NBA Finals 2019: Warriors, Raptors Both Positioned To Make History
History is being made during the NBA Finals. The Golden State Warriors are playing in their fifth straight final series, joining the Boston Celtics, who played in 10 successive finals from 1957-66, as the only NBA teams to appear in the finals in that many years in a row. But their opponents, the Toronto Raptors, are also a history-making squad. They are the first team from Canada to ever play in the NBA Finals.
The Golden State Warriors will come home deadlocked 1-1 with the Toronto Raptors, and that's good news for their long-term chances of winning a third straight NBA title and fourth in five years. Toronto won the series opener 118-109 and only four of 34 NBA champions have come back from in the NBA Finals odds from a 2-0 deficit to take the title.
Golden State's Game 1 loss marked the first time the Warriors had opened a series with a defeat in their past 13 postseason sets. They sat 1-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers after two games during the 2015 title win, the only time during the previous four years of NBA Finals appearances that Golden State did not open the Finals with two conseuctive wins. Golden State has won nine of its last 11 NBA Finals games and overall in the playoffs this spring, have won seven of the last eight games.
Game 1 winners have taken six of the last nine NBA Finals. But Bovada is still favoring the Warriors to get the job done. Golden State is listed as the -150 betting choice to wear a third successive NBA crown in the NBA finals betting odds. Toronto is listed at odds of +130 to win its first title.
Bovada also rates the Warriors as the +180 chalk to win the 2019-20 NBA championship.
Odds to win the NBA title:
- Golden State Warriors -150
- Toronto +130
Warriors Seeking A ThreePeat
Golden State is seeking to join the 1952-54 Minneapolis Lakers, the 1959-66 Boston Celtics, the 1991-93 and 1996-98 Chicago Bulls and the 2000-02 Los Angeles Lakers as the only teams in the history of the NBA to win a minimum of three straight NBA Finals, the so-called threepeat. Eight other teams have won back-to-back titles but failed in their bid for No. 3.
Only one of those eight teams, the 1988-89 Los Angeles Lakers, reached a third straight final and lost. Interestlngly, the Detroit Pistons, who won that 1988-89 NBA title, were playing in their first NBA Finals in franchise history, just as the Raptors are doing this spring.
Golden State's depth could hold the key to beating Toronto. In Game 2, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 48 points and seven triples. Thompson led with 25 points and Curry scored 23, the first time in seven games that he didn't go over 30 points. Trailing by five points at halftime, the Warriors opened the third quarter on an 18-0 run, holding the Raptors scoreless for 5:25.
The Warriors have played since Game 5 of the second round of the playoffs without forward Kevin Durant, out with an injured calf. He's expected back for Game 3 or 4 of the final series and his addition to an already talented Golden State roster could be a difference maker in the NBA finals betting odds.
Raptors Are Canada's Team
For the first time, a team from Canada is competing in the NBA Finals. In 1991, the Toronto Blue Jays made the first-ever World Series appearance by a Canadian team and won, defeating the Atlanta Braves, so the Raptors will be hoping to see history repeat itself in the NBA Finals odds.
Looking to get over the hump to a title shot, Toronto rolled the dice last summer, trading guard DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio for Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard, an experienced NBA champion. The Raptors made this move even though Leonard is a free agent at the end of the current season and it could prove to be a one and deal for Toronto.
So far, it's paid dividends. Toronto is in the finals and Leonard is a big reason why. He averaged 31.2 points per game through the first three playoff rounds and carried the Raptors on his back. But he can't be a one-man gang if the Raptors are to dethrone Golden State.
In Game 1, Pascal Siakam supported Leonard's cause with 32 points. But in Game 2, even though Leonard scored a game-high 31 points, no other Raptor produced more than 17 points and no other Toronto starter scored more than 13 points. That formula won't add up to success against the Warriors.
The Game 2 loss was Toronto's first setback in four games this season against Golden State, so the Raptors have that going for them in the NBA finals betting odds.
Who Will Be MVP?
A prop wager that's available to be wagered upon during the Vegas odds NBA finals is on who will win the NBA Finals MVP Award. One thing you should consider before wagering on this honor is that it is generally reserved for the best of the best.
The names on the award read like a who's who of basketball royalty. Michael Jordan was Finals MVP six times. Magic Johnson, LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal each own three Finals MVP awards. If you check the trophy, you'll also find the names of Wilt Chamberlain, John Havlicek, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, among many others.
Surprisngly, one name you won't locate on the tropy is that of Warriors star guard Steph Curry. In Golden State's three NBA Championships, the Finals MVP award went to Andre Iguodala (2015) and Kevin Durant (2017 and 2018).
At BetOnline, Curry is listed as the +100 favorite to win the award this spring. The top contender from the Raptors is Kawhi Leonard, and he's already won the honor once, with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. He's the second betting choice at +300. Golden State's Durant and Draymond Green and Toronto's Pascal Siakam are all next in the odds at +1000.
The winner will have to be a winner, though. No NBA Finals MVP has ever played for the losing team.
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