- The Toronto Raptors lead the Eastern Conference Finals 3-2
- The Raptors swept the season series with the Golden State Warriors, winning both games
- Toronto’s defense is allowing just 99.9 points per game in the playoffs
The Toronto Raptors won an epic Game 5 on the road in Milwaukee and now lead the Bucks 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals. As a result, their NBA Championship odds have gone from +1700 to +400. Are they a good bet to win it all at this point or are you better off waiting?
2019 NBA Championship Odds
|Team||2019 NBA Championship Odds at BetOnline|
|Golden State Warriors||-275|
*Odds taken 05/24/19
Golden State’s Odds Improved
It’s interesting to note that the Golden State Warriors’ odds have improved as well after Toronto’s win. They’re now a bigger favorite. On paper, it seems to make sense as the Raptors were the no. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference versus the Bucks, who were the top seed.
However, if you’re thinking that the Warriors are a bigger favorite because of home-court advantage, you’d be wrong. The Warriors won’t have home-court advantage against either team as they had just 57 regular season wins; the Raptors had 58 and the Bucks had 60.
The Warriors won’t have home-court advantage against either team as they had just 57 regular season wins.
The thinking must be that the Raptors inconsistent offense – outside of Kawhi Leonard – will have a tough time keeping up with the Warriors, who will have at least two All-Stars, and possibly three or four if Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins return.
Raptors Defense Could Key a Championship Win
It’s time to start looking at the Raptors as a possible championship contender. People want to assume that they’ll get mopped by the Warriors because they don’t seem to have any consistent offense beyond Leonard each night, but this team’s calling card is its defense.
The Raptors locked down the Philadelphia 76ers in Round 2, blanketing a team with four stars. All of them were held to below-regular shooting percentages or point averages, including Joel Embiid, who struggled with Marc Gasol. In the conference final, they’ve held Giannis Antetokounmpo to just 23.0 points per game.
Giannis Points Per 100 by Defender (min. 100 matchups):
1. Kawhi Leonard … 15.9
2. Blake Griffin …….. 31.2
3. Marvin Williams .. 31.7
4. Pascal Siakam … 33.2
5. Noah Vonleh …… 36.3
6. Thad Young ……. 37.1
7. Al Horford ………. 40.6
8. Joel Embiid ……. 51.0
— Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) May 24, 2019
The Raptors are allowing just 99.9 points per game in the playoffs, which is second-best of the 16 playoff entrants. We know Golden State could struggle against Toronto as a rugged defensive team like the Los Angeles Clippers took two games off of them. If the Warriors play that same sluggish “we’ll show up when we have to” style, the Raptors will beat them.
What’s The Best Bet?
The Raptors have a shot in the NBA Finals…if they get there. I would personally bet them to win the NBA Championship and use that as a position to hedge later. In other words, bet them now and then bet the Warriors if they lose Game 1, or Games 3 or 4.
The Raptors and their elite defense are likely to give the Warriors some problems. Whether it’s enough to upset them, it probably depends on how hungry the Warriors are. But it’s a possibility so I would bet them now and hedge later.
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