Since the end of the 2016 NBA Finals last June, many fans around the league have been waiting for this rematch. After blowing that 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s best-of-seven finals, the Golden State Warriors are back, and they’re heavily favored. Golden State has opened as a 7-point home favorite for Thursday’s opener (9 PM ET, ABC), and are -240 on the NBA championship futures board.
Last year’s Warriors 73 games, but couldn’t finish the deal versus Cleveland, so they added All-Star Kevin Durant in free agency, giving them yet another league MVP to join Stephen Curry in the starting lineup. Durant is +220 and Curry is +230 to be named Finals MVP at the end of this series.
LeBron James seems to be an afterthought heading into the Finals, but is also +220 to win MVP. James has won the Finals MVP three times before. Even though the Cavs are +200 underdogs to defend their title, James is easily the best player on his team with Kyrie Irving next at +1000 to win the Most Valuable Player. James has played at an exceptionally high level in these playoffs, too, putting up 32.0 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists per game while hitting 42.1% of his 3-pointers.