Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through May 29:
30-29-1 ATS, 0-6 ML (minus-12.63 units), 38-26-1 Totals
Golden State (12-4 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) at Toronto (12-6 SU, 10-8 ATS)
Thursday, 9:00 p.m. ET, ABC
Free NBA Pick: Raptors ML
Recommended Sportsbook: Bodog
It’s good to be back in the saddle. Let’s see, what happened while the home office was closed… oh yes, the Toronto Raptors won the Eastern Conference. That makes us very happy indeed, given that we picked the Raptors at +250 to beat the Milwaukee Bucks. We hope you grabbed some of that value for yourself as well.
Or course, this means we’re also one step closer to Toronto cashing in at +750 to win the title. They’ll face the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, in the NBA Finals, and naturally, we’re sticking with the Raptors as our NBA pick for Thursday’s opener. Specifically, we’re recommending the Raps on the moneyline; they’re small home faves at most locations, but they’re also available at +100 as we go to press. Shop smart.
Before we get to Game 1 itself, a reminder not to be put off by our 0-6 ML record and all those lost betting units in the record you see above. That mouthful of chalk includes a pair of ridiculous upsets by the New York Knicks; for accounting purposes, we always assume you wager whatever it takes on the ML favorite to win one unit, but you definitely shouldn’t auto-bet that way in the real world.
Having said that, you can make this particular bet at +100 with some confidence. Jeff Sagarin’s projections at The USA Today have the Raptors winning this game 57 percent of the time, which works out to –133 using the undefeated SBR Odds Converter. FiveThirtyEight like Toronto’s chances even more at 73 percent, or the vig-free equivalent of –270. They can’t even believe themselves how much their model likes the Raptors in this matchup.
Taste The Pain
But we do. The Warriors had some issues getting through the first three rounds of the playoffs, including major injuries to DeMarcus Cousins (torn quad), and then Kevin Durant (strained calf). The official reports at press time have Cousins listed as questionable for Game 1, while Durant is out and hoping to play in Game 2. Andre Iguodala (sore calf) is fully expected to play Thursday despite skipping several practices last week.
The Raptors had to dig deep themselves to get here, but they’re relatively healthy – OG Anunoby (appendectomy) is their lone injured player, and isn’t likely to return until Game 4 at the earliest. Of all the playoff performers on both sides, Kawhi Leonard (plus-8.8 BPM) has shone the brightest, even more than Durant (plus-4.7 BPM) and Stephen Curry (plus-5.3 BPM). This is a much closer series on paper than the NBA odds and the betting public would have you believe. Take advantage of this tasty situation, and as always, may the sphere be with you.
Talk more basketball on SBR’s NBA Betting Forum, here.