NBA Finals 2019: Raptors vs. Warriors Game 3 Odds, Props and PredictionsJune 5, 2019
Officially, the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors are even after two games of the 2019 NBA Finals.
But an unofficial leader likely exists in the minds of hoop heads, although the identity can differ based on one's perspective.
Some might put the Warriors ahead. After all, they're back in Oakland having swiped home-court advantage Sunday, they drew blood most recently in the series and they've had plenty of success on this stage before.
Others will favor the Raptors. They don't share the Warriors' injury issues (Kevin Durant is out for Game 3, Klay Thompson is questionable), they've kept Golden State's offense relatively in check and they've already won a game in which superstar Kawhi Leonard was nothing special.
Come Wednesday night, though, someone will have officially taken control of this series.
We'll see what oddsmakers are saying about the matchup below, by laying out the latest line and prop bets from VegasInsider.com, then predicting how they'll play out.
The Warriors are 4.5-point favorites, which, feels a bit high given Durant's unavailability and Thompson's uncertainty.
"Obviously, I would do anything I can to be out there, but it's all in their hands," Thompson told reporters Tuesday. "If there's any pain, it will be a no-go just because of the position we're in."
That's not the most encouraging statement if you're hoping Thompson gives it a go.
While this high-powered offense can survive the loss of one All-Star scorer, missing two elites is different—especially when DeMarcus Cousins isn't all the way back.
With no Thompson or Durant, Toronto can throw the kitchen sink and more at Stephen Curry. When Thompson exited Game 2 early with his hamstring problem, Golden State's offense derailed and never got back on track. He missed the final eight minutes, during which the Dubs managed just 11 points and four field goals. The stretch included a 5:32 scoring drought that almost gave the game away.
Golden State, of course, still came out of that with a victory and probably tastes blood at this point. If it protects its home floor Wednesday, it could deal a major blow to Toronto's psyche.
But the Warriors look vulnerable—if only for the moment—with all of their injuries. That would be tough to overcome against anyone, let alone a 58-win Raptors team that mostly controlled the first two contests of this series.
Prediction: Raptors cover—and win
Over/Under: 11.5 Points for Fred VanVleet
On the surface, it's tempting to hammer the over.
VanVleet has been as steady as any Raptor not named Kawhi Leonard of late, and you know he's going to log major minutes given his defensive effectiveness on Curry. VanVleet has topped 11.5 points in each of the last five games and has yet to finish with fewer than 15 in this series.
But could this be a recency bias-based trap? VanVleet has played 20 games this postseason. His scoring average for the entire playoffs is a minuscule 7.0. Prior to this recent five-game binge, he'd gone 10 straight contests with five or fewer points and 14 in a row with single-digit scoring.
Four of his last five games were at home, where role players typically have more success. Maybe he'll show this is simply his breakout series, but the law of averages suggests he's due for a quiet night.
Over/Under: 0.5 Three-pointers for Andre Iguodala
If the Raptors defense was "disrespectful" to Iguodala's shooting ability, as Curry said, then oddsmakers are downright rude with this line.
Luckily, that should work to the savvy gambler's advantage.
Regular-season Iguodala is no guarantee to light the lamp from long range. He played 68 games this year and finished 36 of them without a triple. For the campaign, he converted just 33.3 percent of his perimeter shots. For context, the league-average mark was 35.5 percent.
But Playoff Iggy is a different player from distance. He has a triple in 11 of his 17 outings this postseason, plus a 35.5 percent conversion rate. Given the Warriors' need to establish proper spacing around Curry—especially if Thompson can't go—Iguodala could be launching early and often.
Over/Under: 13.5 Points for DeMarcus Cousins
Cousins' brief showing in Game 1 was mostly uneventful, and his first stint in Game 2 was rough. He had two fouls in less than four minutes and moved with the stiffness of someone who just completed a cross-country road trip.
But something flipped his switch before Boogie checked back in, and he'd go on to become one of the contest's biggest storylines. He not only logged 20 more minutes than the opener, he also flooded the stat sheet with 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
"He was fantastic, and we needed everything he gave out there—his rebounding, his toughness, his physical presence, getting the ball in the paint and just playing big, like he does," Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters. "We needed all of that. So I thought he was fantastic."
Golden State could need even more Wednesday if Thompson is unavailable or limited. Cousins' offensive opportunities could be abundant. Playing through him on the post not only alleviates pressure on Curry to create, it would also give Golden State's inconsistent-but-capable shooters cleaner looks from deep.
If Boogie's body cooperates, he could blow past this total.