The heavily-rested Golden State Warriors open their fifth straight NBA Finals on Thursday at Toronto, which is making its first Finals appearance. Tipoff of the 2019 NBA Finals from Scotiabank Arena is at 9 p.m. ET. The Warriors have been off for nine days since sweeping Portland in the Western Conference Finals, while the Raptors finished off the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday. Golden State has ruled out Kevin Durant (calf) for Game 1, but DeMarcus Cousins (quad) is questionable and Andre Iguodala will be ready to go after sitting out Game 4 versus the Trail Blazers with calf tightness. Sportsbooks list Toronto as a 1.5-point favorite in the latest Warriors vs. Raptors odds, with the over-under for total points scored set at 213.5. Before you make any Warriors vs. Raptors picks or NBA Finals 2019 predictions, see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, is crushing its NBA picks. It entered the 2019 NBA Finals with a sterling record on its top-rated picks, returning more than $3,000 in profit to anybody following them this season. And it has been particularly red-hot on its A-rated NBA money line picks, entering the NBA Finals on a strong 85-61 run. Anybody who has followed it is way, way up.
Now, it has set its sights on Game 1 of Warriors vs. Raptors. We can tell you the model is leaning over, and it also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. That pick is available only at SportsLine.
The model has factored in Toronto’s home dominance, which was on full display in the Eastern Conference Finals as the Raptors won all three matchups with the Bucks at Scotiabank Arena. In fact, Toronto has outscored visiting opponents by 12.4 points per 100 possessions — the second-best home mark in the playoffs behind Milwaukee.
If Game 1 versus the Warriors is close, as oddsmakers expect, Toronto has an edge with closer Kawhi Leonard. Not only has he been the best player throughout the entire NBA Playoffs, he’s scored a league-high 48 points in “clutch time,” which the NBA defines as the last five minutes of games in which the lead is five or fewer points.
But just because Toronto is at home and feeling like a team of destiny doesn’t mean it’ll cover the Warriors vs. Raptors spread Thursday night.
Golden State just did something no NBA team had done for over 50 years — reach the NBA Finals in five straight seasons — and won’t be fazed playing on the road. The Warriors are 6-2 on the road this postseason, outscoring their opponents by 7.4 points per 100 possessions. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green are coming off triple-doubles in the finale versus Portland, with Green playing as well as he ever has. The 29-year-old power forward is averaging 13.6 points, 9.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.7 blocks in the postseason. Moreover, a rested Iguodala is more than capable of slowing down Leonard.
It’s a good bet the Warriors won’t be rusty, either: they’re 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games following at least three days’ off.
So who wins Raptors vs. Warriors? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see the strong pick for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, all from the advanced model that’s up more than $3,000 on top-rated NBA picks this season.