Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors – Game 1

NBA: 09.00 PM EST

May 31, 2018

The NBA Finals tip off on Thursday night, as viewers will be treated to the fourth consecutive matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors with the title on the line. Golden State took the Larry O’Brien trophy in 2014-15 and 2016-17, while Cleveland grabbed its first-ever championship in 2015-16.

In a series a lot of pundits are touting as one of the most lopsided NBA Finals matchups of all time, there remain a lot of unknown between the two sides. Lebron James has elevated his play to never before seen levels in these playoffs (his over/under points total of 38.5 in Game 7 against Boston was the highest line in history), but he and coach Tyronn Lue have admitted that exhaustion has certainly become a factor. Meanwhile, the previously seemingly invincible Warriors were pushed to the limit in the Western Conference Finals against Houston, eventually eliminating the Rockets on their home floor in a decisive Game 7. Golden State showed in that series that they are indeed vulnerable at Oracle Arena, the site of tonight’s Game 1.

It’s difficult to find trends that might lead to helpful analysis for Thursday’s game, as the last matchup between the two teams game before Cleveland made a series of trades that nearly completely overhauled their roster. It remains to be seen the impact that the new players will have in a Finals matchup we’ve seen several times already, with Golden State looking far and away the better side in a five-game victory a year ago. That said, there’s no guarantee that James will show any signs of slowing down in his quest to bring yet another title to northeastern Ohio, and for that reason, I’m backing the road team with the points tonight.

Our NBA Free Tip: Cleveland Cavaliers +13

Connor Woods

A professional sports capper, Connor graduated from the University of Alabama and supports the Crimson Tide in addition to four major teams in Chicago: the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls. One of his passions is visiting MLB stadiums - he's currently seen a game in 17 of the 30 active parks.

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