Are the Warriors Too Heavily Favored for NBA Finals Game 3?

June 05, 2019 - 11:38 am
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The Golden State Warriors held off the Toronto Raptors in the waning seconds of Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night thanks to Andre Iguodala’s game-clinching 3-pointer.

The 15-year veteran finished with eight points, eight rebounds and six assists. Igoudala also provided sound on-ball defense in the final two frames on the Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, who manufactured 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting. Golden State coach Steve Kerr altered his defensive gameplan to begin the third quarter, pinning Klay Thompson on Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green on Kyle Lowry and Iguodala on Siakam. That sparked an 18-0 run, which Toronto couldn’t overcome.

After holding the Raptors to 103.0 points per 100 possessions in Game 2, the Warriors are 13-0 straight-up in the playoffs when they’ve allowed fewer than 115.5 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors also recorded 34 assists on 38 made field goals, including an assist on every made shot in the second half.

After looking at the opening odds of the NBA Finals, here’s how they’ve shifted since.

Updated series odds

Warriors -280

Raptors +240

Updated MVP odds

Steph Curry -200

Kawhi Leonard +280

Draymond Green +650

Klay Thompson 20-1

Kevin Durant 30-1

Pascal Siakam 30-1

Field 40-1

Andre Igoudala 60-1

Kyle Lowry 75-1

Game 3 odds

Warriors -6 (Over/Under 212.5)

Moneyline: Golden State -240; Toronto +200

It's challenging to decide on a bet for Game 3 without knowing Durant's, Thompson's or Kevon Looney’s injury status. While I’m not one to jump aboard trends, the Warriors are 12-15-1 against the spread when favored by five to six points in the playoffs under Steve Kerr (2015-19), per Sports Insights. That includes a 2-5 ATS stretch in the 2019 NBA postseason.

On the flip side, the Raptors are 8-4 ATS this season when they’re at most a six-point road underdog. One of those wins came at Golden State on Dec. 12 in a game in which Leonard didn’t suit up. 

Despite Toronto’s near-six-minute stretch without a made field goal in the third quarter, along with a three-minute span in the fourth, I’d expect some positive regression for a unit that generated the fifth-highest offensive rating (112.5) in the regular season.

Initial pick: Raptors +6

By Eli Hershkovich

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