A statement from Golden State in the NBA Finals…and a special “Gold” announcement regarding an exciting new football handicapping contest. Today, the streets are paved with gold in VSiN City!
NBA: Golden State humbles Cleveland in Finals Opener
Golden State was so dominant that it’s hard to know where to begin. The Warriors executed on offense like they were the Globetrotters, creating favorable matchups and open looks while rarely turning the ball over. If Klay Thompson and Draymond Green hadn’t combined to shoot 6 of 28 from the floor, it would have been a bigger blowout. To their credit, Thompson and Green did lead a stingy defensive effort. The Warriors defended Cleveland like NOBODY has defended Cleveland in quite some time.
Golden State (-7.5) 113, Cleveland 91
- Two-Point Pct: Cleveland 35%, Golden State 45%
- Three-Pointers: Cleveland 11/31, Golden State 12/33
- Turnovers: Cleveland 20, Golden State 4
- Fast Break Points: Cleveland 8, Golden State 27
- Points in the Paint: Cleveland 30, Golden State 56
LeBron James has to play great for the Cavs to beat this loaded Warriors squad. He was three assists away from a triple double through three quarters, and they were still down by 21! Cleveland has to make a high volume of treys at a sharp percentage to win any games. The Cavs led the category most of the way to no avail. If they had made seven more treys, they still would have lost.
Pace finished at a brisk 100 possessions per team. A reminder that Cleveland has to slow things down to win “ugly” if they’re going to compete in this series. The Warriors know how to find the right man in the right spot at speed. Slow them down and frustrate them. Or just shake their hands now.
You just spent a week reading and hearing about how fantastic Cleveland’s offense has been in the postseason (after the Cavs “flip that switch”). In THAT context, holding Cleveland to 91 points on 100 possessions is amazing. You saw in our key stats that Golden State held the Cavs to 35% inside the arc while forcing 20 turnovers. After a frantic first quarter for both teams, Cleveland could only score 22, 20, and 19 by quarter afterward. (That broke the hearts of Over bettors, who thought a 65-point first quarter had positioned them for an easy win. The game would ultimately stay Under by 21 points.)
It’s true that last year’s Finals also opened with a low-scoring home cover for Golden State. They won 104-89 in a very slow game (90 possessions per team). And, Cleveland did rally back from that (and worse) to win the title. Why does 2017 feel so different? Andrew Bogut played well in that opener but eventually got hurt in Game 5. Steph Curry was wearing down, and would have to play hurt later in the series. We all remember Draymond Green’s suspension. Cleveland rallied against a watered down version of a great team. Now Kevin Durant has joined that great opponent…and all the key contributors are fresh.
MVP Watch: Kevin Durant had such a big game for Golden State that he clearly is cemented as the front runner (38 points, 8 assists, 8 rebounds). Steph Curry had enough numbers (28 points and 10 assists) that big games in three additional wins could put him over the top. Hard at this point to see a long shot coming through. No Warrior is going to outscore both of those two guys. No single Warrior is going to play such great individual defense that it’s going to trump their scoring. LeBron had big numbers (28 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists)…which would only add to his individual resume if he leads the Cavs back to victory. Who besides LeBron could lead the Cavs back? Not much suspense yet in this new Las Vegas betting option.
Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals isn’t until Sunday. Cleveland is the obvious “zig-zag” bet…but the line probably won’t adjust the Cavs' way given how uncompetitive they were Thursday. Golden State isn’t dealing with injuries, or suspensions, or fatigue, and nobody’s throwing overconfident behind-the-back passes out of bounds any more. The total will drop because there was a lot of sharp interest in the Under in G1…and an active Golden State defense is likely to be a theme the whole series. The South Point is at Golden State -8 and 222 this morning, but you can keep posted here.
No playoff action at all on the Friday schedule. The NHL resumes Saturday.
Stanley Cup Final: Saturday’s Game 3 (Pittsburgh leads series 2-0)
Pittsburgh at Nashville (-135, total of 5.5–Under -130); 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
As expected, sports books are defending against an anticipated flood of Nashville betting interest in their must-win home opener. We’ll crunch the numbers from all the weekend action for you in our Monday report.
Sports Betting Industry: Huge news! Jay Kornegay of the Westgate announces “SuperContest Gold” on “My Guys in the Desert” with Brent Musburger
Sports bettors know all about the annual pro football handicapping “SuperContest” held annually by the Westgate. Thursday, Vice President of Race and Sports Operations at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Jay Kornegay announced the creation of a new, separate attraction.
