Okay NBA basketball betting buffs…for the fourth straight year, it’s LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as clear-cut underdogs in the NBA Finals against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Will the defending champion Dubs win back-to-back titles to claim their third NBA Championship in the last four years or can James lead the overmatched Cavs to another stunning title upset like he did two seasons ago?

If you’re looking to cash in on the opening game of this now, annual title tilt, let’s get to my expert NBA basketball pick on Game 1 right now!

The Warriors will host the Cavaliers on Thursday night at Oracle Arena at 9:00 PM ET.


Game Information

What: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
When: Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 9:00 PM ET
Where: Oracle Arena
TV: ABC
The Line: Golden State Warriors -12½ -110 | -1100 | U 214½ -110


Cleveland needed the full seven games to get past Victor Oladipo and the feisty Indiana Pacers in the first round but then they beat the hell out of the ‘super soft’  Toronto Raptors in a stunning sweep of the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers then went the distance again in the conference finals against the gritty Boston Celtics and won game 7 on the road to advance to the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive year. That’s the good news.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers Vs Golden State Warriors Game 1

The bad news is that Cleveland has needed several superhuman efforts this postseason from LeBron James in order to survive their first round and conference finals opponents en route to the NBA Finals. James has topped the 40-point plateau a whopping six times this postseason and is averaging a stupendous 34.0 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. Unfortunately, Cleveland’s next highest scorer is forward Kevin Love, but he’s putting up just  13.9 points per game. No other Cavs player is averaging double figures this postseason, hence, the big dilemma for the Cavs. As a team, the Cavaliers are averaging 101.2 points on 46.1 percent shooting and allowing 99.9 points on 45.6 percent shooting.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers Vs Golden State Warriors Game 1 2

Golden State dispatched the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans in an identical five games in the first and second rounds, but were taken the full seven games in their knock-down, drag-out Western Conference Finals matchup against Houston, which concluded this past Sunday when the Dubs picked up a season-saving victory on the road in Game 7.

This postseason, the Warriors are getting a team-high 29.0 points per game from Kevin Durant, 24.8 points per game from Steph Curry after he sat out the first six games of the playoffs while recovering from a knee sprain he suffered late in the regular season. Klay Thompson is averaging 20.5 points per game and Draymond Green is putting up 11.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists per contest. Golden State Warriors is averaging 109.1 points on 47.2 percent shooting while allowing 100.3 points on 42.6 percent shooting.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers Vs Golden State Warriors Game 1 3


Prediction

While I’m not really fond of the 12-point spread in this contest, I’m thinking it’s probably just about right – and very manageable for the Warriors. A quick look back at the Game 1 results in each of the last three finals matchups between these two teams say that Cleveland is in a lot of trouble.

After taking Game of the 2015 NBA Finals by ‘just’ eight points (108-100), Golden State has pounded Cleveland in each of their last two Game 1 finals meetings. The Dubs cruised to a 104-89 win in Game 1 of the 2016 NBA Finals and pounded LeBron and company even more in their 113-91 game 1 win a year ago.

Oracle Arena is going to be rocking to its full extent and the Warriors will want to send a message to LeBron James that he is not going to beat them with any one-man heroics like he did against the Pacers, Raptors, and Celtics.

NBA Finals Cleveland Cavaliers Vs Golden State Warriors Game 1 4

The Cavaliers are an awful 1-9 ATS in their last 10 Thursday games, 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games playing on 3 or more days rest and 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Golden State. Conversely, the Warriors are 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings against Cleveland. History, plus the fact that Cleveland is clearly overmatched, says the Dubs will win by double digits to cover the chalk!

Pick: Golden State Warriors -12½ -110


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