Gary | Thu 02/06/2016 - 13:43 EDT

NBA Finals 2016 Game 1 Preview

Cavs Vs Warriors Game 1 Betting Lines & Preview

By Dan Favale

Golden State Warriors (-6) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (+6)

gsw

Here we go again.

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers met at this stage of the season last year, but it was under very different circumstances for both teams. The Cavaliers are healthier, with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both in the lineup, and the Warriors, despite their close call in the Western Conference Finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder, are just plain better. 

Improvement isn't a quality of reigning NBA champions, which is what makes the Warriors so dangerous in these NBA Finals. They haven't been piecing together complete games of basketball during the playoffs, and yet they're still here, in the NBA Finals.

If you are the Cavaliers, the Warriors' performance in the latter half of Games 6 and 7 against the Thunder scares you. It proves that the Warriors don't need to play perfect, or even close to perfect, for a full 48 minutes to beat you.

Instead, they turn it on when the stakes are highest, in crunch time, with the game on the line. They have been absolutely ridiculous in the clutch, meaning that no lead Cleveland builds can ever be considered safe.

Stephen Curry is a human flamethrower. So, too, is Klay Thompson. And Draymond Green, even when he's not scoring, is a force as a playmaker and defender.

Bake in the Warriors' ability to run super small, with Green at center, for long stretches, and they stand to be a bigger headache for the full-strength Cavaliers than they were for the shorthanded Cavaliers last year. 

This isn't to disqualify what Cleveland has accomplished. LeBron James is just sensational and has more shooters around him than he did last year. A steady diet of drive and kicks will help keep the Cavaliers in this series on the offensive end.

But the time to bet in favor of their spread numbers isn't in Game 1, at Oracle Arena, in front of perhaps the most rowdy crowd in basketball, following the Warriors' switch-turning performance in Game 7 against the Thunder.

Just as the Cavaliers faced much-needed adversity in the Eastern Conference Finals when the Toronto Raptors knotted up the series at two games apiece, the Warriors incurred more harrowing drama during the Western Conference Finals. That ability to erase a 3-1 deficit cannot be taken lightly, nor can the lessons Golden state learned with its back up against the wall, its season on the line, be discounted.

The Warriors, roller coaster play from Curry and Green in mind, are more dangerous than ever for having survived that should-have-been death knell. And that isn't good news for the Cavaliers as we look ahead to the rest of the series.

In Game 1, though, it's cause to bank on them covering this six point spread, even if they must enact some more crunch time heroics to do it.

The Pick: Warriors (-6)

Category : Sports Betting News

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