NBA Finals Betting Preview: What's the Best Bet for Warriors-Raptors?

May 29, 2019 - 3:57 pm
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By Eli Hershkovich

After 2,460 regular season games and 77 playoff contests, we’ve reached the pinnacle of the NBA season. The Golden State Warriors are set for their fifth consecutive NBA Finals appearance. The Toronto Raptors have reached this stage for the first time in the franchise’s 24-year history.

Let’s break down the different ways to bet on the NBA Finals, along with a wager that delivers the best value.

Schedule

Game 1: at Toronto, Thursday, May 30 (9 p.m. EST)

Game 2: at Toronto, Sunday, June 2, 8 p.m. EST)

Game 3: at Golden State: Wednesday, June 5 (9 p.m. EST)

Game 4: at Golden State: Friday, June 7 (9 p.m. EST)

Game 5*: at Toronto, Monday, June 10 (9 p.m. EST)

Game 6*: at Golden State, Thursday, June 13 (9 p.m. EST)

Game 7*: at Toronto, Sunday, June 16 (8 p.m. EST)

* if necessary

Injury updates: Warriors coach Steve Kerr announced Kevin Durant (strained right calf) will be out for Game 1. DeMarcus Cousins (torn left quadriceps muscle) is listed as questionable. Durant, who averaged 34.2 points per game in the playoffs before suffering his injury against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference semifinals, hasn’t been cleared to begin on-court activities. The two could suit up at some point in the series, but their respective return dates remain unclear.

Series odds

Warriors -330

Raptors +210

Exact series odds

Warriors in four games: +500

Warriors in five games: +350

Warriors in six games: +275

Warriors in seven games: +500

Raptors in four games: +2500

Raptors in five games: +1000

Raptors in six games: +1200

Raptors in seven games: +600

Series handicap

Warriors -1.5 games: -167

Raptors +1.5 games: +130

MVP odds

Steph Curry: -140

Kawhi Leonard: +250

Draymond Green: +1000

Klay Thompson: +1400

Kevin Durant: +2000

Pascal Siakam: +4000

Kyle Lowry: +4000

Marc Gasol: +10000

Andre Iguodala: +20000

Serge Ibaka +30000

Fred VanVleet: +30000

Field +10000

Game 1 odds

Raptors -1  (O/U 214.5)

money line: Raptors -114, Warriors -102

Game 1 player props

Steph Curry: O/U 32.5 points, O/U 5.5 rebounds, O/U 5.5 assists

Klay Thompson: O/U 22.5 points, O/U 4 rebounds, O/U 2.5 assists

Draymond Green: O/U 13.5 points, O/U 10 rebounds, O/U 7.5 assists

Kawhi Leonard: O/U 30.5 points, O/U 8.5 rebounds, O/U 3.5 assists

Pascal Siakam: O/U 17.5 points, O/U 7 rebounds, O/U 2 assists

Kyle Lowry: O/U 15.5 points, O/U 5.5 rebounds O/U 6.5 assists

Value bet: Klay Thompson to win MVP (14-1)

There’s no value in the Warriors’ series odds, and using the money-line rollover strategy on a game-by-game basis won’t be as profitable as using it on a typical underdog — given Golden State will be a heavier favorite once it returns home.

I’m shifting my attention to Finals MVP, and Durant’s likely absence for a chunk of the series puts Thompson in a prime position to excel.

The 29-year-old two-guard has generated 19.1 points per game (39.3 percent 3-point clip) during the 2019 playoffs, and he’s amassed the Warriors’ second-most points per contest (22.6) during Durant’s five-game absence. Plus, Thompson has notched the third-highest defensive rating (111.1) among players with at least 24 minutes per game in the postseason. With the Raptors’ vaunted defense expected to launch plenty of ball pressure at Curry, look for Thompson -- a soon-to-be free agent -- to max out his worth.

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