As usual, no one said it better than Bill Littlefield when he explained why he doesn’t believe the NBA Finals have been boring. Tension and unpredictability aren’t all that make sport interesting; sport pushes limits, which will ultimately become the legacy of the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State is showing the world how to play better basketball, how to assemble better teams and how to live better lives. By eviscerating one of the best teams in the last decade, the Warriors are pushing our expectation of greatness to a new level.
Then there are the sportsbooks, where they are pushing oddsmakers and and their clients alike somewhere we haven’t seen for a long time, if ever at all. Golden State opened the series -7 at home and +2 on the road but that changed after the first blowout. Books re-opened with the Warriors -9 in Game 2; they covered again and were suddenly giving 3.5 on the road in Game 3. The public kept pounding the blue and gold and a third consecutive cover has the number at 6.5 for Game 4, which might just be unprecedented.
It is, as far back as public spread records go. The first series I checked was the 2007 Finals, when the Spurs opened -500 in the series against the Cavaliers. But San Antonio only got as high as -2.5 in Cleveland. The Lakers were six-point favorites in Philly for Game 5 in 2001 and Jordan got up to -5.5 in Seattle in the ’96 Finals. This year’s Cleveland team would be a definitive favorite against any of those opponents.
So don’t ignore the Finals now because you know who’s going to win. We had a week off before the series to dramatize that old conversation, anyway. Watch Game 4 to see how the good the Warriors can be and if there is a number they can’t cover. Almost two-thirds of the public is on Golden State again.
And why not? Prices are soaring, consumer confidence is through the roof and I say it it’s going to be a sweep, make it a sweep in style.
Free Pick: Warriors -6.5
Cleveland Cavaliers • Golden State Warriors • NBA Finals