What a wild ride it’s been to get to this point in the season where the NBA Finals are just around the corner. Both the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors have had to overcome numerous obstacles to make it to the final series, which promises to be an epic showdown in a best-of-seven series. As we’ve done all season, we’ve previewed the match-up and have provided our best bets. Check them out below and good luck to everyone following!
NBA Finals Betting Picks
Raptors vs Warriors Series Prediction
As mentioned above, this is a best-of-seven series to decide who will be crowned champions of the 2018-19 season. The Raptors control home court advantage due to finishing with the better regular season record of the two, meaning games one and two of the series will be in Toronto. The Raptors and the Warriors faced each other twice in the regular season, with both games ending in wins for the Raptors.
The Raptors have certainly had to do it the hard way to reach the first ever NBA Finals in their club’s history. First of all, they took the huge risk of trading away franchise player Demar Derozan to get in superstar Kawhi Leonard, who’s only on a one-year deal. Then, they had to overcome numerous injuries and adjust to in-season trades, which they were able to do well as they clinched the second seed in the East. Fast forward to the playoffs, and the Raptors defeated the Magic in five games, dealt with the Sixers in an epic seven games, and most recently overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Bucks in six games and advance to the Finals.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the Raptors go with the same line-up against the Warriors as they did with the Bucks. The lack of perimeter shooting of the Bucks meant they could focus more on stopping Giannis from penetrating into the paint, but as we all know, the Warriors have two or three of the best shooters of all time, so they may be forced to stretch their defence out more than they’re used to doing. In saying that, the Raptors were successful in the regular season against the Warriors with 2/2 wins, but the playoffs is a totally different beast, especially when your opponents are the 2x defending champs.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have had one of their most testing seasons since winning their first chip since the turn of the century in 2015. Nearly all of their star players have missed significant periods of the season through injury, but they still managed to clinch the one-seed in the Western Conference. Their playoff run hasn’t all been smooth sailing either. The Warriors were pushed to six games by both the Clippers and the Rockets, although they steadied the ship with a 4-0 sweep of the Trail Blazers in the Conference Finals, simultaneously setting up a date with the Raptors in the NBA Finals.
The Warriors have a whole host of things to think about leading up until Game 1 of the Finals. You’ve got two perennial All-Stars in Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins coming back from injury, both likely in Game 3, so what line-up do they go with in Games 1 and 2 in Toronto? The likely answer is the same line-up they employed in the Conference Finals, but the Trail Blazers don’t possess a dominant wing like the Raptors have with Kawhi Leonard, which gives Steve Kerr a lot to think about.
As much as we’d love to see the Raptors make this a nail-biting NBA Finals match-up, we just don’t see them posing enough questions to worry the champion Warriors in a seven game series. Even with Kevin Durant likely out for the first two games here, we have the Warriors pinching one of the games in Toronto, likely Game 1, and going on to win this in six or less.
Finals MVP Prediction
Another popular market to invest some capital in is the Finals MVP market. The one clear standout for us here is 2x MVP Steph Curry. He’s been on an absolute tear since Durant went down with a calf injury, averaging over 35 points per game across six games. While you can’t expect him to keep up that insane run, he will still be the Warriors best player if it drops to around 27-28ppg, due to KD missing at least two games. If you’re keen on a Raptors win, then go with Kawhi Leonard (+250), but we see that as highly unlikely, so we’ll take the really generous odds for Steph Curry to win his first Finals MVP.