2015 NBA Finals Betting: Key Matchups for Cavs vs Warriors

cleveland-vs-golden-state-bettingThe 2015 NBA Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers is set to commence on June 4th (Thursday) at 9:00pm ET. Most online sportsbooks, including us at GTBets.eu, are heavily favoring the Warriors on the Game 1 betting line; we have Golden State at -6. However, when you have LeBron James on your side like the Cavs do, anything can happen. But this series is about more than just LeBron vs. the Warriors, so let’s discuss some of the key matchups that we’ll see.

1. Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving

This should decidedly be in Golden State’s favor, given that Curry is the reigning league MVP and Irving hasn’t been healthy since the first round of the playoffs. And Irving says that “it would be a miracle” if he were 100% for Game 1. It will be interesting to see how much Irving can slow down Curry since the latter is shooting a blistering 43.7% from beyond the arc in the playoffs. Expect plenty of Matthew Dellavedova for the Cavs here too, because he’s a pesky defender who can pressure Curry.

Advantage: Warriors

NBA: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors2. Klay Thompson vs. Iman Shumpert

Here’s a classic offense vs. defense matchup, with Thompson being the offense and Shumpert being the defense. Thompson was off his 3-point game in the Houston series. But overall, he’s still hitting 42.5% from the 3-point line in the 2015 postseason. Shumpert has actually shot pretty well in the playoffs too (36.8% from 3-point), but his tough defense is what will test an elite shooter like Thompson.

Advantage: Warriors

3. Tristan Thompson vs. Draymond Green

Let this season be the year that both Thompson and Green emerged as big-time players. As for Thompson, nobody has been able to keep him off the offensive glass ever since Kevin Love went down with a shoulder injury. Given that Thompson even dominated the Bulls’ big front line on the boards, don’t expect the Warriors to slow him down. As for Green, he’s one of the league’s best defensive players and he’s also a very good rebounder (10.8 in postseason). He’ll be trying to slow down both Thompson and LeBron at different points of this series.

Advantage: Cavs

4. Timofey Mozgov vs. Andrew Bogut

There couldn’t be a more even matchup in the Cavs vs. Warriors series, considering that Bogut and Mozgov do many of the same things. Both are strong defenders who can protect the rim, so I expect a stalemate here. However, if one of these two is able to play bigger than the other, it could swing the series dramatically in favor of their respective team.

Advantage: Draw

5. Warriors Bench vs. Cavs Bench

Based on talent alone, this matchup easily goes towards the Golden State reserves. Andre Iguodala, Festus Ezeli, Leandro Barbosa and Shaun Livingston could all start on (certain) other teams in the league, yet they are coming off the Warriors’ bench to fill various roles. But that’s not to say Cleveland’s bench is chopped liver, because they feature Dellavedova, James Jones and J.R. Smith. The problem is just that they don’t have much size in the normal bench rotation.

Advantage: Warriors

cavs-vs-warriorsSuperstar Factor

On paper, the Warriors have more advantages; but as mentioned before, you can’t immediately discount a LeBron James-led team. Many consider him the best player in the world – despite Curry winning the MVP – and he’ll get a chance to prove he’s still on top in this series. The Warriors are no doubt the ultimate NBA Finals test, so can the Cavs hang?

Advantage: Cavaliers

Cavs vs Warriors NBA Finals Betting: 5 Things to expect

cleveland-vs-golden-state-betting-1The 2015 NBA Finals betting line is now set, with the Golden State Warriors taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors dusted off a pesky Rockets team in five games, while Cleveland obliterated the Atlanta Hawks with a four-game sweep. So which of these dominant teams has the advantage? We’ll discuss this, but first, here’s a look at the Cavs vs Warriors Game 1 betting line:

GTBets.eu Betting Line:
Golden State -5.5 (-110)       Over 202.5 (-110)
Cleveland (-110)                   Under 202.5 (-110)
Game Time:
 June 4th at 9:00pm ET

This series is often looked at as LeBron and Co. versus the Warriors deep and talented team, led by Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Thanks to Golden State’s balance, they finished the regular season at 67-15 – one of the NBA’s best records ever – then blitzed through the brutal Western Conference playoffs with a 12-3 record.

Cleveland was pretty impressive after some mid-season trades, and they went 12-2 on the weaker Eastern Conference side of the bracket. Plus, they have key injuries with Kevin Love out for the postseason and Kyrie Irving playing at less than 100%. So does this mean that they’ll get blown out of the water by the Warriors?

1. LeBron is the Real MVP

Curry has had an amazing season, and he’s somehow played even better in the playoffs. If you give this guy an inch of daylight, he’s going to burn you with the three again and again. However, not even Curry has the all-around game that James still has at age 30. Some didn’t have LeBron making it past the Bulls, and many believed the Hawks would take Cleveland to six or seven games. But even with a hobbled Irving, no Love and a cast of role players, James has carried his teammates to victory.

2. Golden State can beat Cleveland in a Variety of Ways

cleveland-vs-golden-state-bettingWhile Curry might be the undeniable leader of this team, followed by his ‘Splash Brother’ Thompson, this is more than just two great shooters. There’s Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barns and Draymond Green in the front court, along with Andre Iguodala, Leandro Barbosa, David Lee and Shaun Livingston coming off the bench. Cleveland just can’t match what the Warriors have all over the court.

3. The Cavs Defense has been Incredible

Before making mid-season trades that brought in J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Timofey Mozgov, Cleveland was in the bottom half of the league in defense. However, their D has improved tremendously thanks to Shumpert’s perimeter defense and Mozgov’s rim protection. So if there’s a team that can slow down the Warriors, it is definitely the Cavs. But Golden State’s defense is worth noting too because they have wings like Green and Iguodala that can at least force LeBron to take bad shots sometimes.

4. Tristan Thompson should continue feasting on the Boards

tristan-thompsonA huge reason for Cleveland’s playoff success – in Love’s absence – has been the rebounding of Thompson. Although he’s always been a strong rebounder, the undersized PF/C is playing like Wilt Chamberlain on the offensive glass. Golden State is going to be much tougher to grab offensive rebounds against than Atlanta. However, Thompson still had lots of success against the Bulls’ giant line, so don’t expect the Warriors to stop him either.

5. Iguodala could be Warriors’ X-Factor

If there’s one player that could make or break this for Golden State, it will be Iguodala. A former star in Philly, he now comes off the bench for the Warriors and provides energy, hustle and outstanding defense. More than this, he’ll likely be left open when out on the court with Thompson and Curry. So if he can hit the three (31.9% in this postseason), it could be Golden State’s special ingredient.

Final Analysis of Cleveland vs Golden State

Almost everybody expects the Warriors to win because, well, they’ve been the best all season. More than this, LeBron’s cast isn’t quite as talented as Golden State’s team. However, the one thing that Cleveland does have is amazing chemistry, which is surprising when you consider that this team was put together on the run this season. So expect LeBron, great defense and veteran leadership to power Cleveland to its first major sports title ever.

Series Prediction: Cleveland wins 4 games to 2