If you were to a poll a random sampling of NBA pundits on what the Finals matchup for next June will be, you will find one answer to be the most common. A lot of people are predicting the 15-7 Golden State Warriors and 18-4 Toronto Raptors to square off in the 2018-19 season’s ultimate event.
The two squads face each other in a hugely-anticipated matchup today in Toronto (8 p.m. ET Thursday on TNT). The Warriors’ three-game winning streak and the Raptors’ six-game winning streak are both on the line.
Of course, the Warriors are still without three of their All-Stars: Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins. The Raptors have the obvious edge in depth, but Golden State still has two elite players (Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson) and a few decent role players.
Let’s consider some key factors in this matchup before we ultimately decide on the best betting decisions with our Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors predictions and picks.
Will a Third & Fourth Scorer Step Up for the Warriors?
Sure, the Warriors are on a three-game winning streak, but I’m not convinced they have fixed their issues of the past few weeks. Golden State is still 5-6 since November 8.
One of the main problems for the team is how much it relies on Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson for scoring. In the last 11 games, Durant and Thompson have 51.6 percent of the team’s points.
Quinn Cook is next in total scoring in that span. He is putting up an average of 13.5 points per game, which is decent. But after that, we are left with a cluster of players in the 5-to-7 points per game range.
Against a deep team like the Raptors, Golden State needs more than a scoring attack anchored by two or three players. Durant, Thompson, Cook and someone else need to have solid offensive games to keep up with the Raptors.
Can Raptors’ Bigs Continue to Play With Energy & Aggressiveness?
One key part of the Raptors’ depth behind stars Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry is how good their big man rotation is. Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas is one of the best frontcourt trios in the NBA. They all have different skill sets that complement each other and their other teammates well.
The Warriors’ bigs are mostly energy-based players with limited skill sets. Damian Jones, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell are more X-factors than legitimately consistent players. Golden State needs that trio to play with vigor and discipline around the rim if it has any plans to win this game.
It’s clear that the Raptors have the better group of big men with the injuries to Golden State’s frontcourt. The Toronto bigs can’t get complacent, though, and they must continue to keep up the intensity against their inferior counterparts.
Can Warriors Get Hot from Downtown?
On the Warriors’ current three-game winning streak, they are making an average of 13.3 threes per game at a 39.6 percent clip. In their four-game losing streak immediately prior, they made 6.3 threes per game at a 23.6 percent clip.
Golden State can’t run its offense the exact way it wants with some missing All-Star talent. But as the past three games have shown, making outside shots can cover over a variety of schematic shortcomings on offense.
The outside shots of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Quinn Cook, Damion Lee, Jonas Jerebko and Andre Iguodala absolutely need to fall at a 40 percent clip or better for the Warriors to win today’s game.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors Betting Picks & Predictions
I have serious doubts about the Warriors’ depth in this game. I think the Raptors will expose Golden State’s over-reliance on Durant and Thompson on offense. In the Warriors’ past couple wins, they have just squeaked by at home against mediocre teams.
The Warriors will be fine once they all get healthy. For now, they aren’t ready for a road game against a title contender. With those thoughts, here are the Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors predictions for this NBA preview:
- The Raptors are a rightful favorite here. I expect them to win by a considerable margin. Bet on the Raptors -8pts on the spread @ -115 with Bovada. The other top USA legal sportsbooks, such as Intertops and BetOnline are -8.5pts.
- These are normally two excellent offensive teams who play a pretty fast pace. But the Warriors play much slower (and worse) on offense without Curry and Green in the lineup, and the Raptors have also slowed the pace down more as of late. For the second of our picks, bet the under 226pts @ -110 with Bovada, Intertops or BetOnline.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.