Celtics @ Wizards: Game 4!!!

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2017 NBA Playoffs: 9-3

The pick:

Wizards -4.5 over Celtics

We are getting a good side and spread here and I'll tell you why.

1. Thomas' teeth

I can speak to this. I've had my teeth knocked out. I've had the surgeries, the bridges, the endless repairs, the innumerable dentist visits (the sanitized smell of a dentist office is my most hated smell on earth I've been there so many times).

Having this happen to you is not pleasant in the least. It would be better to have a flesh wound and get stitched up. And I'm not a world-class athlete near the top of the NBA in offensive output. I'm saying this as a Joe with a job and a house capping from a PC. The level of intensity on that court, particularly in a VERY physical playoff series (Bad for someone who has had such an injury), is something Thomas will have to deal with in two days...and that's not enough time IMO.

The pain is there. The swelling is there. Every bite you take is measured. Your teeth make up your face. Your face represents you. Change your teeth? Change your face.

This is not a good thing. Because the physical devolves into the psychological and once it become psychological, it far outweighs anything physical.

I can guarantee Thomas is feeling out of sorts right now, especially given what the Celtics revealed tonight:

As a result of a collision that occurred in Game 1 of the Boston Celtics’ Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Washington Wizards, Isaiah Thomas sustained multiple front teeth injuries including a complete fractured tooth and two other subluxed/shifted teeth that required extensive oral surgery to stabilize. He did not suffer a fractured or broken jaw.

Thomas is currently wearing a four-piece temporary bridge that cracked after being re-injured. This necessitated a replacement at halftime during Game 3 of the series. The spanning bridge is necessary to protect and stabilize the injuries. Members of the Celtics medical staff anticipated the need to replace the temporary bridges, and are prepared at any time to do so. Thomas will receive a permanent bridge at a future date.

That's not a broken jaw but that's not a good progress report. This isn't just a lost tooth Gents. Like he's Mankind smiling on his way from the wrestling ring after just having lost Hell in a Cell to the Undertaker.

This is more. And if Thomas dials it back a tick or two or three because he is having second thoughts about how intense he should be driving the hole, because his subconscious is overwhelming him, telling him he'll get hit in the teeth again, the Celtics cannot win.

The line opened at 4.5. It is still 4.5 after this news. I can assure you, after reading what you read above, it should be more. How much more is debatable because he'll be on the court.

But he was on the court in the second half of  Game 3 and the Wiz destroyed the Celts, Thomas having all of 13 points.

Why are you here? You are looking for an edge. This teeth injury and subsequent recovery is an edge.

"Oh god. Because Scal lost teeth too, now he's using that to cap a game!"

Wrong. What I am telling you is that I can speak to this, the scars are psychological, will affect his on-court performance as it did in the second half of last game, and that is worth betting on.

The dropoff from 53 to 13 the next game was the biggest disparity in points after scoring 50+ in Nba history....That matters.

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2. A History of Hate

The Hate comes from both sides. And it goes back, way back, longer than you think, as the Ringer has detailed below:

when you think a silly-haired Canadian man is getting dirty with you, you have to stand up for yourself.

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2. A History of Hate

The Hate comes from both sides. And it goes back, way back, longer than you think, as the Ringer has detailed below:

when you think a silly-haired Canadian man is getting dirty with you, you have to stand up for yourself.

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2. A History of Hate

The Hate comes from both sides. And it goes back, way back, longer than you think, as the Ringer has detailed below:

Olynyk has a history of playing dirtier than is legal?—?Kevin Love said that Olynyk intentionally injured him in the 2015 playoffs, and Olynyk seemed to try the same move on Robin Lopez in this year’s first round. The screen on Oubre wasn’t dirty?—?honestly, I’m not sure it was even a foul?—?but Olynyk has a reputation, and when you think a silly-haired Canadian man is getting dirty with you, you have to stand up for yourself.

