March Madness is approaching and the 64 team tournament is consistently the most heart pounding and exhilarating collection of games in all athletics. Who will win it all? A perennial favorite that won't be denied or will one team catch lightning in a bottle and make history?
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2019 NBA Finals: Ride Out Your Bet, Double Down, or Hedge?
There's a common saying in basketball that goes, "a series doesn't start until you win on the road." Welp, I guess we have ourselves a series now.
Check out the odds to win the title.
- Golden State Warriors 1.36
- Toronto Raptors 3.20
Golden State — trying to become only the fourth franchise ever to three-peat (please don't sue us, Pat Riley) — gutted out a Game 2 victory in Toronto. The reigning champions have now reclaimed home-court advantage and swung the NBA Finals odds heavily in their favor.
Vegas odds NBA finals currently has the Warriors pegged at - to hoist the Larry O'Brien trophy for a third straight time. The Raptors' odds have sunk down to +2 to pull off the comeback.
It's not only gut-check time for both teams, but also for bettors that are waiting to cash or rip up their NBA championship futures. Here's our handy advice if you have money on either team:
If you bet on Toronto before the NBA Finals:
The Raptors, in front of rowdy Canadian crowd, were absolutely brilliant in Game 1. Too brilliant, perhaps, and that's the problem.
What won them the opener 118-109 just isn't sustainable this series. Pascal Siakam having an all-time efficient Finals performance, dropping 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting? Danny Green and Marc Gasol both shooting lights out? Or all those circus shots that somehow went in during the most opportune times?
Yeah, none of those are happening again on a consistent basis. We saw that regression to the mean in Game 2. The team shot a paltry 37 percent from the field, losing 109-104. What ultimately did them in was coming out flat after intermission, allowing the Warriors to go on an 18-0 run after the break.
Hedging your bet with a wager on the Warriors is tempting, we know, but it's a high-risk, low-reward proposition. The Dubs' odds are simply too lopsided right now. The amount you'd have to lay on them to earn a decent payoff isn't worth the cost.
Our advice is to ride out the bet because Toronto can still win it. You heard that right, and allow us to explain.
We're of the belief that Kawhi Leonard is the best player on the floor. No disrespect to Steph Curry, but "The Claw" is having playoff run for the ages. Leonard's stat line after 20 postseason games is an eye-popping 30.7 points on 50-percent shooting and 8.8 rebounds. Plus, he's an absolute machine on defense.
Two, the Raptors' seven-man lineup is more talented than the Warriors. Once you get past the Splash Brothers, the Dubs talent level falls off a cliff. Give me guys like Serge Ibaka, Green, and Gasol over a rusty Demarcus Cousins, Quinton Cook, and a broken-down Andrew Bogut.
Lastly, Oracle Arena is no longer a house of horrors. Golden State has dropped 13 games at home this year, including two in the postseason to the lowly Clippers. Toronto has a good chance at stealing home-court advantage right back.
Don't count out the Raptors just yet (more on that shortly).
Betting advice: Ride out your bet
If you bet on Golden State before the NBA Finals:
If it feels like the Warriors are losing at least one player to injury every single game, it's because they seemingly are. Game 2 saw both Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney have early exits, with neither returning. Klay injured his hamstring, while Looney is dealing with a chest contusion.
Andre Iguodala has been hobbled two games in a row, too. While Kevin Durant's fate remains a mystery, but the latest word is he hasn't even run since straining his calf. We don't know about you, but that doesn't evoke a lot of optimism. It's been nearly one month since Durant injured himself and he's yet to sprint? At this point, you have to start calling the Dubs' bluff.
Playing in five straight NBA Finals (which is the equivalent of one whole NBA regular season) apparently wears you out. In spite of the adversity, Golden State remains in the driver's seat with the series tied at 1-1 going back to the Bay.
But it feels like we've seen this movie before. Matter of fact, it was back in 2004 with the Lakers. Remember that team? They parallel the Warriors in more ways than one.
The NBA title was seemingly given to them after big free-agent signings the summer before. Los Angeles inked Hall of Famers Gary Payton and Karl Malone, while Cousins joined the Warriors. But none of those signings really panned out.
Moreover, both featured a disgruntled superstar with his foot halfway out the door. No need to rehash the Durant to New York rumors, but people forget Kobe was threatening to leave the Lakers if Shaq wasn't dealt. Both players were consumed with having their "own team."
Last, but most striking, these two dynasties showed cracks in the pavement all-year long — inner turmoil, worn-down bodies, and head-scratching losses. All of which was swept under the league based on prior success and reputation.
That Los Angeles team were overwhelming favorites over a defensive-savvy Detroit team in the NBA Finals. The series was tied 1-1, before the Pistons rallied off three straight wins. Not saying the Dubs will crumble as easily, but they are very beatable.
If you have an existing bet on the Warriors, we'd place a small — and we mean, small — wager on Toronto just in case history repeats itself. At their steep odds, you're getting a lot of value out of the Raptors. That scenario sets you up for lofty payoffs no matter who wins. Who doesn't enjoy a win-win situation?
Betting advice: Hedge your bet (ever so slightly with Toronto)
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