The wise guys have installed the Golden State Warriors as 12-point favourites for tomorrow’s Game 1 of the 2017 – 2018 NBA Championship Finals.
That figure represents the largest spread in an NBA Finals since 1991, when G.O.A.T. (sorry LeBron) Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a 4 – 1 series victory of the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was surprising then, as the Lakers had the likes of Magic Johnson, Byron Scott and James Worthy on the team, although Kareem Abdul Jabbar had retired. Jabbar was replace by Vlade Divac, no slouch, but no Kareem, either. The Lakers were 58 – 24 during the regular season.
The Chicago Bulls boasted a lineup that along with Jordan, listed Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson and B.J. Armstrong. Their regular season record was 61 – 21, so the disparity in the spread is slightly perplexing.
Move forward to the 2017 – 2018 season, and you find a Golden State team that finished the regular season with a recorded identical to the 1991 Lakers, 58 – 24.
Cleveland was 50 – 32 during the regular season, so once again, it is hard to understand a 12-point spread, even though Game 1 will be on Golden State’s home court.
You can get 12.5 points on Ladbrokes, so if you think the Warriors will win by 13 or more, there is your punt. If you think the Cavaliers can keep it to 13 or under, back Cleveland.
Cleveland Coach Tyronn Lue pooh-poohed the line.
“We’re focused on winning a championship,” Lue said before the team got on the aero-float for California.
Then, he said something actually worthwhile and true, when he mentioned, “We played our best basketball going into the playoffs. We’ve gotten better and better throughout the playoffs. Our main focus and our main objective is to win a championship, so we can’t worry about what the outside guys are saying and who’s being picked. We know what we have here and what we’re trying to do.”
The spread on Lue’s engaging in more coach speak is much lower.