But more importantly, there is long-standing beef here: It began when then–Wizards coach Randy Wittman was accused of cursing out Jae Crowder, but it’s gotten more serious since. Crowder booped John Wall in the nose during a postgame yelling fit, leading to teammates separating the two on the court and police separating them off it. Wall once picked up a flagrant foul on Marcus Smart before the two yelled at each other, then Bradley Beal got in Smart’s face (also Smart once broke Beal’s nose). Otto Porter Jr. said the Celtics are dirty, and the Wizards famously dressed in black for a “funeral” game against the Celtics.

It’s continued in this series, through Isaiah Thomas losing a tooth, Al Horford accidentally injuring Markieff Morris, Morris “accidentally” shoving Horford into some photographers, and Morris and Thomas yelling at each other. After the Kelly-on-Kelly scuffle, Terry Rozier and Brandon Jennings resumed their minor beef with each other until they were ejected in the fourth quarter.

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3. John Wall

A quick point. He has been sensational: 20/14a 42/8a 20/16a 40/13a and 24/8a in his last five games.

That is as good as it gets from a PG. When you are laying points to a number 1 seed, you need your number 1 guy playing like this. And the Celts haven't had answers to stop him. That should continue.


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The pick:

Warriors -7 over Cavs

This is a very important game. As a capper, you should be betting this game. This literally is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

This is Game One of what will likely be the only time the NBA Finals the same teams play three times in a row.

That matters because the teams are so familiar with each other.

And that familiarity sits heavily with one side due to the result the last time out.

This is the longest layoff ever between the end of the Conference Finals and the Finals. 

That matters because lingering injuries will heal, injuries that plagued both these teams the past two years.

This is by far the 2 most dominant teams in their respective conferences to come into the Finals: Cavs at 11-1 and Warriors at     12-0.

That matters because the competition level skyrockets on both sides but one team may have that level of escalation happen more than the other.

And I cannot overestimate the importance of Game 1: This is the statement game particularly for the Warriors. I love Game 1's because teams offer their purest gameplans in the opening game of the series and then zig and zag accordingly. Game 1 is by far the most dependable in terms of what will be offered on both sides of the ball from both teams.

All these reasons as to why you should bet this game will be sprinkled within the primary angles to back the Warriors. 

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The primary angles to back Golden State:

#1- For it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. - Romans 12:19 KJV

A Bible verse for an angle? Yes. A Bible verse.

But why the verse? Why not just use the tried and true "Revenge Angle"?

Here is why: This angle has been rejected by alleged 'sharps' of Covers (and everyone thinks themselves more a sharp than square, because they reference the 'square masses' but are never part of it). 

Therefore, it has become so cliche to use this angle, the sophisticated capper needs more. That's why 'black box' cappers with systems attract many. Those black boxes will spit out the Cavs and the points in this game. Watch. They will be wrong. And the black box cappers will put their druid hoods back on and tell you they'll make the appropriate adjustment next time. But you can't do that here. You cannot quantify revenge. 

This angle was once very sophisticated but has lost its luster. I am here to tell you it is no less true today than it was 30+ years ago.

The Warriors have revenge here from last year's Finals DEBACLE. Regular season games provide nice spots to get revenge from playoff losses but this is unique in every regard: Two teams that went 1-1 in the Finals now meet a third time and for the Warriors, the last TWO home games were ones they lost to the Cavs. You can't pass this up. It won't happen again. It it does you'll be old and gray and either established or out of money.

There were two games in last year's Finals that contained incredible anomalies that will not rear their ugly head here. Here is what it took to beat the Warriors at home, not once but twice last year:

In Game 5, when the series was 3-1, a game the Cavs won by 112-97 the following had to happen:

1) Draymond Green, their most versatile player and defender, had to be suspended by the league.
2) Kyrie Irving had to go off for 41 points. As did Lebron have to go for 41 as well.
3) The Warriors had to score 13 points in the 4th quarter.

This is ancient history Scal! Why are you bringing it up! Because this is what lingers and passes over into this game. It is human nature to remember what was taken from you, the conditions by which it was taken and to remedy that accordingly.

But it gets worse:

In Game 7, the Warriors again had to score 13 points in the 4th, have Curry, the most deadly 3 point shooter all time by far, hit nothing but BACKBOARD on some of his late attempts, and from 4:39 of the 4th to 0:00 the Warriors would not score a single point over 89. 

