Why The Raptors Are Such a Good Bet Against The Warriors

warriors raptors betting

The NBA Finals are here and I’m excited. I mean, the Golden State Warriors? Talk about a fresh, compelling storyline. Truly riveting. And Drake? I can’t get enough of Drake. Just what will he do next? Top notch, high-level drama all the way around as we take a look at Warriors-Raptors odds and delve into our NBA Finals betting preview.

Yeah, I gave it a shot.

This year’s NBA Finals leaves a lot to be desired, particularly for Sixers fans still reeling from Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7 triple-clank buzzer-beater in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but persevere we must. So how do we inject a little energy into a series that feels like something between a tiresome Golden State squad that everybody thinks will win and the mundane Raptors? By betting on it, of course.

You probably know that it’s been all systems go for New Jersey legal sports betting, but just in time for this series is the initial testing phase of Pennsylvania legal sports betting! Check out our FAQ regarding SugarHouse Sportsbook’s three-day testing period right here.

With that, let’s take a look at all of the need-to-know information before the series gets started on Thursday night. 


Warriors-Raptors NBA Finals Odds

Perhaps the prices will deviate at the different shops as the series progresses, but we’re seeing a relatively consistent market on series prices at this point.

At DraftKings Sportsbook, you can grab the Warriors at -286 and Raptors at +225. The prices are the same at SugarHouse Sportsbook. And over at PointsBet, you can get the Warriors at -285 and the Raptors at +230.

In case you’re wondering, those odds imply the Warriors have an approximate 74% chance to win the series.


Public money backing Warriors

No surprise here. The public money is on Golden State, but the price is driving a higher volume of bets on the underdog. Here’s the most recent breakdown at DraftKings:

warriors raptors betting money

And while the line has swayed from Warriors as a favorite to Raptors as a favorite, most of the action is on the Warriors at Caesars:


The Raptors are a value play

That 74% figure above is pretty strong, and given the Warriors’ star power and championship pedigree, most experts believe Golden State will overcome the injury bug to get their three-peat.

Clearly, oddsmakers see it that way, too, but there are some reasons to pump the brakes on crowning the Warriors just yet.

Predictive models actually consider the series a coin flip:

FiveThirtyEight actually favors Toronto in this series, giving them a 54% chance to win.

ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives the Warriors a 52% chance of winning.

So again, coin flip.

Even if you don’t believe in predictive models and think the Warriors have a much greater chance of winning, there is clearly some value here in betting the underdog.

Intern Joe nailed it in our most recent daily sports betting newsletter:

In essence, sportsbooks are taking bets on the Warriors as if they are overwhelming favorites in this series, when in reality, it could very well be a toss-up in regards to who ends up raising the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Therefore, a Raptors bet could end up being very valuable if the series is, in fact, closer than it might seem.

What’s more, it’s a bit of an oddity that the Raptors are Game 1 favorites but such heavy underdogs in the series.

Even at a 40% chance, the Raptors would be +150. They’re a full 80 points higher right now.

Reader Joe points out:

Like we said, value.


Warriors-Raptors series analysis

There’s a reason national pundits have taken their time making a Finals prediction: uncertainty. In the two matchups this season between the Warriors and Raptors – both Toronto wins – two of the most important players in the entire series didn’t factor into the games.

Steph Curry was absent from the 131-128 OT affair in Toronto and Kawhi Leonard sat out the 113-93 dismantling at Oracle. The positive for Raptors fans is the knowledge that Golden State can be beaten. Hell, they dropped a stunner to the Phoenix freaking Suns. Let’s tap into some of that uncertainty.

Question 1: Who Guards Kawhi Leonard?

In the Raptors’ home victory, Kawhi Leonard was guarded on 50 possessions by Kevin Durant. Of course, with Durant’s calf injury costing him at least Game 1, someone is going to have to front the reincarnation of Michael Jordan. The Warrior with the second-most possessions guarding Leonard was none other than Klay Thompson. In 26 possessions against Thompson, Leonard shot 3-5 from the field for eight points, while attempting zero 3PT.

The Raptors benefited from the matchup, scoring 33 points while Klay guarded Kawhi.

That said, it’s unlikely that Steve Kerr will deploy Thompson as the primary stopper for the entirety of Game 1. Andre Iguodala should get the nod to guard Kawhi on around half of Toronto’s possessions.

Question 2: Does Kawhi Take Steph?

