Jordan’s NBA Picks: 83-61-1, Playoffs 29-23-1
Golden State (69-29 SU & 42-54 ATS) at Toronto (70-30 SU & 48-50 ATS)
Thursday, 9:00 PM EST, ABC
Free NBA Pick: Raptors 1H ATS
Recommended Sportsbook: 5Dimes
With Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins still not ready to make their returns and the Raptors playing at home in this crucial Game 1 of the NBA Finals, how should we handicap this game in order to extract the most profit?
Warriors’ Long Layoff
Heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors knew what was at stake. They knew that if they won that game, it would give their very injured roster a chance to heal.
Andre Iguodala was banged up, while it also gave Durant and Cousins a chance to come back while the Raptors were busy putting away the Bucks.
Now, nine days later, not much has changed. Durant is still out for Game 1 and he might be out Game 2 as well. Cousins isn’t close yet, but at the very least Iguodala should be good to go.
Still, that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence and there is room for the Raptors to win this game and series.
Being on the road does not help the Dubs in this one and while the time off probably helped overall for the series, it might not help in the first to quarters of this game. A long layoff like that is impossible to quantify, but it also has the chance to make the Warriors come out flat.
If they do that, the Raptors may be great first quarter and first half wagers.
The Sharp Pick
So far in these playoffs, the Raptors have had some up and down first quarters, but overall their first-half performances have been pretty good. They are holding opponents to just 100 points per 100 possessions in the first halves of their 10 home playoff games and they are playing at a pace of 96.9 in the process.
Much like the last series against the fast-paced Bucks, the Raptors will have to figure out how to slow down the Warriors’ pace and force them to become a half court team.
If you exclude the Warriors’ beatdown of the Clippers offensively in the first round, the Dubs have not had the same first have success in their last two series. This is especially true on the road.
Golden State is allowing 122.9 points per 100 possessions in the first halves of their last five playoff road games and the long layoff may exacerbate the issues they have defensively without a true center to clog up the middle.
I think the Raptors are a great first half wager ATS and I’m leaning them in the first quarter as well. Golden State may very well wake up in the second half and have a huge third quarter like they have done time and again in these playoffs, but early in the game, I think the Raptors’ defense and the crowd will help them to a lead after 24 minutes.
First Half Score Prediction: Warriors 53 – Raptors 55