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NBA FINALS: The Warriors Rarely Lose A Series Opener

Warriors vs Raptors Betting Odds May 30

The Golden State Warriors were pegged to make the NBA Finals since the start of the season and their opponent was an afterthought. Now, they have to face the hungry Toronto Raptors for the 2019 championship and, historically, the Warriors take care of business in Game 1s. Since the start of the 2015 playoffs, the Warriors are 18-1 SU in Game 1s of a playoff series and have won 12 straight series openers.

The Raptors opened as 1-point home favorites with a total of 215.

Warriors vs Raptors Game Center

Standout Stats

  • The Warriors are not used to being on the road for Game 1 of a playoff series – this will be only their second time in 20 playoff series since 2015. In that span, the Warriors are an incredible 18-1 SU in 19 Game 1s (11-8 ATS). They’ve won five of their last six games at Scotiabank Arena, with the loss coming this season back in November, albeit without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green in the lineup.
  • On the flip side, the Raptors have historically not come to play in Game 1s of playoff series. All-time, they’re 3-15 SU and 4-14 ATS in 18 games and are 1-2 SU and ATS in this year’s postseason.
  • The trio of Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Norm Powell was one of the key factors in the Raptors’ turnaround vs the Bucks in the Eastern Conference final. From Game 3 onward, V.I.P. averaged 35.5 points per game with VanVleet being the biggest contributor from behind the arc, hitting 14 of 17 three-pointers (82.3 percent) through Games 4-6.
  • Three-point shooting will be key in this series and the Warriors have been a cut above in that category. The Warriors lead the postseason at 37 percent on an average of 32.4 shots from behind the arc. The Raptors are averaging 34.5 percent but their defense has been ferocious, limiting teams to 31.3 percent in 18 playoff games.
  • Kawhi Leonard has looked like a man among boys in the playoffs and he’s fared pretty well vs Golden State since 2015. In his last 10 games against the Warriors, he’s averaged 23.2 points per game and has scored 20 or more in seven of those games. However, his teams are 4-6 SU.
  • Stephen Curry has owned the Raptors in his career, averaging 28.6 points per game in 17 games vs Toronto, which is his highest average against any team in the NBA. In his last five games against the Dinos, he’s averaged 25.4 points per game but has only shot 14-for-41 from behind the arc (34.1 percent).
  • The absence of Kevin Durant is like a cloud hanging over this series but don’t tell that to the Warriors. They have won five straight playoff games with him on the sideline and are 34-4 SU and 22-12-4 ATS in the last 38 games when Durant is out and Stephen Curry plays. It’s also worth mentioning they’ve won 31 of their last 32 games in that circumstance (21-7-4 ATS).
  • Lots of interesting first-quarter trends coming into Game 1. The Warriors are 8-2 ATS on the first-quarter spread over their last 10 games while the Raptors are 3-1 ATS over their last four.
  • Conflicting totals trends coming into this matchup. Bettors should note that the OVER has hit in 10 of the 16 Warriors’ games in the postseason but the UNDER has hit in 13 of the Raptors’ 18 playoff games. When these two teams met during the regular season, the O/U was 1-1 with the OVER hitting in Toronto.

My Best Bet for Warriors vs Raptors

Warriors moneyline

Full disclaimer: I have bet against the Raptors in almost every game since the second round. While I have no problem eating crow for those losses, this is a different opponent. This is an opponent that is the final boss in a video game. This is an opponent that has players who can create their own shot in the closing minutes in the half court, unlike the Bucks. This is an opponent that shoots 37 percent from behind the arc in the postseason and employs two of the best shooters of all time (three when Durant eventually returns). This is an opponent that has won three of the last four NBA championships. Why would I pick against that?

The only factor that gives me pause is the Warriors’ reserves. If Golden State plays Quinn Cook and Alfonzo McKinnie for extended minutes, the Dubs will get dusted. I expect the Warriors to have Curry and Klay both play a minimum of 42 minutes in Game 1 to neutralize that issue. I also expect Fred VanVleet and his hot shooting to regress. If you’re going to give me the Warriors as an underdog, I have no problem backing them on the moneyline.