TORONTO – The Golden State Warriors are favored in the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year, as they opened as heavy favorites against the Toronto Raptors late Saturday night.
Most sportsbooks had the Warriors around -300 to win the series, meaning a $300 bet would win $100. The Raptors were offered by several outlets at +250 — meaning a $100 bet would win $250 — making them the second-largest underdogs in the past eight NBA Finals (2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers).
The Warriors, seeking their third straight title and fourth in five years, were already installed as favorites before their Finals opponent was known, with most sportsbooks putting them at -275 vs. any opponent, and around -180 if facing the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Raptors rallied past the Bucks in Game 6 on Saturday night for their fourth straight win, claiming the best-of-seven series 4-2 to reach the first NBA Finals in franchise history. They have home-court advantage in the series, which begins Thursday, though most sportsbooks have Toronto between a 1-point favorite and a 1-point underdog at home in Game 1.
The Warriors have won six straight games, including five without Kevin Durant, who strained his calf on May 8 and is not expected to be ready for the start of the Finals. The team is hopeful he can return during the series, while center DeMarcus Cousins could also return from a torn quad muscle.
Golden State last played on May 20, providing five more days of rest than Toronto will have.
The Raptors went 2-0 against the Warriors this season, winning 131-128 in overtime at home on Nov. 29 and 113-93 in Oakland, Calif., on Dec. 12. Stephen Curry missed the first meeting, while Kawhi Leonard missed the second.
–Field Level Media