One of the most riveting NBA finals is set to get underway between five-time finalists Golden State Warriors and first-time finalists Toronto Raptors. Will it be the perennial favorites Golden State Warriors that triumph or will the Toronto Raptors send seismic shockwaves through NBA betting markets?
Golden State Warriors Massive Faves
Shut the front door! The Golden State Warriors are the runaway favorites to win the NBA Finals? How surprising.
No, not at all, really. This is the fifth straight NBA Finals appearance by the Golden State Warriors, a feat that is rather awe-inspiring in the context of any sport let alone basketball.
It follows that the series should be well and truly cornered in their camp. Online sportsbooks such as Bookmaker and BetOnline hang the Warriors on -280 to win it all while 5Dimes is offering a slightly better price of -270.
For those bettors looking to back the Warriors on their NBA picks, the price with 5Dimes is currently the best one, but be sure to check for up-to-the-minute prices with our choice sportsbooks.
Game 1 odds have taken a turn against the defending champions. Kevin Durant is confirmed to be out of game 1 for the series and DeMarcus Cousins remains questionable – two major storylines that have seen the market move from an opening -1-point edge to a +1-point disadvantage with many top-rated sportsbooks.
Neither of these worrying twists seems to have taken the shine off of the Golden State Warriors as far as betting on game 1 goes. Consensus betting reports show the public is heavy on the Western Conference champions to come through with 66% and counting in game 1.
Stephen Curry probably plays a big part in the perception of infallibility that follows the Dubs everywhere they go. Time and time again, Curry has singlehandedly put the Dubs on his back and carried them to the finish line. Why just the last round saw him do pretty much that when he led the charge in the sweep over the Portland Trail Blazers.
A dependable frontman and a track record of success naturally speaks volumes and resonates with bettors. It’s no wonder the public’s persistence with the Warriors remains strong.
Raptors First Rodeo
Does this mean the Raptors have no chance whatsoever? It is their first rodeo after all. By the NBA odds, it does look that a championship is far out of their reach. Bookmakers opened with the Raptors as the significant underdogs at +240, and since then the market has moved against the Raptors even more with several sportsbooks going as high as +245.
It is worth noting some sportsbooks have dropped the odds on the Raptors to as low as +226, which might be an indication of some love going towards Toronto at their platforms and having to adjust prices in turn. That said, for those looking to back the Raptors in this series the +245 is the best price (for $100 bet you win $240 plus the stake) currently available at 5Dimes.
Of course, one can bet each game as it comes, but, if the Raptors get off to a great start it is very unlikely that the markets will offer the Raptors at better odds than those currently available in futures markets. Game 1 has the Raptors installed as the slight favorites at -1 with most sportsbooks, and the best juice is on offer with 5Dimes where the Raptors are trading at -1 (-105).
Can the Raptors Surprise?
Naturally, the big question is how likely are the Raptors to get off to a dream start? After all, the Golden State Warriors are proven champions. Two-time defending champions in the hunt for a third straight title. Denying the Dubs is going to be no mean feat.
But it isn’t impossible when the Raptors do have two major things going for them – home court advantage and Kawhi Leonard. This is the first time in five final appearances the Dubs are on the road to start the finals. Familiar ground can be key on such a momentous occasion – a pair to start the series, a potentially pivotal game 5 and, if needed, a deciding game 7 all scheduled in Toronto. Then there is the impact Kawhi Leonard has had in recent weeks. He tapped into an otherworldly level in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Bucks, most especially in the way he shut down the Greek Freak. Arguably, Toronto’s place in the Finals has everything to do with the momentum Leonard injected in the come-from-behind series victory over top-seed Milwaukee.
So to recap, the Dubs are missing key players and they are on the road for the first couple of games, but they are proven champions. The Raptors have home edge to start the series and Kawhi Leonard is a man on a mission, but they are making their first-ever appearance in the final. Hmmmm…
On balance, it appears to be 50-50 between two very good teams with undeniable frontmen. Historically, home advantage has been key in deciding the NBA Finals and seeing as it is with Toronto that could make the Raptors the sharp bet after all.