“Super Contest Gold” will be a “winner take all” event with a $5,000 entry fee (compared to the $1,500 entry fee for the “Super Contest,” known for decades as “the Hilton Contest”). Entries will be limited to one per person. And the end of the season, best record gets all the money!
Again, this is a separate contest. You can enter both if you wish, but you can only have one entry in the $5,000 winner-take-all event.
If you didn’t see the announcement live, please click here to watch a replay.
This is very likely to be a popular contest for professional wagerers. They can afford the entry fee, and will see themselves as plus-EV (expected value). The more recreational players enter, the more “sharps” will see that as dead money improving their “pot odds.” But recreational players have scored some successes in the Super Contest, and one could certainly get hot here.
Proof again that you never know when big news is going to break on VSiN! Hats off to Kornegay and the Westgate for creating this marquee event.
College Football: Analyzing projected Big 10 powers, as Regular Season Wins go up Friday at South Point
Yesterday, we talked about how the SEC might be overrated in media circles. Today, we provide a quick look at Big 10 powers to get you in the right frame of mind for the big release Friday afternoon of Regular Season Win totals at the South Point (details below).
The respected Athlon publication recently hit newsstands with FOUR teams from the Big 10 ranked in the top dozen. Avid fans already know to pay attention to Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin. It’s easy to gloss over the fact that those are the only four Big 10 teams ranked in Athlon’s top 40!
Big empty cavern from the powers to the rest of the pack. Following on the heels of Northwestern are Nebraska at #43, Iowa at #44, Michigan State at #49, Minnesota at #50, Indiana at #54, Maryland at #57. Nobody else in Athlon’s top 80.
A challenge for analysts heading into the new season involves determining a true read on last year’s powers…then adjusting for talented changes for 2017. It hasn’t been well publicized that…
- Ohio State was CRUSHED statistically by Clemson in that 31-0 loss in the national semifinals. The Buckeyes were seen as slightly better entering the neutral site affair (-1 on the closing line), but were outgained by a stunning 470-215. If the Tigers hadn’t been sitting on a big lead, they would have reached 500 yards. Ohio State was badly outclassed by the eventual National Champions.
- Michigan was owned at the point of attack through most of its bowl game vs. Florida State. The Wolverines were outgained 371-252, and needed a defensive TD to help keep them close in a game they were favored to win by a touchdown.
- Penn State lost a thriller to USC in the Rose Bowl, though they were outgained 575-465 by the Trojans. Nice cover at plus a TD for the Nittany Lions and their backers. But, minus 130 yards in the boxscore was a red flag.
That means the “big three” from the Big 10 East went 0-3 straight up at what was basically a composite pick-em, and were outgained by a combined 484 yards! Looking back, were those teams as good as you thought they were in terms of being National Championship contenders? All received hype as “Final Four caliber” at the end of the season by various media constituencies.
(If you can’t remember Wisconsin’s bowl, that may because their push at -8 vs. Western Michigan wasn’t a high profile affair.)
Looking forward, how should you have the Big 10 powers rated with the following volume of experience coming back?
- Ohio State returns 8 starters on offense, 7 on defense
- Michigan returns 5 starters on offense, 1 on defense
- Penn State returns 10 starters on offense, 6 on defense
- Wisconsin returns 9 starters on offense, 8 on defense
Those numbers are from Athlon. All four return an experienced quarterback, which will help their causes. But, those are the quarterbacks that went 19-33-2-127 vs. Clemson, 21-38-1-163 vs. Florida State, and 18-29-3-254 vs. USC in bowl games vs. major conference opponents. Six interceptions in three games, with two QB’s failing to reach 170 passing yards despite topping 30 attempts.
A lot of question marks are out there this year in college football because of personnel turnover across the national landscape. More question marks for sports betting purposes will be presented to you Friday at the South Point. Sports book director Chris Andrews will post 2017 Regular Season Win Totals at 6 p.m. ET, 3 p.m. out here in Las Vegas. Those will be formally announced on “My Guys in the Desert” with Brent Musburger and Ron Flatter. Note that Regular Season Wins only count the base schedule. Conference championship games, bowls, or Final Four Playoff victories are NOT part of the mix.
Who will be the best value bets? Take your shots, and don’t be afraid to tell us why! You can outline your thoughts in an email (along with questions or comments about VSiN) by clicking here to drop us a note. Or, send us a tweet. Start following us on Twitter by clicking here. If you’d like to receive VSiN City in your email box every weekday morning, you can subscribe for that free service by clicking here.
Have a great weekend! Belmont Week begins Monday as we continue coverage of the NBA and NHL finals on the way to the third jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown. See you Monday.