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Early odds favor the Warriors over the Cavs in NBA Finals

For the fourth straight time since 2015, NBA Finals will be disputed by the defending champions Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors won the championship the first time they met the Cavaliers in 2015. Cleveland exacted revenge the following year, with a historic come-from-behind 1-3 deficit to dethrone Golden State emerging victor in the last four games of the best of seven title series.

Long tom artist Stephen Curry became the first player to have been awarded the MVP unanimously in 2015 and despite the Warriors? loss in 2016, took the honor back-to-back.

Then came Kevin Durant, who the Warriors flacked from the Oklahoma City Thunder summer of 2017 helping the Warriors reclaim the crown.

As in their first three meetings, the Warriors are installed the heavy favorites to win again this year on the strength their loaded roster with four all-stars -- Curry, Durant, himself a former MVP, last season?s best defense man Draymond Green and Klay Thompson.

Las Vegas oddsmakers established the Warriors as huge favorites to survive the best-of-seven NBA Finals, which begin Thursday (Friday Manila time) at Golden State?s Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook manager Jeff Sherman reported that the Warriors opened as minus-1,200 favorites, with the Cavaliers at plus-750.

Meaning a $1,200 bet on the Warriors would win $100 if the champions successfully defend their title, while a $100 bet on the Cavs would win $750 if LeBron captures his fourth ring.

Less than an hour later, Sherman posted revised odds with Golden State enjoying a minus-1,000 which is the highest for the NBA championship since began its tracking in 2002.

Cleveland is at plus-650. The Warriors opened as 12-point favorites to take Game over the Cavs.

In the Golden State-Cleveland matchups in 2015 and 2016, the Warriors were minus-220. Golden State was minus-300 in 2017.

One other reason for the odds favoring the Warriors is Cavaliers big man Kevin Love remains in the NBA's concussion protocol, and his status, according to coach Ty Lue, is uncertain whether he can play Game 1.

Love missed almost all of Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum in the first quarter on Friday. Jeff Green started in Love's place and contributed 19 points and eight rebounds in Game 7.

Love, 29, is averaging 13.9 points and 10 rebounds per game in the postseason. Three years ago, he missed the Cavaliers' NBA Finals series with the Warriors due to a separated shoulder injury.

Injured Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, meanwhile, continues to search for ways to return from a leg injury, having missed the final four games of the Western Conference finals.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr said the injury, originally described as a bone bruise, had no defined timetable for recovery and is typically a matter of an individual's pain threshold.

"He's frustrated," Kerr said. "His body has not responded at this point."

ESPN reported that Iguodala is seeking remedy to his knee discomfort and will be questionable, too, for Game 1.

Even before this recent dominant run, the Warriors have a long history of playoff success. Dating back to 1946-47, they've appeared in the championship round a total of 10 times, including this season.

Dating back to the Basketball Association of America days?when the team was located in Philadelphia?the franchise has won five total championships.

Cleveland, meanwhile, has appeared in five NBA Finals?including this season?and won just once.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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