Oh and this is key, Andre Iguodala, who was the primary defender on Lebron would have to play Game 5 and Game 7 with a lingering injury, but still play what was almost a heroic 38 minutes in Game 7 holding Lebron to 9 of 24, but being able to contribute nothing offensively with only 4 points.

Folks, I am here to tell you the above MATTERS. The Warriors can made good on reversing the flaws that took a potential three-peat from them. Revenge is tangible and the elements of revenge (and those elements were massive in the case of the Warriors because the Cavs don't realize how fortunate they were last year given all that is detailed here), will not have an effect in this series. There will be no 13 point quarters in the 4th. I PROMISE. There will be no 4:39 scoring droughts to end the game. I PROMISE. We will have adequate defense of Lebron. However much it is worth given his ungodly output of late, it still matters and it will be meaningful to cover. And Green will not be suspended. He's not that stupid.

The Revenge Angle is arbitrage to give you an edge on this line. This line is big but it would have been this big if they played the Bulls or Hawks or Wizards or Raptors in the Finals last year and the Cavs this year.

You cannot overlook this revenge because it is cliche to you. It is time for vengeance and is no less applicable no matter how many times you've heard it.

Advantage: Warriors 

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#2 Kevin Durant

Again, very obvious. Thanks Scal. Water is wet.

Folks, the Warriors went out and traded extremely valuable assets and let players walk to get this one guy. And they got him for this one series. And the opening game of this series is the game they must win for that investment to pay its truest  dividends. 

Not only do the Warriors have revenge but Durant himself has revenge against Lebron. So you have team-wide revenge wrapped in personal revenge. And you have it with the favorite to win he Finals MVP. That is very, very powerful. 

Durant brings this team to a level where defense matters little. If Durant hits his shots you are finished if the others contribute. They can go to him on bail out plays and he'll deliver. They can go to him on the high pick and roll. And defensively he is playing some of the best on the ball defense of his career.

And remember, lose this game 1 and put yourself behind the 8 ball immediately, Durant knows full well the murmurs that he was a sell-out to leave the Thunder will start. And they will become like a tsunami. Durant knows nothing less than his absolute best here, with revenge, will be needed to walk away with a title, THE MINIMUM STANDARD to justify his leaving. And Game 1, with a vintage Warriors performance, the reason they got him, is the way to do it.

Advantage: Warriors

#3 Andre Iguodala 

Let's talk Andre because Andre will be LBJ's primary defender, or at least should be. As noted above he was dealing with an injury last year. 

He's dealing with knee soreness again this year. But guess what? He gets NINE days off. That matters. His lateral movement is not what it should have been against the Spurs but with 9 days, a record of rest, that can be improved.

But even with Andre, better now, compared to last year, on Lebron for most of the game, he won't start of Lebron: Durant will.

Again, the Warriors didn't have this option last year. So if Iggy's knee acts up they'll put Durant back on him or shift around and put Green on him. So for all Lebron is doing good, he faces a tall defensive task here that will have a different look and be more challenging than last year. That matters. A healthier rested Iggy and Durant to start on LBJ. That's a good mixture.

Advantage: Warriors. 

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#4 9 Days

Record setting Rest. You know how I feel about records. I love to use them to my advantage where applicable.

Record Rest to game plan. Record rest to get Klay back in a rhythm. If Klay can give us a vintage performance of 18-20-22 points with 4/5/6 makes in row, we will be well on our way to a cover. And the Warriors are destroying teams, even with Klay not being Klay.

No I am not afraid of the rust when you have the Warriors team and coaches having the opportunity to watch the Cavs LIVE as they sit home and game plan for them.

9 days helps us to heal Iggy. 9 days helps us to get Klay back to being Klay. 9 days gives us a live looking glass into the Cavs. I love that they bombed the Celtics with 135 points in the last game. Nothing like showing your best to the team waiting in the wings.

All this is a more than welcome trade-off compared to the RUST, that many here will repeat anyway even though I am addressing it.

And one more thing, the RUST factor ALREADY reared it's ugly head in the Spurs Game 1 last series. The Warriors will be prepared now with the foreknowledge of what could have been a disaster, to not make the same mistake.

