9:00 PM EST
Cavs Moneyline +145 over Warriors (1o units)
You guys know me and know I’m not a guy to throw around units lightly. My 10 unit plays are very rare (usually reserved for only my strongest spots in the NFL) but this is easily my top play of the NBA season, maybe the sports year period.
I haven’t felt this strongly about an NBA game since another one of my very rare 10 unit NBA plays which was the Warriors over OKC in game 6 last year (those of you who were a member last year remember that call). I would never call a game a lock but I flew out to Vegas to bet this game and hit the series price again, enough said.
Even though the Cavs have ultimately gotten blown out in each of the first two games, this series is far from over. The home team is going to dominate this series until an “anything can happen” Game 7. The Warriors have looked unstoppable but all they have ultimately done so far was is what they were supposed to do: defend their home court. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if they won by 1 or 101, they just did what they were expected to do and the Cavs will have a chance to do the same. The Cavs biggest flaw through the first two games beside their turnovers in the first game was the lack of production from their role players.
Through First Two Games:
Tristan Thompson – 8 points
Korver – 8 points
JR Smith – 3 points
Deron Williams – 0 points
All four were beyond pathetic on the road in the first two games, but you know what the beauty of playing at home is? Role players ALWAYS PLAY BETTER AT HOME.
There is no chance all of these guys continue to struggle when they return to their home court tonight. Kyrie had an off game last game but he is going to go off tonight and I think we see Lebron have the best game of the playoffs yet. Those two will combine for 65+ and Love will chip in for at least another 20. One other role player is really going to step up tonight, not sure who, could be Korver or JR Smith, but someone is going to. I also love the Cavs to get back to their 50% shooting from the field and 40% from 3. Don’t be shocked when the Cavs make 25+ threes tonight.
The look ahead line on this game at the beginning of the series was Cavs -2. For most casual bettors and fans alike it’s a forgone conclusion that this series is over and it’s most likely a sweep. That public perception along with the one sided betting action (over 70% of the money is on the Warriors) is what moved this line close to five points. The Warriors are almost unbeatable in Oakland and in hindsight there’s no way I should have faded them the first two games, but Game 3 on the road in the finals is a completely different animal. The role players are going to step up and the Cavs will benefit from the home court calls.
There’s a reason why the home team in the finals in game 3 have such a great record ATS and straight up and it’s because in the finals the officials definitely favor the home team. Tonight the calls will be favorable toward the Cavs like they were in the first two games for the Warriors. Not using that as an excuse at all but there is no way Curry will be shooting 10 foul shots in the first quarter again or getting away with a double dribble like he did last game.
This is the highest rated series since the late 90’s so obviously the NBA wants this to be a competitive series. We are just a few years removed from a scandal with the refs. Not saying this game is going to be rigged at all but let’s be honest, the league would love for this series to go 7 games again. It is a little funny that Monty McCutchen is reffing this game, the same guy who reffed Games 3 & 5 of last years finals, two games which were must wins for the Cavs to extend the series to seven.
Again, I’m not a conspiracy theorist or suggesting the NBA is rigged, it’s just the way sports work… let’s be honest at the end of the day the NBA is a huge business (why the players call in “the Show”) and sometimes series get help being extended because of favorable calls for the home team.
Here’s a snippet from this article which explains the home court dynamic in this year’s hockey playoffs (short article that is worth a read).
“In this year’s Stanley Cup final, the Pittsburgh Penguins went up 2-0 in the series before the Nashville Predators tied things up at home. The Predators had the first goal of the series called back on a 50-50 non-offside call that was overturned on replay. Then Nashville went down 3-0 in a hurry thanks in part to a generous five-on-three power play for the Pens.
That stuff happens on the road. Then back at home the Preds got the benefit – at least I felt – and we’re headed back to Pittsburgh all tied up.”
All of that aside, I still like the way the Cavs matchup with the Warriors if everyone shows up to play. They will need all hands on deck to win, meaning Kyrie, Tristan Thompson and the bench players will have to step up, but at home with the series on the line in a position they are very familiar with from last year, I expect them to do just that.
For all prisoners of the moment who want to crown the Warriors already and expect them to sweep this series, you need to remember the Cavs haven’t even had a chance to play a home game yet. The series was 2-0 for the Warriors last year as well, and even though Kevin Durant moved to Golden State, King James hasn’t gone anywhere.
He can’t do it on his own and is going to need every bit of help from Love, Kyrie, and the others, but the Cavs have been in this position before with their backs against the wall and I fully expect them to rise to the occasion again tonight.
I love Lebron to have his biggest game of the playoffs and for Kyrie to put on one of his trademark offensive displays. Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and the other role players will play much better at home, on both ends of the court, and the Cavs will get their first win of the series and will be within one game of tying this series back up.
Take the Cavs!