Daily Bet: Cavaliers +4.5 at Warriors

We’ve known for years that God hates Cleveland. Now we know the suits in the NBA’s Park Avenue offices feel the exact same way. How else do you explain the fact that, after giving the Cavaliers their first two games at home, the NBA sent them on the highway for 11 of their next 14 games (including a current six-game, 11-day road trip)? Check out this itinerary: From Nov. 3 through Nov. 30, Cleveland will have to play in Milwaukee, L.A., Oakland, Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Orlando, Miami, Memphis and Atlanta, with three stops at home in between. (Of course, if you gave Cavs players truth serum, I’m sure they’d say, “Dude, have you been to Cleveland? The less time we spend there, the better.”)

Anyway, on the bright side, it looks like for the first time since some guy named LeBron was in their locker room, the Cavs have a squad capable of handling this travel. After two miserable post-LeBron seasons, Cleveland has started this year by splitting its first four games, throwing up just one stinker (Friday’s 115-86 home loss to the Bulls). The Cavs followed that with a tough 105-102 loss at Milwaukee the following night (covering as a 7-point underdog) and a 108-101 upset at the Clippers on Monday (as a 10-point ’dog). In both contests, stud second-year point guard Kyrie Irving was phenomenal, going for 27 points, seven assists and four rebounds against Milwaukee, and 24 points, 10 assists and three boards against the Clippers.

Like the Cavaliers, Golden State has split its first four games, but the two wins were by two and four points. In fact, three of the Warriors’ four games have been decided by a combined eight points. The only exception was their only home game to date: a 104-94 loss to Memphis.

Now, have the Warriors posted three straight double-digit wins against Cleveland? Yes, but that’s when the Cavs were in their post-LeBron malaise. And have the Warriors covered in six straight meetings? Yes, but they were underdogs in four of those contests. In fact, the underdog is on a 9-4 ATS run in this rivalry. One more little tidbit: This could be an early-season look-ahead spot for Golden State, whose next game is Friday in L.A. against the Lakers. Take the points, and don’t be surprised if Irving leads the way a second straight outright upset.

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Record: 64-52-1



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