Advantage: Warriors
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#5 Lebron's mindset

Now let's dig deep into the angle coffer and clutch for the rubies and pearls.

Many here like to dismiss the "Honoring the Deceased" angles and quotes as poppycock,  but not me, and that has served me well in my time posting here and for my bankroll. You reading this sentence right now proves it.

Lebron needs to be physically AND mentally ready for this game.

First of all, the Cavs got blown out last year in Game 1 104-89 and then got demolished again in Game 2 by 33 at Oracle, and that was WITH the "I'm Coming Home" monkey on his back, no less than a title justifying his leaving Cleveland. Oracle is one of, if not the best home court advantage in the league. Don't dismiss that.

Well now he has the title for the city of Cleveland too. That matters. That monkey that haunted him is gone.

But also, let's be serious, have the Cavs been challenged? I see leaks in their game.

They swept the Pacers but won all 4 by an average of 4. (not a real challenge and they still needed a 26 point comeback in one game)

They owned the Raptors, a team that didn't believe they could win from the opening tip (no challenge).

They won 4-1 over the Celtics BUT lost outright to an Thomas-less Celtics team.

And that loss was key. Because the Celtics had WIDE-OPEN looks from 3 all game. And that's the Celtics. They threw a different offense at them and they weren't prepared. Now imagine, if the Warriors, with one of the most high-octane offenses of all time, mix it up and they get wide-open threes? Game over. 

Back to Lebron. Words matter. Particularly these. The Cavs will be challenged here and it is in a way Lebron doesn't even want to THINK about after beating Boston:

"I'm not in a right mind to talk about Golden State. It's too stressful, and I'm not stressed right now...Golden State has been the best team in the league for 3 years and they added an MVP. That's all I can give you. I don't want to be stressed. They cause me a lot of stress."

His words. Not mine. We don't make a pick based on this. This is a hors d'oeuvre before the main course above. You won't hear any Warriors talking like this folks.

Advantage: Warriors

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#6 Tyronne Lue

More words. You heard them. They matter. Do not give the Warriors bulletin board material. I'll take a coach talking like this about an opponent like the Warriors every day of the week.

Lue said he's not thinking about the Warriors, saying of the Celtics offense, "The stuff they're running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's [offense] for me," pointing to the amount of screening, cutting, and passing in Boston's offense."

Lue continued, saying, "Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff, but these guys are running all kinds of s---. I'll be like, 'F---.' They're running all kinds of s---, man. And Brad [Steven]'s got them moving and cutting and playing with pace, and everybody is a threat. It's tough, you know, it's tough." 

Advantage: Warriors
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#7 Mike Brown

Yes, we'd want Kerr behind the bench (but he is still coaching from afar anyway so we don't lose his services completely). But Brown is a nice footnote here.

Mike Brown was jettisoned from his job with the Cavs in 2008 because Lebron didn't think he could win with him. It is well known Lebron got him canned. All this despite a 272-138 record.

But many forget Brown was brought back in 2014 and fired again without Lebron after one season with no assets so he can stick it to LBJ and Gilbert here.

Advantage: Warriors
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#8 The No-Excuses Finals

Colin Cowherd made a good point in calling this Finals that name. We will see exactly what these two teams are injury free. Because the past two Finals have been anything but that.

2015: No Love. And injured Kyrie.
2016: Injured Bogut. Hampered Iguodala. Hampered Steph (at times). Green Suspension.

Guess what: This time both teams come in 100% healthy. It was just reported Zaza will be back for the Warriors. 

Now with talent vs. talent, the edge goes to the Warriors. We all agree on that. Lebron is the wild card that sinks spreads because he can get anything out of anyone. And to be fair Love is playing the best ball of his Cavalier career. BUT there is a catch that will make points 8 and 9 favor the Warriors even more. And that comes right here:

#9 Rest and Relaxation

So what happened last year? On top of dealing with injuries and suspensions, the Warriors just got through a grueling 7 game series with OKC. The Cavs were waiting for them with 2 days off. This was on top of the Cavs sweeping the first two rounds.

Add to that the push the Warriors made to win 73, which they did. Add to that the pressure to win it all on top of winning the 73 to justify it like the 16 win Patriots (who also failed). That is non-existent here. In fact, it's reversed with regard to minutes played and travel.

