The Golden State Warriors didn’t cover the spread in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but they escaped Oracle Arena with an overtime victory. They won despite 51 points from LeBron James and a meager performance from Kevin Durant, and are still a double-digit favorite for Sunday night’s Game 2.
NBA Finals Game 2 Prediction
According to OddsShark.com, the Warriors are an 11-point favorite for Game 2. They are -600 on the moneyline, with the Cavaliers the underdog at +505.
Despite a close game throughout, bookmakers are unimpressed with Cleveland’s effort. The series price has nearly doubled after one game, with some bookmakers now pricing the Warriors as high as -1800 to win the series. That translates to a roughly 94 percent chance the Warriors will win the title.
So how can the Cavaliers respond? To be fair, they did everything right for the overwhelming majority of regulation. Cleveland was one George Hill free throw away from stealing Game 1, and was then one J.R. Smith buzzerbeater from the same fate. Instead the game elongated, Golden State opened overtime on a 9-0 run, and we swing from the wildest possible outcome (Smith buzzerbeater) to the most predictable (Dubs by 10).
After the Smith gaffe, the next-strangest thing about Game 1 was the performance of Kevin Durant. He was just 8-22 from the field, and NBA Stats noted that it was the fourth time in five games that Durant has shot under 38 percent from the field.
The Cavs dominated the Warriors 21-10 in second chance points, and need to continue to win on the offensive glass to keep pace. Because on the other side, the Warriors outscored the Cavs 28-18 on fast breaks. The Cavaliers want to play as much of a half-court game as possible, and that involves crashing the boards whenever possible.
LeBron led all scorers scoring in the paint, and that is probably going to be part of Golden State’s gameplan in this series. The Celtics also made an attempt to wear LeBron down, and just couldn’t hit shots in Game 7. The Warriors will be fine with exhausting LeBron by making him drive on offense and defend Durant on defense, knowing their supporting cast will carry them where Cleveland’s cannot.
NBA Finals Game 2 Best Bets
If there’s anything easy to root for in this series, it’s the over. If you caught your Game 1 total at 214 like me, you’ll know that the number hinged on George Hill’s final free throws. The first shot put the total exactly at 214, with the number easily hitting in overtime. Dramatic stuff. Not as dramatic as if you had Cleveland ML, though.
For Game 2, I’m sticking with the over. LeBron probably won’t shoot 60 percent from the field, but I also don’t expect Kevin Durant or every Cavalier not named Kevin Love to put up a stinker. The pace of Golden State always puts the over in play, and the Cavaliers defense will allow this to hit regardless of margin.
Game 2 Bets: Over, Potential small parlay with Cleveland +11 and Over 214
Source: Heavy Sports