The 2015 NBA Finals finally arrive on Thursday, June 4th, when the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will go to battle at Oracle Arena. The setting is simple to follow. LeBron James has returned home to lead the Cavs to their first ever title, while league MVP Stephen Curry aims to get the Warriors their first championship in 40 years. Fans who don’t already have a dog in this race could lean either way, but which way should you be leaning if you’re doing some NBA betting?

Logic says the Warriors win it all (ESPN is giving them a 72% chance and they own the odds) but we already reluctantly predicted James would pull it off and get the Cavs their first title. That being said, game one is in Golden State and one previous prediction will not dictate how we pick each individual game. With that said, let’s dive into the NBA Finals and call game one:

Cleveland Cavaliers (2) @ Golden State Warriors (1) on ABC at 9:00 pm ET

The first thing we need to realize is that both of these teams have been extremely dominant in these playoffs. Golden State has lost one game at home and three games total, while the Cavs dropped two games to the Bulls and notched two sweeps in their other series. Cleveland has been more impressive overall, as they’ve done it all without Kevin Love, missed J.R. Smith for two games (suspension) and have had a hobbled Kyrie Irving. This is largely why I’m picking the Cavs to win the serioes. But game one, I feel, is in Golden State’s favor. They’re at home, they’ve lost three games all year at Oracle Arena and that crowd is going to be hoppin‘.

Both of these teams can run the floor and play in halfcourt sets, they can hit outside shots and they can defend. Neither have a real go-to inside scorer and prefer to shoot jumpers and play perimeter offense. In a sense, they’re the worst/best possible opponent for each other and there’s a very good chance they push each other to the brink right away, starting in game one. I’m expecting a six game series at the very least and I personally am pulling for the Warriors (I’m sick of James getting to/winning Finals, okay?). But more importantly, the Warriors are just more fun to watch. Curry is really only going to be stopped in this series if LeBron James is guarding him and I think the Warriors have the arsenal of defenders (Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes) to throw on James and weigh him down. That will all work for at least game one and heck, maybe for the entire series.

I like the Total tonight (203), and I like it a lot. I’d chase that all day and I’ll also take the Cavs against the spread (Warriors -6 favorites), but Golden State straight up. I’m expecting a high-scoring but close affair. Both of these teams will be extremely focused and they know the importance of this first game. I just think Golden State is the better overall team and they’re extremely tough to beat at home. Cleveland could figure that out eventually, but not in game one.

Pick: Warriors 106, Cavs 104

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