And simply put, minutes and travel matter. 

First the travel:

The Warriors are immensely well-rested and stay at home, where they've been for quite some time:

Golden State has played 11 of their final 16 games at home, including 6 of their last 7 to end the regular season. They played the absolute minimum on the road by sweeping every single team in the playoffs. Since March 30th, including the playoffs, they've made just 4 road trips: Phoenix, Portland, Utah, and San Antonio.

By the time they leave for Cleveland in Game 3 of the Finals, it will be the first time they've stepped foot in the Eastern time Zone in NINETY FOUR DAYS and they'll have spent only 13 of the prior SIXTY EIGHT DAYS outside of the Bay Area.

That explains why this team is 27-1 SU and 21-7 ATS in their last 28. Being home matters. Familiar surroundings matter. Less wear and tear matters. That is why spreads shift so much for those instances when they occur.

The Warriors have essentially gotten the NBA's version of a Swedish Massage in terms of Travel since March 30th.

But it gets EVEN BETTER.

You want Rest? You got it!

From March 30th through May 31, the Day before Game 1, the Warriors will have played only 19 games in 63 days which includes a low-stress, late-season stretch where they rested their stars as they pleased.

Compare this to last year chasing the 73, and having to put away the Thunder, who had Durant on the other side of the ball. Now that same man joins them to fight for the title they should have won last year.

Advantage: Warriors

Onto the minutes...and the disparity is eye-popping and crucial.

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#10 Minutes Matter

You prefer to back a team who has had less wear and tear, more rest, fewer injuries, and opens up at home as the best team in the league. You get that ALL right here with the Warriors. And you only give up a standard line of 7. That is fair. Why?

Let's really look at the minutes. 

The Warriors didn't have a player in the top 27 in minutes per game this year. Klay lead the team with 34.0 per game. 

The Cavs? Lebron lead the ENTIRE LEAGUE at 37.8 per game.

In the playoffs, the gap got even worse: Lebron is averaging 41.4 per game while the Thunder has decreased their average minutes as every single Warrior has played below an average of 34.7.

What does this speak to Scal! Lebron is still tearing it up even playing all these increased minutes! 

It speaks to balance. Evenly distributed minutes speaks to a well rotated team with fewer injuries and fresher players who can go harder on defense having gotten more bench time (and are probably on the bench because they are blowing teams out, which the Warriors are in the playoffs). The '100% healthy' figure speaks to that this year for Golden State.

On the Cavs side of the ball, star heavy minutes reveal just how tenuous the bench is and how much that mega-star needs to be leaned on. it speaks to lack of depth and the coach's lack of confidence in surrounding players.

YES the Cavs have only lost A GAME at 12-1, BUT again, they beat the Pacers by an average of 4, and in the Boston series they were down 8 in Game 3 in the middle of the third. Lose that game and that series could go a grueling 7. It didn't turn out that way but remember Lebron was hemming and hawing about having a lack of depth at PG towards the end of the year. Does he have it now in Deron? I don't think so. Deron has never sniffed the finals and when he gets there, being a Nets fan, I'll just say it will be interesting to see. That is why Lebron has taken things into his own hands. He doesn't have a choice. The Warriors have an abundance of choices. 

Exactly how many minutes have the Warriors played? Draymond had 639 heading into last year's Finals. This year he has 416.

Klay had 603 last year. Now he heads to the Finals with 413. 

Even Curry has issues last year: In Last year's Western Conference Finals he played 257 minutes on a hobbled knee. This year on a healthy knee 138.

Durant is the most amazing:

734 minutes through last year's WCF getting eliminated. 

334 minutes through the WCF heading to the Finals to played the Cavs.


Folks, that is worth 7 points. To get this game at Oracle and continue this trend. It will be quite interesting to see how they come out with the travel in Game 3.

Advantage: Warrirors 

#11 Wide Open Threes

I wanted to note this and this is just done by the eye test. 

Pacers got a ton of open threes against the Cavs. The Raptors did as well and just missed the overwhelming majority of them. The Celtics made the Cavs pay for them in Game 3 and also through 3 quarters of Game 4. 