The 46 possessions spent guarding Kevin Durant aside, Kawhi Leonard split the majority of the remaining possessions guarding Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson. The duo posted six combined points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field and 0-3 from 3PT.

The potential matchup I’m most interested in is that of Leonard jamming up Steph Curry. I don’t expect it to happen much, but it could happen early. Pascal Siakam’s length could prove problematic for a switch on Klay Thompson, while the size and quickness of Serge Ibaka could keep a suddenly-revitalized Draymond Green in check.

The inclusion of Ibaka would likely come at the expense of Marc Gasol, which on the surface would appear to be a terrible decision. Gasol is one of the best passing big men to enter the league in the past 20 years, but his lack of lateral quickness could be Toronto’s undoing, especially if he were matched up with Green.

That leaves Kyle Lowry and Danny Green left to switch onto some combination of Andre Iguodala, Jordan Bell, Alfonzo McKinnie, and Damian Jones – barring the reinsertion of Andrew Bogut into the starting lineup – which is less than inspiring and a disaster waiting to happen for Toronto.

That’s the conundrum for Nick Nurse if he chooses to put his best defender on Golden State’s most important weapon. It’s more likely we’ll watch Villanova alum Kyle Lowry pester Curry until the latter burns him for 18 first quarter points.


How the Raptors win

For Toronto to win this series, it’s all about controlling its home floor. The Raptors must continue their excellent play at ScotiaBank Arena where they are 40-11 this season, good for a .784 winning-percentage. More importantly, they’ve been even better at home during this postseason, posting an 8-2 record while outscoring opponents by more than 12 points per game.

For its part, Golden State has excelled with the NBA’s best road record this season at 33-16, but It’s worth noting that the home team has won Game 1 of the NBA Finals in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

Perhaps that’s why after opening as a small underdog ahead of Game 1 the Raptors are now favored by 1-point. By the way, when the spread move between one and three points away from Golden State, as it has in this game, the Warriors are only 9-12-1 ATS. But Toronto is only 9-15 ATS when it moves in their direction, so that movement looks like a wash.

That said, Toronto must make its move early and grab at least one of the series’ first two games before heading west to Oracle Arena where the Warriors are 36-13 overall this season and an astounding 36-6 in the postseason since 2016, and before Kevin Durant works his way back into the lineup–if he does at all. Much has been made of the Warriors’ 31-1 record in their last 32 games when Durant is out and Steph Curry plays, but advanced basketball metrics supports what common sense tells us–Golden State is better with Durant.


What do do?

If you like the Warriors, waiting to get involved could pay off. Similarly, if you think Toronto can pull the upset, then now is probably the time to get involved. As noted above, Toronto enters Game 1 as a short favorite and with a win in the opener the inflated price on Golden State should plummet. The Raptors have been good at home with short lines this season, going 5-2 ATS when favored by three points or less. Of course, waiting on the Warriors could backfire. Golden State is only 5-5 straight up in 10 games as an underdog this season, but are 6-3 ATS as road underdogs and 5-2 as a road underdog coming off a win. In the event of a Game 1 Golden State win, the price will soar well north of -300.



9 Responses

  1. Ugh, does Kyle make you pedal this garbage? No one is reading CB for this hotmess betting advice from a slow-looking kid that looks like he has not slept in 4 years.


    1. Dats roight brotha. We listen to Cuz’s Corner for betting advice.

    2. does anyone come here to read the articles? I’m here for the comment section. PS who is the big ear having elf looking fellow in the video? Male pattern baldness to boot

      1. People come here for the comments only. Kyle knows this. Years ago he set up the comments so you had to login to comment, and predictably, page views went down to 0. The racist kinkmeister doesn’t think that would happen again if they limited comments but he’s as dumb as he is racist

        And the amount of people that come here for betting advice? HA HAHA HAHAHA HAHAHAHA

  2. 100% right on the comments. The “content” is worthless dribble that we all read on twitter 20 min-2 days before the “content” came out. I have honestly not clicked on the slow looking kid’s betting vidz.

    And Kinks isnt a racist, or Kyle wouldn’t have hired him! His HR team would have advised against that.

  3. Sad how hard Kyle is trying in these videos.

    Give it up, bro. No one is taking you seriously as a gambling guru.

  4. The reflection of the guy in the phillies shirt filming at the beginning of the video was priceless. High quality content.

  5. I could count the number of people that come to this site for the articles and betting advice on one hand

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