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Cavaliers vs. Warriors NBA Betting Odds & Picks: How to Bet the First Half

Cavaliers vs. Warriors NBA Betting Odds & Picks: How to Bet the First Half article feature image

Jed Jacobsohn/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors, Jarrett Allen #31 of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • The Cleveland Cavaliers close out their West Coast trip at Chase Center against the Golden State Warriors on Friday.
  • The Warriors are slight 2.5-point favorites against a Cavs team that has cooled off slightly in recent games.
  • Andrew O'Connor-Watts explains why he's betting the first half total instead of a side in this matchup.

Cavaliers vs. Warriors Odds

Cavaliers Odds+2.5
Warriors Odds-2.5
Over/Under232 (-110/-110)
Time10 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Cleveland Cavaliers will close out their five-game West Coast road swing in San Francisco Friday against the Golden State Warriors. This will be the Cavaliers' fifth game in seven days, while the Warriors will play their second home game after a five-game road trip of their own.

Will the rested Warriors take a much-needed win from the tired, reeling Cavs? Let's take a look at how these one-time cross-conference rivals stack up against one another and where we can find some betting value.

Cavaliers Showing Small Vulnerabilities

After an epic 8-1 start to the season (both Straight Up and Against the Spread), the Cavs have dropped their last two games to the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento Kings.

Both losses have been the result of a drop-off in defense, while their offense has stayed on track. Entering Monday's game against the Clippers, the Cavs ranked second in Defensive Rating allowing 102.9 points per 100 possessions. That number skyrocketed to 125.5 in the two losses.

Against the Kings, the stout defensive presence of the Cavs' twin towers, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, was almost non-existent. They failed to deter wing penetration and Sacramento big man Domantas Sabonis was getting inside and drawing fouls with ease.

Sabonis went 11-of-12 from the line, taking more than half the number of free throws attempts than the entire Cavs team as a whole (20).

And free throws have been an issue for the Cavs lately. When looking at team success, I often consider the Four Factors: eFG%, TOV%, ORB% and FT Rate. Their Defensive FT Rate has been horrible, averaging in the eight percentile the past two games.

In fact, the only Four Factors category in which they haven’t been atrocious has been ORB%. According to Cleaning the Glass, they’ve been excellent the last two games, ranking in the 98th and 99th percentile against the Kings and Clippers, respectively.

In the final two factors, they’ve been awful. Against Sacramento, they ranked in the sixth percentile in Defensive eFG% and TOV% and they didn’t fare much better against the Clippers, ranking in the 11th and seventh percentile respectively. To put that into context, those percentiles are based on every team for the entire season so far. Not good.

Warriors Slow Start Begins With the Bench

The Warriors have looked like somewhat of a mess to start this season.

I attribute this to a few factors, some more concerning than others. The argument for “everything’s going to be OK” could be simple. It’s still very early in the season and the Warriors have not taken the regular season seriously since they won the most regular season games in the history of the league in 2015-16.

However, even last year, around this time, they didn’t look nearly this bad. Through 15 games last season they were 13-2 with the best Net Rating, the second-best eFG% and the sixth-best OREB%.

While their offense has looked comparable to Warriors offenses of old (third in eFG%), their defense has fallen off a cliff. They rank in the bottom-third in opponent eFG% and they allow the most short midrange shots in the league (25.4%), where opponents are making the second-most (46.9%).

The Warriors starting five has continued to shine through all of this, but the second unit is where things get messy. Jonathan Kuminga and Jordan Poole rank in the first percentile for Differential with Wiseman only slightly ahead in the second percentile.

In fact, the only Warriors bench player who ranks above the 10th percentile is Moses Moody who is in the 43rd percentile and still at a negative with a -.7 Differential.

It could have something to do with Steve Kerr’s messing with rotations, but it could also be that most of these guys just aren’t ready for NBA-level basketball.

On Tuesday, Warriors general manager Bob Myers went on 95.7 The Game’s “Steiny and Guru” and brought up the possibility of sending Kuminga and Wiseman to the G League in order to get them some in-game experience without negatively effecting the Warriors’ regular season. Last game against the Kings, Kuminga played nine minutes and Wiseman was a DNP-CD.

Cavaliers-Warriors Pick

I'm looking to fade these two defenses, both of which have struggled of late. The Cavs and Warriors skew to the over for the season (both are 7-4 to the over), but the last three out of four Warriors games have gone under.

Instead, I'm looking to the first half over. These are both teams that get out and run to start the first half. The Cavs this season are 5-2 to the over in the first half and the Warriors are 6-4-1.

With the Warriors on three days rest and the Cavs playing their fifth game in seven days, I will also look to live bet the Warriors in the second half. This is a great spot for a Golden State team that is 4-1 in the second half this season and 44-35-3 (55.7%) since the bubble season. The Cavs are 4-3 in the second half this season, but have lost their last two.

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