The 2018 NBA Finals began with the Golden State Warriors winning the initial two contests against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That should come as little surprise given how heavily favored the defending champions were going into the series, but the Cavs at least made things interesting in the opener by forcing overtime. The Warriors kept the end of the second matchup drama free, running away with victory due to a strong fourth quarter. Cleveland missed a key opportunity to steal homecourt advantage away from its rival in Game 1 and is now facing a must-win situation in Game 3. Should the Cavaliers fail to secure a win on their own floor, the club will fall into an 0-3 hole, something no team in 130 tries has ever clawed out from in the history of the NBA Playoffs.
Even with the dire stakes at hand and the home crowd on their side for the first time in this edition of the Finals, oddsmakers still aren’t expecting the Cavs to secure a “W” in Game 3. The squad opened as a 4.5-point underdog, marking the only time the team has received points in a contest taking place at Quicken Loans Arena during this year’s postseason. This line should come as little surprise given how easily the Warriors were able to cover the 11.5-point spread on Sunday, but it still shows how supremely talented this Western Conference juggernaut is in comparison to the foes that Cleveland had to get through in the Eastern Conference portion of the playoffs. Even though Golden State is less than a 2-1 moneyline favorite (-190 to win outright) in Game 3—compared to Cleveland at +165—Vegas believes that there is almost zero chance that the Cavs can come back from the 0-2 deficit they currently find themselves in. Sportsbooks upgraded the reigning champs from a -1700 favorite—meaning bettors would have to risk $17 to win a single dollar on the Warriors winning their third title in the last four years—after Game 1 all the way to -3500 in wake of their convincing Game 2 triumph. Cleveland is a huge, 15-1 (+1500) underdog to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy, although it is worth noting that the organization was facing this exact same scenario ahead of Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Finals, a dramatic series that it ultimately won in seven games.
Can the Cavaliers once again steady the ship and avoid the near-certain death knell of losing three straight games to open the series, or will the Warriors cruise to their seventh victory of the last eight Finals matchups against this bitter rival? Pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com has provided his prediction on the outcome of this pivotal showdown. Before getting to the expert’s picks, have a peek at the full schedule, tip-off start time, TV channel and live stream coverage for this exciting 2018 NBA Finals matchup. You can take a look at the updated series standings, scores, NBA Playoff bracket, odds, quotes from star players and coaches, social media posts and more for the upcoming Cavaliers-Warriors bout.