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James, Cavaliers Seek Game 6 NBA Finals Win as Slim Favorite

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Game 6 of the NBA Finals might boil down to whether LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ advantage in the paint can continue to cancel out the Golden State Warriors’ three-point potency.

James and the Cavaliers, who are out to become just the third team to force a Game 7 in the NBA Finals after trailing 3-1, are listed as two-point betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com against the Warriors for Game 6 on Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.

Golden State will have F Draymond Green back after he was suspended for Game 5, but their low-post presence is even thinner now that C Andrew Bogut (left knee) is out for the series.

The total is 207.5 points. The total has gone under in six of the Warriors and Cavaliers’ 11 NBA Finals games over the past two seasons, with two pushes. The total has gone under in 10 of the Warriors’ last 17 road playoff games. There is an even 9-9-1 split across the Cavaliers’ last 19 playoff home games.

With the versatile 6-foot-7 Green back but Bogut gone, the Warriors might turn to having Green play center in a small lineup, as he did when they beat the Cavaliers three times in a row to win the 2015 NBA Finals.

For Golden State, which is 11-8 straight-up and 10-9 against the spread in road playoff games over the last two seasons, Green’s return has a twofold benefit offensively.

His passing can help the Warriors play their ‘pace and space’ game that creates great three-point looks for the Splash Brothers, PG Stephen Curry and SG Klay Thompson. Green and the also undersized but multi-skilled F Andre Iguodala also pose scoring ability that not only must be respected, but also relieves pressure on Curry and Thompson to take ill-advised shots for the sake of it.

Golden State is 7-4 SU and 7-4 ATS in the last two NBA Finals. The Warriors are 5-4 SU and 5-4 ATS in road games against James’ teams since 2012-13.

Cleveland, which won 112-97 in Game 5 on the strength of James and Kyrie Irving becoming the first teammates to ever score 40+ points apiece in a NBA Finals game, is 15-4 SU and 11-8 ATS in playoff home games over the last two seasons according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

The Cavaliers, who have got less than little from PF Kevin Love in the series, likely will continue to rely on a two-man attack until Golden State forces them to find other options. Guard J.R. Smith had 20 points on just 13 shots in their previous home win during the series.

In the low post, the Cavaliers should have an edge through the length and strength of both James and C Tristan Thompson, as long as both of their nimble bigs manage their fouls and stay healthy.

No team has ever overcome a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA Finals.

Klay Thompson, Aaron Gordon betting favorites on Three-Point, Slam Dunk contest odds

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It’s been 10 years since NBA All-Star Saturday saw the Three-Point Contest winner keep his title, which is something to keep in mind when assessing the contenders this weekend.

Klay Thompson, the Golden State Warriors shooting guard, is at +110 odds to win the Three-Point Contest at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic is a heavy -155 favorite on the odds to win the Slam Dunk Contest now that defending champion Zach LaVine is done for the season with a knee injury.

Both events will be held on Saturday in New Orleans, on the eve of the all-star game.

Thompson is slated to have seven challengers, including one past champion, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (+400), who won in 2013. No player has had a three-year gap between wins since the contest’s creation, but Irving is also having a career year as a scorer and his price is tempting.

The Houston Rockets’ Eric Gordon (+900) is one of the league’s most prolific perimeter shooters and probably has the most value on the board.

The Three-Point Contest field is rounded out by the Portland Trail Blazers’ C.J. McCollum (+800), the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (+900), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young (+900), the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker (+1100) and the Dallas Mavericks’ Wes Matthews (+1100).

Lowry being priced where he is might give pause. The point guard has always been more of a slasher than a pure shooter, but added the three-ball to his arsenal this season and is hitting 41.7 per cent of the time, well above his career 36.5% rate.

In the Slam Dunk Contest, it’s not necessarily Aaron Gordon and everyone else competing for second place. Gordon will have to face ratcheted-up expectations after his dazzling runner-up effort in Toronto in 2016. Phoenix Suns rookie Derrick Jones Jr. (+130) is a high flier and his status as something of an unknown could help improve his scores.

The Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan (+800), as a seven-foot center, doesn’t fit the profile of a dunk contest winner. The Indiana Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III (+900) fills out the board on the NBA betting lines for Saturday night.

 

NBA Christmas Day Slate has Warriors, Spurs Among Odds Favorites

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Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors typically manage to cover when they face a close line on the road. The Warriors are listed as 3.5-point favorites on the NBA betting lines against the Cleveland Cavaliers for their Christmas Day matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Warriors are finding their peak form and are 14-2 straight-up and 7-8-1 against the spread on the road this season. The smallest line in any of the ATS losses, though, was 8.5 points.

The main matchup will be Durant against LeBron James, who has helped Cleveland forge a home record of 15-2 SU and 10-6-1 ATS. The Cavaliers are trying to replace injured SG J.R. Smith (right thumb surgery). Star forward Kevin Love (left knee bruise) also has an injury issue, but only had to play 25 minutes during a blowout win on Friday.

The Christmas Day slate begins with the New York Knicks hosting the Boston Celtics in a pick’em contest. The key matchup will be at point guard – the Knicks’ Derrick Rose and the Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas. Boston is 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in its last 10 road games and has found a rhythm since C Al Horford returned from injury.

Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (right knee contusion) could have his minutes closely monitored to avoid aggravating his injury.

The San Antonio Spurs are favored by 7.5 points against the Chicago Bulls in a matchup headlined by two elite small forwards, the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard and the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler. It is tough to go against San Antonio being 14-0 SU and 11-3 ATS in December home games over the last two seasons, particularly with Chicago’s erratic perimeter shooting.

The Bulls are 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as a road underdog, according to the OddsShark NBA Database.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are favored by 4.5 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Thunder PG Russell Westbrook is carrying his team which has been inconsistent at home, going 9-6 SU and 8-7 ATS this season.

Minnesota has plenty of promise in C Karl-Anthony Towns and SF Andrew Wiggins, but awful defense has kept them from getting into the playoff picture. The Timberwolves are 1-9 SU and 4-6 ATS in their last 10 road games against the Thunder.

And the availability of Chris Paul (hamstring) will weigh heavily on the lines for the Christmas nightcap between the Los Angeles Lakers and Paul’s Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are also without PF Blake Griffin (minor knee surgery), but D’Angelo Russell and the young Lakers are struggling at 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four divisional games.

The Clippers are 10-0 SU and 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games as the favorite against the Lakers.