The Cavs have not fixed this issue and now the worst team at the worst time is coming at you to exacerbate this issue. Kyrie is not a good perimeter defender so it may get worse. Leave the Warriors open from 3 and they will drill you, running away with it very quickly, which can happen in Game 1 (a desirable scenario as the minutes-heavy Cavs can lay off if they go down big preserving themselves for Game 2). The Cavs defense in general has shown leaks as well as we all know.

#12 +/-

People love obscure stats. They feel they are the golden nuggets that justify plays lying under the surface. I like raw stats. They speak to me and shouldn't be tossed aside because they aren't sophisticated.

The Top 5 +/- in the Playoffs is, outside of Lebron, All Warriors:

1. Curry +215
2. LBJ - +202
3. Draymond +188
4. Klay +170 (if you can believe it)
5. Durant +144

That is a WHITE-HOT +/- list for Golden State to counter what we saw last year for the Warriors in the 2016 Finals (in all the right places this year and strange ones last year):

Barbosa +38
Green +23
Iggy +19
Livingston +13
Curry -7
Ezeli -25
Barnes -32
Klay -45

So what does this tell us. Klay even though he is not scoring, he is playing effective defense and his teammates are making up for the scoring. 

They've gotten rid of Barnes (good for this spot), gotten rid of Ezeli (good for this spot), gotten rid of Barbosa (you shouldn't be leaning on Leandro again) and added Durant who most certainly can top the list this year.

Think about that folks, Curry had a -7 +/- last year and it basically came down to the last shot. They come in fully healthy and stacked this year. That's very good. Very, very good....

Again, you should bet this game if you are a seasoned capper. Don't sit it out. You won't get opportunities like this again You should approach it like a defense attorney. And I ask, do you have enough evidence to counter all of the above and take the Cavs +7? Or do you just 'feel' good backing Lebron and the getting 7, particularly after watching them drop 135 on the road. Do you have the goods? I know I do.

Because the goods on my side are right here. You get the Warriors. You lay 7. I picked this game apart like a forensic scientist  does to a crime scene and all I see is a Warriors cover. 

EVERYTHING has culminated to this. The minute the buzzer sounded the Warriors knew they'd be in THIS VERY SPOT to prove themselves once more against the Cavs. And here they are. EVERYTHING in Durant's professional life has culiminated to this as well. Everything. That is VERY powerful. That crescendo....Right here...And you get it all -7.

Lose game 1 and you will not be winning the next 4 so that leaves two scenarios: Not only do you lose home court but you also lose control of the series. You cannot win 4-1 (i.e., they won't win 4 in a row against the Cavs after losing the first at home) so to win the series you must win 4 of 5 or 4 of 6 and 4 of 6 would require another Game 7 where anything can happen. That's two bad offerings (as 4 of 5 is unlikely). Win the first, gain control like a person who raises in poker and move forward with confidence. This is a VERY IMPORTANT GAME so it requires a HIGHLY DETAILED CAP as I have done here. 

And that is why this is my biggest write-up ever.

It is time to go LARGE on this bet...with the power of...GODZILLA!

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The pick:

Cavs +1 over Warriors (First Quarter)

I'm a little confused by the lines here. I posted this ahead of time because I want to put the bet in but this line actually isn't posted on 5 Dimes (anyone else have it)?

The game line is +3 Cavs but the HT line is Cavs pick'em?

Possible. But that is a VERY, VERY rare line. The HT line typically would be +2 Cavs in that spot.

Anyhow I'm posting +1 for the first quarter but it might be a pick'em when it comes out.

Ultimately it shouldn't matter but I'd love to have a full point on a HT line regardless. 

But let's move forward because I'm not playing for a single point here on the spread here (and never do).

1. This is a TRADITIONAL CAPPING SPOT we all know and love

The team down 2-0 in the series comes home and goes all out in the first quarter to try to put it away early. It's equivalent to a first round knock-out. It is heightened even more because with the Warriors, no lead is safe. So while you won't be knocking out the Evander Holyfield in his prime in the first quarter, you can certainly stun him.

