Through two decisive Golden State Warriors wins in the NBA Finals, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and cohorts haven’t left many hints that momentum will shift with the venue change for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 of the series is set for Wednesday night.
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are normally a sizable favorite at Quicken Loans Arena, and typically deliver a cover. However, their outlook hinges on whether PF Kevin Love, who suffered a head injury on Sunday, will make it through the NBA concussion protocol and be cleared to play. So with Curry, his Splash Brothers backcourt mate Thompson and the Warriors out to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, Game 3 has become a pick’em at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The total is 205.5 points. Coincidentally, the total was been over in both 12 of the Warriors’ last 20 road games against the Eastern Conference, and in 12 of the Cavaliers’ last 20 home games against the Western Conference. In the playoffs, the totals are little different: four of Golden State’s seven playoff road games have gone under, as have four of Cleveland’s seven home games.
The surprise of the series with the Warriors has been their 85-40 edge against the Cavaliers in bench scoring, with F Andre Iguodala, G Leandro Barbosa and G Shaun Livingston making valuable contributions. The Warriors are 7-10 straight-up and 9-8 against the spread in road playoff games during the last two seasons. They are also up in the series even though they haven’t needed a big shooting night from Curry. Thompson has been getting open three-point looks against the Cavaliers’ defense, and as his wont, has been burying them.
The Cavaliers, whom James had a direct hand in assembling, are 14-3 SU and 10-7 ATS in home playoff games over the last two seasons according to the OddsShark NBA Database. Of course, much of that track record was accumulated against the weak Eastern Conference. Point guard Kyrie Irving has also been struggling to finish drives and distribute the ball. Even if Love does play, he will not be 100 percent and has a bad matchup in the form of Warriors F Draymond Green.
Cleveland has also been struggling with the NBA’s ‘new math,’ which involves freeing up the three-point line on offense and limiting the opponents’ access to it on defense. They are just 12 of 44 (27%) on triple attempts through two games whereas the Warriors are 24 of 60 (40%).
Golden State, which had a regular-season record 73 wins, is vying to be the sixth NBA franchise since 1985 to win back-to-back championships.