopped” the ball, and the results were not glowing. Durant recovered in time for this team to win Game 7, and says that is very cognizant of the problem the created.
Having a healthy Iguodala gives Golden State the opportunity to send its smaller lineup out there, and this so-called “Death” lineup has been +22 per 100 possessions during the playoffs. And the more they use this lineup, the less effective time people like Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, not to mention Larry Nance, will have in the Cleveland rotation. And we should reiterate that Iguodala’s value, which is not lost on Kerr, is that he gives this team another staunch defender to throw at LeBron James.
Golden State benefited from Houston missing an incredible 27 straight triples in Game 7, and some of that may have been just the Rockets going cold, but also has to be chalked up to an extent to the Golden State defense, which is always been an underrated part of this team. The Cavaliers like to toss up three-pointers, and since we might see this as their “equalizer,” this is probably where the Warriors have to come up big, something that would be a little easier task for them if they can matchup with small lineup vs. small lineup.
Steph Curry may not be 100%; he went through a very uncertain stretch during the Houston series where he hit just two out of 13 triple attempts, but he righted himself eventually. If Golden State’s starters are even close to their A-game, they could score sweep here, or at the very least, put away Cleveland five games, something they are priced at +150 to do.
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By Charles Jay