We’ve waited all season long for the inevitable to happen, and now it’s finally here: the third installment of the NBA Finals saga between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.
Many fans and pundits alike expected these two star-studded teams to meet in the finals for the third-consecutive year, and the Cavs and the Warriors certainly did their part in making the dream rematch happen by laying their postseason opposition to waste with relative ease and haste. Now that the biggest rivalry in basketball is set, it’s time to find out who’ll ultimately win the Larry O’Brien trophy and re-establish themselves as the league’s alpha dogs.
Will the Cavs successfully defend their title, or will the Warriors reclaim their throne? Let’s hear it from the internet’s experts below.
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2017 NBA Finals Expert Picks and Predictions
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) March 2, 2017
Very opinionated and rather loudmouthed analyst, Stephen A. Smith, made his prediction for the eventual winner of the NBA Finals as early as March. The livewire host of ESPN‘s famed talk show, First Take, was confident that the Cavaliers (+210) would win back-to-back championships given how Cleveland’s roster has been built this season in support of LeBron James’ quest at becoming a four-time champ.
However, there are a couple of caveats to Smith’s first take (literally). For starters, he made his prediction some three months ago, with the playoffs yet to begin and with Golden State still facing issues regarding Kevin Durant’s injured knee at the time. Apparently, Durant’s in fine shape after all, as he just made the Western Conference look foolish with his 25.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game this postseason along a blistering field-goal percentage of 55.6 percent.
Last but not least, Smith’s no oracle by any means as his predictions for the past few years have been far from accurate. As many online sports publications have recently pointed out, Smith has gone an abysmal 0-6 with his NBA Finals predictions dating back to 2011. Let this video compilation serve as a warning that perhaps siding with the Warriors (-280) is really the right way to go.
Over at Bleacher Report, Chris Roling made a convincing argument that the NBA Finals will be won by the Warriors in six games.
Contrary to Smith from earlier, Roling sees Golden State’s bench as far superior to that of Cleveland’s. And despite the Cavs’ wealth of sharpshooters, B/R‘s resident columnist believes that the Warriors’ style of play will cause James and Co. all sorts of fits that they haven’t seen from their underwhelming opposition in the East.
|Bill Reiter||Warriors in 7|
|Ethan Skolnick||Warriors in 7|
|James Herbert||Warriors in 6|
|Matt Moore||Warriors in 6|
|Chris Barnewall||Warriors in 7|
|Jack Maloney||Warriors in 5|
|Brad Botkin||Cavs in 7|
To close things out, we took a look at the predictions from CBS Sports‘ seven-man panel. We weren’t surprised that a great majority of their analysts went with the Warriors taking the cake when all is said and done.
However, the only man from the group who sided with the Cavaliers, Brad Botkin, made a great case in favor of the reigning champs. Botkin reiterated that although Golden State has four All-Stars on its roster, Cleveland has three of them on its squad, with the best basketball player on the planet in LeBron James on its side.
Botkin also sees the finals going to the team with the player who steps up huge in crucial moments, and LeBron has certainly played the part at that. This postseason, James is averaging absurd numbers of 32.5 points, eight rebounds and seven assists per game with playoff-career bests of 56.6-percent shooting from the field and 42.1 percent from three-point range. Having said that, another monster Finals performance from King James may just be enough indeed to stun the mighty Warriors all over again.
Create a betting account now to start placing stakes on the much-awaited final showdown between the Cavs and the Warriors!
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