Warriors vs. Cavaliers odds, Game 3: Expert on 17-6 run releases picks for 2018 NBA Finals

The Cleveland Cavaliers return home to Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET) for Game 3 of the NBA Finals in a proverbial must-win situation against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are 4.5-point sportsbook favorites in the latest odds for Game 3, with the over-under for total points scored set at 216.5.

Cleveland pushed Golden State to the wire in a memorable Game 1 that went to overtime before getting blown out in Game 2. Now, LeBron James and company are home underdogs as they are in desperation mode to get back in the series.

For optimal analysis of this matchup, look no further than SportsLine senior analyst Josh Nagel. The veteran handicapper uses a combination of relevant data, eye tests and betting-market knowledge to form his detailed analysis and selective spread picks.

His expertise has paid off in the NBA playoffs, as he has posted a 15-6 record (71 percent) with his postseason spread selections. He also has been zeroed in on the tendencies of these two clubs, as evidenced by his 17-6 mark against the spread (74 percent) in games involving either Cleveland or Golden State.

Perhaps the key question surrounding Game 3 is whether the Cavaliers can muster the same type of energy and effort they used for an inspired Game 1 effort that memorably came up short amid a flurry of questionable calls and J.R. Smith's infamous mental gaffe on the final play of regulation.

Golden State escaped with a 124-114 overtime win in Game 1 and exploited a still-reeling Cavaliers club for a 122-103 Game 2 blowout.

This is widely perceived as one of the biggest NBA Finals mismatches in recent memory. The star-laden Warriors, led by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, are believed to have too many weapons for a Cleveland club that boasts James as its lone equalizer.

That was almost enough in Game 1, as James' historic performance included 51 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. But Curry, Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 79 points as the Warriors shot 57 percent from the field in Game 2. Now the scene shifts back to Quicken Loans Arena, where Cleveland is 8-1 this postseason.

Nagel has analyzed all these factors, isolated a crucial x-factor, and jumped all over one side of this line. 

Will the Cavaliers respond on their home court with an inspired performance, or will the Warriors assert control of the series with a dominant showing?... Visit SportsLine now to see which side of Warriors-Cavaliers you should back Wednesday, and what the x-factor will be, from an accomplished handicapper who's hitting 74 percent of his picks involving these teams.

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