Is Golden State a Sure Betting Pick To Win the 2017 NBA Championship?

Posted by Kenny Bell on Wednesday,May 17, 2017 9:04, EDT in

The 2017 NBA playoffs have largely been a bore with several blowouts – the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors have barely been tested and they appear on a collision course to play in the NBA Finals for a third straight year. That has never happened before in league history. And you can say what you want, but Golden State is a hell of a team. The Warriors are -350 NBA betting favorites to win their second title in three years.

Is Golden State a Sure Betting Pick To Win 2017 NBA Championship?

The Warriors might have been pushed in the Western Conference Finals before Kawhi Leonard injured his ankle in Game 1 as the Spurs blew a 25-point lead and imploded without him. Leonard missed Tuesday’s Game 2 in Oakland but might play Game 3 back in San Antonio, but that’s no sure thing. Even with a healthy Leonard, the Spurs were long shots in this series. With Leonard out or less than 100 percent, they realistically have no shot.

Golden State has routinely erased big deficits over the past three seasons, winning an NBA-best 20 games that they once trailed by 15 points or more. That puts their winning percentage in those games at 39 percent, nearly four times higher than the league average over that span.

For the first time in franchise history, the Warriors have won 10 straight games to begin the playoffs. Previously, the Warriors had won seven consecutive playoff games (5/11/75 – 4/20/76), spanning two seasons. The Warriors possess a point per game differential of +14.9, the highest in the history of the NBA Playoffs (minimum 5 games). Last postseason, the Warriors had a point differential of +4.4 and during the 2015 season, +7.8.

The Warriors also have won at least one road game in each of the last 13 playoff series, a franchise record. The streak began with a road victory in Denver in the 2013 First Round. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have been on those Warriors teams that have accomplished The longest-ever streak of winning at least a road game in consecutive playoff series is Miami’s 18, which is still active despite the Heat’s absence in this year’s playoffs.

The Warriors are not sure things to win the NBA title, though, as an injury to Curry, Kevin Durant or Green likely would give the Cleveland Cavaliers the edge in another Finals matchup – assuming the Cavs get by Boston in the East Finals. If there has been one worry in this postseason it has been the shooting struggles of Thompson. In the regular season, Thompson averaged 22.3 points on nearly 47 percent shooting. In the playoffs, he’s slumped to 15.0 points, already scoring fewer than 10 twice after having done that only twice in 78 regular season games.

Golden State does have an injury concern to excellent sixth man and defensive star Andre Iguodala. He’s dealing with knee soreness but an MRI revealed no structural damage. The Warriors have been cognizant all season about keeping Iguodala’s minutes low and his practice workload limited.

Game 1 in the NBA Finals could be huge. Teams that win Game 1 of any best-of- seven series have gone on to win the series 76 percent of the time. But teams that win more than 65 games in the regular season, such as the Warriors, have a 43-3 series record after winning Game 1. Then again, the Warriors won Game 1 of the NBA Finals last season but lost the series to the Cavaliers in seven.