Game 5 between the Warriors and Raptors was absolutely wild. Just consider the following:
- Kevin Durant looked poised to take over the series before tearing his Achilles.
- Classless Philly, er, Toronto fans cheered the injury.
- The Warriors still managed to build a 14-point lead with just under six minutes to go in the third quarter.
- Golden state had a 75.8% win probability with 5:51 to go in the fourth quarter, but a 12-2 Toronto run in the following moments gave the Raptors a 92.6% win probability with 2:59 left go.
- Nick Nurse coach called a timeout to ice his own team’s run.
- Golden State responded with a 9-2 sprint to close the game and survived a potential game-winning shot out of the hand of Kyle Lowry.
As a result of that finish and Scotiabank Arena’s response to the Durant injury, we have ourselves an improbable Game 6 headlined perhaps the most unexpected development of all–the Golden State Warriors are now sympathetic figures. I guess anything really is possible.
That said, tonight’s game will be the Warriors’ last at Oracle Arena before moving to the brand new Chase Center in San Francisco next season. Will they close it out with a win and send this thing to Game 7, or will Toronto end the drama tonight? Let’s get after it in our Game 6 betting preview.
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NBA Finals Game 6 odds
Here are the Raptors-Warriors odds for Game 6:
Oddsmakers installed Golden State as a 3.5 to 4-point favorite early on, but bettors jumped on Toronto, pushing the spread down as we close in on tip off. Currently, if you want to make a spread bet, PointsBet and DraftKings offer equal value, while DraftKings gives slightly more favorable moneyline prices on both the Raptors and Warriors.
The Raptors were -500 and the Warriors were +375 to win the series ahead of Game 5 at DraftKings. Things have changed. Significantly. You can now grab the Raptors at -286 with DraftKings and the Warriors at +230, while you can get Toronto at -333 and Golden State at +260 with PointsBet. Obviously, if you’re looking to cash on a Warriors’ comeback, PointsBet is the place to be, and if you’re planning to do it then now is the time to get involved. Conversely, I don’t see the wisdom in wagering on Raptors series price at this point. Yes, you get two shots to win, but if you’re confident in them, just grab the +123 tonight and reassess if they don’t get it done.
FiveThirtyEight foresees a Warriors win, giving them a 57% chance of extending this series to Game 7 based on CARMELO projections and a 59% chance based on ELO. The ELO spread matches up with the betting market spread at Warriors -2.5, but the CARMELO spread projection is Warriors -1.5. Going by that system, there’s a bit of value in betting on the Raptors with the 2.5 points. In terms of the moneyline, the ELO and CARMELO projections are almost directly in line with the 58.2% implied probability of Golden State win at -139.
In short, there is not as much value as there was earlier in the series.
General betting trends
Let’s first start with each team’s overall performance against the spread. The Raptors are 50-54-1 ATS this season, while the Warriors have been one of the NBA’s worst cover teams this year at 44-57-2. Just how bad is that? Only the Knicks at 32-47-2 ATS have a worse cover rate. I don’t typically factor a team’s overall cover performance when picking the games, but these overall ATS records don’t reveal much other than to say Golden State spreads have been consistently inflated based on reputation. This is the first game in this series where there’s almost no glaring value in taking Toronto based on moneyline and projection model disparities.
Reading the lines
The Raptors are 8-5 ATS this season when an underdog of four points or less, so they’ve been profitable with similar lines, while the Warriors are 3-8-1 ATS when favored between one to four points.
Game 6 trends
The Raptors are 13-8 ATS as a road underdog this season, but are only 3-8 ATS on the road this season coming off two or more days rest. Golden State, despite a .720 winning-percentage at home, is only 19-30-1 ATS and 14-22 ATS at home when coming off a win.
A lot has been made during this season the Warriors’ incredible track record at Oracle Arena and how they’ve been virtually unbeatable there over the past few seasons. Here’s the problem–the Raptors have already twice proven they are completely unfazed by that home-court dominance. Yes, the Warriors don’t lose three-straight very often, let alone at home, but I’m not sure that’s a pertinent trend this time around.
The other thing I wanted to look at was how Durant’s absence impacts the Warriors when there is a short spread, and the results aren’t very surprising. When favored by six points or less, Golden State is 0-4 ATS, winning only one of those contests outright.
As a general rule, however, home teams favored by three points or less during the NBA Finals shouldn’t concern bettors as they are 11-7 ATS since the 2005 postseason. In fact, they perform even better as the series progresses. Home teams favored in the same range are 4-1 ATS between Games 5 and 7 since ’05.
On the other hand, when teams win by a small margin, it doesn’t bode well for a cover in the following contest. Home favorites that won their previous game by three points or less are only 2-4 ATS in NBA Finals games dating back to 2005.
If you like the Warriors in this game, I totally get it. The champs looked dead and the series appeared over with two minutes to go the other night. Then they got up off the ground in a Terminator-like performance. There’s a real possibility that Golden State can use that momentum, rally around Durant’s injury, and play lights out to close down Oracle Arena on a high note. I can absolutely envision that. As for me, I just can’t get beyond that Toronto has shown itself to be the superior squad in this series. The Raptors won seven of the eight quarters played at Oracle in Games 3 and 4 and only lost the first quarter in Game 5. They also only shot 25% from deep in that game, and I don’t expect a repeat performance this time around. I’m rooting for a Game 7, but I don’t think we’re going to see it. I’ll take the Raptors +2.5.