This writer was both right and wrong regarding Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors. I wrote that there was no doubt that Golden State would win. I was sort of wrong there as Cleveland had every chance to win … but didn’t. We were right in recommending Cavs +12 on the NBA Finals betting odds. What’s the call for Game 2 on Sunday? Let’s take a look at those NBA lines.
How to Bet Cavaliers at Warriors Game 2 Odds & Info
When: Sunday, 8 PM ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland
Radio: 1100 AM (Cleveland) / 95.7 FM (Golden State)
2018 NBA Finals Betting Odds for Game 2: Warriors -12.5 (215)
Why Bet on Cleveland?
The Cavs could have and perhaps should have won Game 1, falling 124-114 in overtime. First off, there was a very questionable foul call on LeBron James in the final minute. After LeBron originally drew a charge on Kevin Durant, a review overturned the call to a blocking foul on James. That led to two Durant free throws to tie the game.
Then, with just over five seconds left and the score tied 107-107, George Hill made the first of two free throws. He makes the second, there’s a good chance the Cavs win. Hill didn’t, but J.R. Smith grabbed the rebound. However, with 4.5 seconds remaining, Smith immediately put the ball on the floor and dribbled out beyond the 3-point line. He dribbled out the clock! Smith claims he thought the Cavs were going to call timeout, but that’s a lie: Smith clearly thought his team was up by a point, which even Cavs coach Ty Lue said afterward. The Cavs seemed deflated in OT as the Warriors scored the first nine points on the way to a 1-0 series lead.
LeBron was incredible with 51 points to go along with eight rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one block. He’s now logged 48 minutes two games in a row (though Game 1 went to OT). He tied MJ for the most 30-point games in playoff history with 109. He also scored the most points in a Finals loss. James now has seven games of at least 40/5/5 in the playoffs, and the rest of the NBA combined over the last 25 years only has five.
What Record Did LeBron Break?
James notched his eighth 40-point game during this playoff run to tie Hall of Famer Jerry West’s feat in 1965 for most in a single postseason. James had 28 direct isolation plays in Game 1, 7 more than he’s had in any game over the last 3 seasons (including playoffs). LeBron is the only player in NBA history to score or assist on 70 points in a Finals game and lose. He’s done it on 2 occasions — both against the Warriors (also 2015). West (twice) and Walt Frazier are the only other players to score or assist on 70 points in the Finals.
Kevin Love was surprisingly cleared from the concussion protocol and played in Game 1. He scored 21 points but shot 1-of-8 from three and had 13 rebounds and one assist. Though he shot poorly from deep, he was 8-of-12 inside the arc and led the team in boards.
Larry Nance Jr. scored nine points with 11 rebounds and one steal. Nance only logged 19 minutes but was efficient shooting 4-of-6 from the floor with no turnovers. The Cavs were leaning on some bigger lineups as the game went along.
Why Bet on Golden State?
The Warriors didn’t play all that well at times and still stole one – really, that was the best chance the Cavs had to steal a game in Oakland with the Warriors still missing Andre Iguodala and the fact they were coming off a Game 7 on Monday, while Cleveland had an extra day of rest.
Stephen Curry scored a team-high 29 points with five 3-pointers, six rebounds, nine assists and one steal in Game 1. He knocked down a 38-footer at the halftime buzzer to make it a tie game. He didn’t play a 40-plus minute game the entire regular season, but Thursday already was his third of an injury-shortened postseason. Kevin Durant struggled to find his stroke but wound up with 26 points on 8-for-22 shooting and nine rebounds.
Klay Thompson scored 24 points and made five 3-pointers to go along with three rebounds and one assist. He went to the locker room with a left leg contusion after J.R. Smith slipped and took his legs out in the first quarter but returned at the beginning of the second.
Draymond Green scored 13 points with two 3-pointers, 11 rebounds, nine assists, five steals and three blocks, obviously coming one assist short of a triple-double and two blocks short of a 5×5. He’s now averaging 13.1 boards a game over his last six.
Who Won’t Be Able to Play in Game 2?
Don’t expect Iguodala for Game 2, either, with his left knee bone bruise. He is optimistic that he’ll return during the NBA Finals at some point. Until then, expect to continue to see Kevon Looney starting with more minutes available for Shaun Livingston and Nick Young.
The Warriors have won 18 of their last 19 postseason home games. In 2015, when the Golden State beat the Cavs to capture the franchise’s first title in 40 years, the first two games of the series went to OT — Golden State winning the opener and Cleveland Game 2.
Cleveland could be short-handed for Game 2 Sunday. Tristan Thompson might face a suspension after shoving the ball in the face of Green in the closing seconds of Game 1 after he was already ejected. Kevin Love, who was not in the game at the time, could be hit with a one-game suspension for stepping on the court while an altercation was ongoing.
Latest NBA Finals Betting Trends
- Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
- Cleveland is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Cleveland’s last 5 games on the road
- Golden State is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games at home
- Golden State is 13-5 SU in its last 18 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Golden State’s last 6 games
Expert NBA Finals Betting Prediction for Game 2
Wait until the decision on possible suspensions for Game 2. If there are none or it’s just Thompson, take the points. If it’s Thompson and Love, give them.