It’s been a strong NBA Finals so far in terms of my analysis of the line though I must admit the number for Game 6 has my wheels turning a little.
The Sportsbook line (Cavs -1) was exactly where I would have put it if I were an oddsmaker so it surprised me a little to see it driven up so quickly to Cleveland -2.5. That has me smelling a potential ruse brewing from the big-boy money considering the majority of bets are coming in on Golden State while the bigger dollars are what’s pushing the line up.
I won’t be blinking twice if we see this line fall back down with Golden State money as Game 6 tipoff gets closer. So my best guess with the line movement is that if you like the Warriors, take them as early in the day as you can.
I am leaning toward the Warriors also with Draymond Green back after his Game 5 suspension. (Before Game 5 I wrote that while oddsmakers only had him valued at 1-point to the spread, I felt he was worth more like four points.)
After Game 3, the Warriors realized they were going to have to play a grittier game – especially on defense – and nobody is more important to helping them win with that type of game than Green. That’s how they won Game 4 after a soft effort in Game 3 and the Cavs wilted down the stretch to fall 3-1 in the series.
Just like Game 4 went UNDER, I am leaning slightly toward the UNDER in Game 6. The game should feel Green’s defensive presence if he can stay out of foul trouble. If that happens I don’t see the Cavs lighting the Warriors up with ease like in Game 5 while Green leered on from an Oakland A’s suite.
One of the elements that maybe jumps out most to me about Game 6 though is what’s been happening at halftime in this series. So far the visiting team hasn’t been leading at the half yet. Take a look:
|Game 5, June 13||Golden State||Tie 62-62|
|Game 4, June 10||Cleveland||Cavs 56-50|
|Game 3, June 8||Cleveland||Cavs 51-43|
|Game 2, June 5||Golden State||Warriors 52-44|
|Game 1, June 3||Golden State||Warriors 52-43|
It’s tough to argue against a first half bet of Cavs -1.5 based on how the series has gone so far. I fully expect most of the calls to go Cleveland’s way in the early going, if not the whole game. Draymond Green is likely going to need to play on egg shells in the first half somewhat because they’ll be looking to whistle him.
With TV ratings through the roof, the officials know a Game 7 is going to make the NBA happy. Two of the three officials for tonight’s game – Jason Phillips and Scott Foster – have huge winning percentages for the home team in their games this season. Both of their home team win percentages rank well above the league average for officials (.726 and .617).
Ken Mauer is the veteran on the crew tonight and he's more balanced but he’s been around the game long enough thta he knows the benefit of the doubt should fall with the home team, especially in big games like this one.
So I like the haltime trend to continue for the home team tonight with slight leans to the Warriors and the UNDER for the game. I fully expect Golden State will have to overcome the officiating and the additional challenges that come with being the road team.