The Warriors might have the experience, championship pedigree, and a historic home-court advantage on their side, but absolutely none of it mattered in Game 3. With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both out of the lineup, the Raptors took advantage by coming out hot and never looking back. Durant is once again out for Game 4, but Thompson is expected to return for Golden State in what suddenly feels like a must-win game. Will they get up off the mat and punch back, or will Toronto deliver yet another crucial blow to the Warriors’ dreams of a three-peat? Let’s get after it in our Game 4 betting preview.
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As I noted above, Golden State is a tough out at Oracle Arena. They are 169-37 dating back to the start of the 2015-2016 season, winning 82% of their games played at home. They are an even more remarkable 36-7 during the postseason, and yet, none of it mattered in Game 3 as Golden State was outscored in all four quarters on the way to a shocking 123-109 loss. Just how thorough was the beating? According to ESPN’s win probability tracker, the Raptors were favored to win the game from the 7:53 mark in the first quarter onward.
This was when it was over for good:
Just total domination and it came despite a 47-point effort from Steph Curry.
Speaking of Curry, he comes in having scored at least 33 points in seven of his last eight games, and he’ll need to stay hot in order to even this series, particularly if Toronto replicates its 52.4% Game 3 shooting percentage. It wasn’t just about the shooting though, as the Raptors outscored the Warriors both in transition and in the paint. They also hit 20 of 21 free throws and edged the Warriors in blocks, steals, and assists. Like I said, total domination.
NBA Finals Game 4 odds
Here are the Raptors-Warriors odds for Game 4:
As of late Friday morning, we’re looking at a line similar to what we saw ahead of Game 3, which is interesting because it’s still a rarity. If the line sticks or shrinks, Game 4 would mark only the fifth time this season the Warriors weren’t favored by more than at least five points at home. It would also be only the sixth time they would be favored by less than six points. Simply put, we just don’t often see short lines with the Warriors at Oracle Arena. For what it’s worth, Golden State is 2-2 ATS this season when favored by less than five points at home.
Now let’s talk a little bit about line movement. The Warriors were as much as a 5.5-point favorite shortly after losing in Game 3, but with Durant once again out and some uncertainty surrounding Thompson’s effectiveness, we’ve seen the line come back down. DraftKings’ latest report has 47% of the total handle and 46% of spread bets on Toronto even at this reduced number, so there remains quite a bit of confidence from bettors backing the Raptors.
This is the first time since the NBA Finals market opened that Toronto is favored to win the series. At DraftKings, you can grab
the Raptors at -130 and the Warriors at +105, while you can
get Toronto at -130 and Golden State at +105 at PointsBet.
Here’s the bottom line–if you think Golden State is going to win this series, Durant is still out, and they’re down a game, so now is the time to pounce. Even with the series moving back to Toronto at 2-2, Golden State will certainly become the favorite again with a win tonight.
On the other hand, if you like Toronto, there’s two schools of thought here. A win tonight will drive their price back up, so now may be the time to buy. After all, FiveThiryEight currently gives Toronto a staggering 71% chance to win the NBA Finals, which means -130 is more than a fair price. That’s the contrarian value created by going against betting public that still desperately wants to believe in Golden State. BUT if they lose and this thing goes 2-2, the value on the Raptors will only further increase while still being in decent shape. My take? However you feel about this series, now is a good time to lock in a series winner bet.
Of course, you could have taken our advice prior to Game 1 and grabbed the Raptors at +230, like Kyle did.
If you’re so inclined, FiveThirtyEight basically has Game 4 as a toss-up, with the Raptors having a 46% chance to win tonight. The statistical projections reveal value for betting on the Raptors
at +171 with PointsBet because the statistical probability of a win significantly outweighs the implied probability of the moneyline. So if you like the Raptors, great, because they most definitely represent value.
The same principle applies with the point spread. FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO forecast, which takes into account player projections, sets the line at Golden State -1. Meanwhile, their ELO forecast sets the line at Golden State -3. Either way, there’s value.