Are you really surprised that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are playing in a fourth straight NBA Finals? Those two have been favored to meet again just about all year. This time, though, MyBookie oddsmakers REALLY like the Warriors to win their second straight NBA title.
2018 NBA Finals Odds, Game Times & TV Schedule
Latest 2018 NBA Finals Odds
Golden State is priced at -940 on the series line. That’s the largest any team has been favored on the NBA Finals series line in at least 16 years. The Warriors were around -300 over the Cavaliers in last year’s Finals. Golden State won that series four games to one.
Cleveland is +670. That’s easily the biggest a LeBron James team had been an underdog. The Cavs were +360 underdogs against the San Antonio Spurs in 2007, James’ first trip to the Finals. The Cavaliers were +180 when they upset Golden State in the 2016 Finals. LeBron has been an underdog in seven of his nine Finals appearances. He has won three titles.
What else can be said about LeBron?
No one will ever convince this writer that LeBron is the greatest NBA player of all-time – that’s always going to be Michael Jordan. Just keep in mind that Jordan was 6-0 all-time in NBA Finals and never even allowed an opponent to reach a Game 7.
However, LeBron reaching eight straight NBA Finals is quite the accomplishment and this year’s team was probably his worst of the eight. The Cavs went to Boston and won Game 7 on Sunday night, 87-79, despite not having All-Star power forward Kevin Love due to a concussion. James had 35 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists and 8 turnovers. He played all 48 minutes in a playoff game for the first time since 2006, when he was 21 years old. James’ teams are 5-0 when he goes the distance. The Celtics had been 10-0 at home this postseason, including three wins by an average of 17 points against Cleveland, prior to Game 7
James has now won six straight Game 7s over the past 10 years, two of them on the road. He has won seven of the past eight elimination games he’s been in, including three this postseason. And he has now come from 2-0 down to win a series three times in his career. That has happened only 20 times in seven-game series in NBA history. James is the 13th athlete in the four major U.S. professional sports — the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL — to make it to eight straight championship series, joining seven Montreal Canadiens players and five former Celtics.
The Cavaliers became the first team to win a road Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals since the 2006 Pistons. The 1982 Philadelphia Sixers were the only other team during the three-point era to win a Game 7 in the East finals on the road. It remains to be seen if Love will be cleared by Thursday for Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Golden State. That would affect the line a bit.
These Finals could be it for LeBron in a Cavs uniform as he’s set for free agency. This writer happens to believe he will return to Cleveland but maybe not if his team is dominated by Golden State. James, who has a player option for the 2018-19 season worth $35.6 million, will opt out of his deal to become an unrestricted free agent come July. The last time James tested free agency as a member of the Cavs he chose to join the Miami Heat in the summer of 2010. James has insisted time and time again this time that he would not make his decision about where he will play next year until the Cavs season was over.
What About the Warriors?
Meanwhile, Golden State had to win a road Game 7 for the first time in this dynastic run, doing so 101-92 in Houston on Monday as the Rockets went historically cold, missing 27 straight three-pointers. That’s an NBA playoff record.
“This was a harder-earned road, so far,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said after Monday’s win. “We haven’t won anything yet. But to where we are now, what we’ve had to overcome was harder.”
There might be some fatigue by some for another Warriors-Cavaliers matchup, but I assure you that ABC/ESPN/Disney executives are happy because the first three series have drawn huge ratings. Here’s the full series schedule. Of course, Mybookie.ag will have you covered on each game. You can watch each streaming via WatchESPN.
2018 NBA Finals Game Schedule & TV Info
- Game 1 from Oakland: May 31, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 2 from Oakland: June 3, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 3 from Cleveland: June 6, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 4 from Cleveland: June 8, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 5* from Oakland: June 11, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 6* from Cleveland: June 14, 9 p.m. ET, ABC
- Game 7* from Oakland: June 17, 8 p.m. ET, ABC
*To Be Determined