The Cleveland Cavaliers face a tall order in trying to come back and win the 2016 NBA Finals, which they trail 2-0 heading into Wednesday’s Game 3. The Golden State Warriors have looked every bit like the team that won a record 73 games in the regular season, blowing out the Cavs in two straight games and on the verge of winning a second straight title.
Entering the finals as a little better than -200 favorites, Golden State’s championship odds have increased to -750 after easy victories in Game 1 and Game 2, via Bovada.lv. Cleveland’s betting odds are nearly three times worse, and they are +475 underdogs to win the title.
It’s not just the fact that history isn’t on Cleveland’s side and only two teams have ever rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to win the finals. The Cavaliers are facing one of the best teams of all time, and they’ve likely dug a hole from which they won’t be able to dig themselves out.
Golden State rarely loses one game, let alone four in such a short span of time. The Oklahoma City Thunder gave the Warriors their toughest test of the season, but Golden State responded by winning three straight games to reach the finals. The Cavs need the Warriors to lose four of their next five games, something Golden State hasn’t done since January 2014.
The Cavaliers have played poorly, and they’ll likely raise their level of play, especially at home. But the Warriors could arguably play much better, as well.
Stephen Curry became the NBA’s first ever unanimous MVP, and he’s only scored 29 total points, one fewer than his per-game average, through two contests. Klay Thompson’s 26 total points are just four more than his season’s average, and the Splash Brothers almost single-handedly beat the Thunder in the final games of the Western Conference finals.
LeBron James might still be the NBA’s best player, but he won’t be able to defeat Golden State without assistance from his teammates, something he’s gotten very little of thus far. James faced a 2-0 deficit in the 2007 finals and was promptly swept. Two years ago, when the Miami Heat were clearly overmatched against the San Antonio Spurs, much like the Cavs seem to be against the Warriors, James’ team lost an uncompetitive five-game series.
Even winning one game at home could prove to be a struggle. Cleveland had been a one-point favorite in Game 3, but the betting line has swung in favor of the Warriors at some sportsbooks. The Warriors are now one-point favorites at various betting websites and casinos, while others have the game as a pick’em.
The most likely series result is considered to be Warriors in five (7/4). A sweep by Golden State isn’t far off (11/4), followed by Warriors in six (9/2) and Warriors in seven (6/1).
Cleveland has 8/1 odds to win the series in seven games, and they have 16/1 odds to pull off the seemingly impossible and beat Golden State in four straight games.