I can give you ATS numbers for the first quarter and the regular season but what does it matter? The reason you know, more than any other, this spot, that is, taking the 1st quarter line of the team coming home after going down 2-0, is because of tradition.

Tranditionally, this is an OUTSTANDING bet. And the playoffs, more than any other time, make the first quarter line the strongest. Yes, these playoffs have been an aberration ATS (road dogs are 17-2 ATS as an example), but you get so much here. 

There should be a premium to pay on this home team. You should be laying a point or two. And a point or two TO the Warriors matters for a quarter line where a 3 at the buzzer can blow everything. But you are not. You are laying NOTHING. In fact you are getting +1 (I believe, but we'll see if that pans out).

To not lay a single point in this spot with the Cavs makes this bet extremely valuable.

2. What more can the Cavs do to prove they can win a game in this series if not go up in the first?

Are the Cavs, for the THIRD straight game, going to dig themselves a massive hole to climb out of to get a win, at home? The crowd will be out of it immediately if this happens. Their self-confidence will be shot. The Cavs know this. That is why teams at home respond so strongly at home down 2-0 in the first.

They HAVE to take and maintain a lead in the first quarter or they are dead this game and the next. What's the plan? Come back and cut it to 3 at the half like last game and then have the Warriors run wild on them in the third (their best quarter in the playoffs).

This FIRST quarter will dictate their future. How, motivationally, is that not a fantastic spot to back a team?

3. Question: If you get +3 for the game but a pick'um for the first quarter, aren't you getting ripped off?

Yes and no. The books know full well, after these past two maulings, that world will be on the Warriors. Some sites have it as high as 80% Warriors bets on the spread. Even more so, the books will reel the square in when they see a light first quarter spread. They'll bet that too. So we'll take the sharp side and be 'cheated' points. But do not worry. The Cavs should play with maximum aggression to get us over this number.

Even the Warriors know that, to win this game, they simply stay within striking distance the first half and then go full bore the second half to win it, particularly from the outside. That is why the first quarter line is more valuable than the full game line.

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3. The full game line of +3

Think about HOW MUCH of a premium you are paying on the Warriors full game line here. The Game 1 line opened at -7. 

The spread in the playoffs from Game 2 to 3 typically switches as low as -6.5 to as much as -10 to the other team. This line compared to Game 2 has switch LESS than the lower bound from a closing line of -8.5 to -3 which is only 5.5 points.

If you compare Game 1 (-7) to Game 3 (-3) it has switch a full 2.5 points LOWER than the standard lower bound for home road switch. 
Again, that is 2.5 pts lower than the LOWER BOUND. If you take the midpoint of 6.5 and 10 and use 8, this line is 4 points lower than it could be (Cavs going from +7 to -1 with a 8 pt swing. -1 + 4 = +3 we get on the full game line).

While you don't get ALL that value in the first quarter line, you still get some. All in the all, the books will be salivating for a Cavs cover on all lines (1st quarter, half, and full game) and I'll side with the books.

4. The Game 1 and 2 beatings were not even as bad as last year.

Yes they were awful and they could have won by more. But here are the numbers. 

+41 through Game 1 and 2 this year
+48 through Game 1 and 2 last year

JR Smith 8 pts through 2 games last year.
JR Smith 3 pts through 2 games this year.

Then in Game 3 last year JR went for 20 and hit 5 threes.

This is all we are asking (and right now JR may not even start, but I'd leave him in), in the first quarter, have JR give everything he has. Have KLove give everything they have. LBJ will give it without a doubt. 

All we need is for the Warriors to play rope a dope for ONE quarter and we win. 

So why not take the full game line if there is so much value? Because last night:

1) Lebron had a Triple double going into the fourth
2) The Warriors had 20 turnovers
3) Curry had 8 turnovers

And the Cavs were still down 14 going into the 4th. I don't want to play this full game line or deal with the second half. Or even the second quarter for that matter.

If you are the Cavs, do EVERYTHING you can to avoid a track meet. That can be the only approach. Stifling D early, establishing enough of a lead to preserve throughout the game, and try to hold onto it a the buzzer. 

First quarter establishes everything here. I'm taking it with the Cavs.

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