The Golden State Warriors are up 3-1 with the series headed back to Oakland’s Oracle Arena for Game 5 (9pm ET, Monday on ABC). Do the Cleveland Cavaliers have a chance or is this one all in the books for the defending NBA champions? Read our Game 5 preview with betting picks verdict.
After the first two games of the NBA Finals, the Warriors were rolling. Up 2-0 and winning by margins no fewer than 10 points per game, it seemed all but a done conclusion that the team was on its way to back to back titles. However, the Cavaliers struck back in a big way in Game 4. The first home game for the Eastern Conference champs, Cleveland made quick work of the Warriors, limiting Stephen Curry to just 19 points and a finals-high six turnovers. This resulted in a 30-point Cavs win that saw the Warriors only score 90 points, their lowest output since a March 19th loss against the San Antonio Spurs.
But with the momentum seeming to skew slightly to the Cavaliers, with Game 4 and the chance to tie up the series being held in Cleveland, Curry finally had the game he is capable of. After being quiet for much of the finals, Curry was called out in the media after Game 3 with some even suggesting that he was costing the Warriors the series.
However, in typical Curry fashion, the more the doubt grew, the more Curry exploded in Friday’s Game 4. The 28-year-old first ever undisputed MVP in NBA history tied his playoff high this year with seven made three pointers in 13 attempts. He was 9-of-10 from the line, a nice change from him not getting to the line at all in Games 1 and 2, and had just three turnovers. Curry totaled 38 points, his highest total since returning from injury in Game 4 of the Warriors’ second round series against the Portland Trailblazers.
So with Curry seemingly back to being himself and the series in Golden State for Game 5 and if needed, Game 7, it is very likely that the Warriors are on their way to their second title in as many years.
Currently one of the USA sportsbooks is favoring the Warriors by as much as seven points on the spread, the highest margin of the finals. Given the fact that this series has culminated in nothing but double digit wins, it’s not that hard to believe that in front of thousands of screaming hometown fans, that the Warriors won’t top that spread. But before this preview gets down to the official betting pick, here are a few things to consider.
Draymond Green’s Impact by the Numbers
In the closing minutes of Golden State’s Game 4 victory, Cleveland’s LeBron James (pictured) and Golden State’s Draymond Green, got tangled during a play. James proceeded to step over Green in a disrespectful manner, one that Green responded to by swiping his hand near James’ groin area. Of course, the first person, the instigator, never gets the punishment and instead it was Green picking up the flagrant 1.
It just so happened that this was Green’s fourth flagrant foul of this postseason, which carries with it an automatic suspension. This is less than ideal for the Warriors as Green has been a crucial cog to the Warriors’ playoff run thus far. In Game 2, in which Curry had just 11 points and Klay Thompson just 17, Green helped carry Golden State with his 28 points and seven rebounds. In Game 1, he led the starting five with his line of 16 points and 11 rebounds.
In Game 3 and 4, Green only totaled 15 points. His 19 rebounds (12 in game four) however, the biggest part of the big man’s game, helped the Warriors get the critical win in Game 4.
Without Green, a large part of Golden State’s defense, which has been shutting down the Cavaliers offense in all but the one game, is missing. The team will have to be able to adjust without him and will rely on their bench to make up for Green’s absence.
One of these players will be Andre Iguodala, whose primary job this series has been to guard James, something he has done to pretty decent success all things considered. The Warriors will have to play a small line-up as well without Green, something they have done to varying degrees of success during the season.
It’s definitely not a foregone conclusion that the Warriors win without Green. However, if Curry’s 38 in Game 4 was a sign of more to come, it’s doubtful Golden State will miss Green that much. Like it should have been all series, the game could come down to offense and in a shoot-out the Cavs offense is no match for that of the Warriors.
Our Preview’s Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors Game 5 Betting Picks
The Cavs offense has mainly struggled save for their one gasp of air in Game 3’s blowout. Overall though, this team has no answer for what the Warriors are doing. Now, what the Warriors were doing was dependent on Green in some aspects, so it will be interesting to see just how much of an impact his absence has on Golden State’s defensive scheme.
That being said, Curry is back and Curry being back is enough. The MVP has carried his team for parts of the season and without Green, he’ll be the most important guy to step up. At home, Curry always plays to the crowd and there is no reason to believe that this will be any different in Game 5.
The spread is as high as seven and as low as 5.5pts, still fairly high for an NBA finals game. Given the climate of this series and the fact that every game has been decided by a minimum of 10 points, this preview’s verdict is that betting the over seems like the safe pick.
- So take the Warriors -5.5pts @ best betting odds of -105 with Bookmaker Sportsbook, to bring home the win and to cover the spread. BetOnline are -110 for the same spread, while it is Bovada who go -7pts.
- As for the total points in this Game 5 clash, look for a shootout. So definitely go with the over 204.5pts @ -110, again the best option for that is with Bookmaker.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.