The 2015 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors gets underway later this week with Game 1 of this best-of-seven showdown scheduled for Thursday night at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Docsports.com has you covered for all the action with our top five handicapping tips heading into this highly-anticipated showdown.
Home-court advantage in any NBA playoff series is huge, and that fact is only magnified when it comes down to the NBA Finals. Cleveland ended the regular season with a home record of 31-10 straight up, while Golden State lost only two games SU at home all season long.
Through the first three rounds of this season’s playoffs, the Cavaliers were 6-1 SU in seven previous home games while Golden State was 7-1 SU at home. What bettors need to keep in mind is each team’s record against the spread on their home court. According to ATS records this season, Cleveland is an even 24-24 ATS on its home court, and Golden State is 29-19-1 ATS at home. Recent betting trends tend to favor the road team a bit in this matchup with the Cavaliers going 4-7 ATS in their last 11 home games and the Warriors going 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games at home.
Injuries and the Betting Odds
Both of these teams have gotten a bit nicked up during the course of these playoffs, and heading into Game 1 there are a few injury concerns for each side. Kyrie Irving is not listed on Cleveland’s latest injury list, but he has missed some time in the postseason with nagging injuries to his foot and knee. Golden State’s current injury list on Covers has Klay Thompson listed as “probable” for Thursday night after suffering a concussion in the series against the Houston Rockets, and Marreese Speights is still listed as “questionable” after missing his last eight games due to an injured calf.
The bottom line in a series this big is to keep a careful watch on the injury lists as the series wears on. Neither team will try and tip their hand when it comes to injuries, so there may be some last-minute swings to the betting odds if a big-name player sits or plays as a game-time decision.
Over and Under Betting Trends
Many times you can find some solid value in the betting odds for the total lines for the NBA playoffs, and this series should follow suit. There has been a clear advantage for a play on the “under” for both these teams in the postseason so far.
Game logs for the Cavaliers have the total going over in their last two games against the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals, but prior to that the total actually stayed under in eight of their previous 12 playoff games. The trends for Golden State paint the same picture with the total staying under in 11 of its first 15 postseason games.
Tale of the Tape: James vs Curry
Both of these teams have a quality starting lineup and solid depth on throughout their bench, but this series will most likely come down to which one of their superstars plays the best. This will be LeBron James’ fifth straight appearance in the NBA Finals, and he has led Cleveland in this season’s playoffs with a team-high 27.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 8.3 assists a game. Stephen Curry has led the way for Golden State with 29.2 points and 6.4 assists a game, and he is shooting 43.7 percent from 3-point range through his first 15 playoff games.
The biggest difference between the two is the past experience on the NBA’s biggest stage. This edge clearly goes to James, and it may actually be a deciding factor in which team goes on to win this season’s title.
Betting Trends: the Intangibles
Past betting trends can’t predict the future, but they can offer clues as to what might happen in both Game 1 and this series as a whole. According to Covers, Cleveland is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games against a team from the West, and it is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games against a team from the Pacific Division.
The Warriors have failed to cover in five of their last six games against a team from the Central Division, but they are 20-8-2 ATS in their last 30 home games against a team with a SU winning record on the road.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Golden State has a SU 7-2 edge in the last nine meetings, and it is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games between the two. The total has stayed under in the last three meetings.
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