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2019 NBA Finals Preview and Odds

Toronto Raptors
By Isaac E

The Toronto Raptors will make their first appearance in the NBA Finals when they take on the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Warriors will look to continue, or some pundits believe they complete a historic run. A series victory will end in the Warriors winning four out of the last five titles. A stretch of dominance only duplicated by the Boston Celtics of the 1960s. The Chicago Bulls of the 1990s achieved four championships within six years. The Warriors also will be competing in their fifth straight finals again only matched by the Celtics of the 1960s.

Why Raptors Will Win

The series will depend on the ability of the Raptors role players other that Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry to be successful. The Raptors will win if Pascal Siakam averages 20 points and a total of 10 rebounds and assists in the series, the bench averages over 30 points for the series, and they can limit the impact of Draymond Green.

Siakam has averaged 19 points, seven rebounds, and two assists per game in the playoffs. He will need to continue at these levels against the Warriors. A worry for the Raptors is at critical moments in the playoffs Siakam has passed up open shots and deferred to Lowry and Leonard his aggressiveness is imperative to keep up with the Warriors. The Raptors bench which includes Serge Ibaka, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and at some point this series OG Anunoby have to outplay the Warriors bench. A surprise in the Western Conference Finals was the Warriors bench surpassing the Portland Trailblazers bench throughout the series leading to the sweep.

Green averaged per game 17 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists for the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. Green’s impact in the Finals needs to be matched or held down. Marc Gasol and Ibaka have to match Green’s energy on both sides of the ball while surpassing or at least matching this kind of output.

A likely scenario is that Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins will play this series. Both players will have a significant impact on the Raptors if healthy, and under those scenarios, Siakam and the bench will need to increase their outputs required by 25%.

Why Warriors Will Win

When thinking of this scenario hypothetically the expectation is Cousins plays the majority of the series, and Durant stays a looming question mark. The Warriors will win if they continue to play team basketball at the level they achieved against the Blazers. The focus on Draymond and Stephen Curry create an opportunity for a big series from Klay Thompson. If the Raptors cannot defend the pick and roll, this will lead to continues open looks from behind the arc for the Warriors sharpshooters. Gasol has struggled in the pick and, and if he plays big minutes in this series, the Warriors will be able to exploit; therefore, Ibaka needs to stay out of foul trouble. The Warriors are also good at crashing the boards and getting second and third opportunities something that the Raptors must avoid. If Pascal Siakam struggles under the heat of the moment, then the Raptors will not score enough points to keep up with the Warriors.

Why Raptors Will Lose

The Raptors will lose if Kevin Durant returns by Game 3 and their bench does not output the production of the Warriors bench. The facts are that Curry, Thompson, and Green production will cancel out the numbers of Leonard, Lowri, and Siakam. That means the other role players which include the struggling Danny Green need to find their offense to counteract the other Warriors and is virtually impossible if that includes Durant and Cousins. The Raptors would need career performances in a series by Green, Powell, and VanVleet.

Why Warriors Will Lose

If Durant does not come back and Cousins is not in game shape the likelihood the Warriors losing this series increases. The public forgets the Blazers are 1-12 in the last five years against the Warriors in the playoffs. The Warriors played well, but would not have swept the Denver Nuggets. The sense of complacency may exist at the beginning of the series, creating an opportunity for the Raptors to win both in Toronto. If the Raptors win the first two, all the pressure is on the Warriors then to win four out five without home court advantage. The Raptors best opportunity in this series is to hold home court for as long as they can.

Warriors vs. Raptors Schedule

Game 1 in Toronto: Thursday, May 30 at 9 p.m. ET
Game 2 in Toronto: Sunday, June 2 at 8 p.m. ET
Game 3 in Golden State: Wednesday, June 5 at 9 p.m. ET
Game 4 in Golden State: Friday, June 7 at 9 p.m. ET
Game 5 in Toronto: Monday, June 10 at 9 p.m. ET (If necessary)
Game 6 in Golden State: Thursday, June 13 at 9 p.m. ET (If necessary)
Game 7 in Toronto: Sunday, June 16 at 8 p.m. ET (If necessary)

Warriors vs. Raptors Series Odds

Warriors to win in 4: +500
Warriors to win in 5: +350
Warriors to win in 6: +275
Warriors to win in 7: +500
Raptors to win in 4: +2500
Raptors to win in 5: +1000
Raptors to win in 6: +1200
Raptors to win in 7: +600

I don’t see a sweep here but your you best value is Warriors in four. I would split my fund between Warriors in four and Warriors in six to gain the best value. In this scenario if the Warriors win the series in six you earn +75.

MVP Series Odds

Steph Curry at 2/3
Kawhi Leonard at 11/4
Kevin Durant at 10/1
Draymond Green at 10/1
Klay Thompson at 20/1
Pascal Siakam at 40/1
Kyle Lowry at 100/1
Andre Iguodala at 200/1
Marc Gasol at 300/1
FIELD at 100/1

The best value is Klay Thompson at 20/1; the most likely event is Curry wins at 2/3. Therefore, you need to see if you feel frisky, but the safe bet is Curry. You can not split your funds between Curry and Thompson, as a Curry win in that scenario will create a negative on your bankroll.

My final prediction is the Warriors close out Oracle Arena in style and solidify there place in NBA immortality with a three-peat and their fourth championship with this group. Warriors in 6! I am going with Klay Thompson as the Finals MVP.

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