Wagerers of the hoops world, unite!
When the Golden State Warriors host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Thursday, it could be your last chance to bet on pro basketball this season.
The Raptors hold a 3-2 series lead and might be smelling blood after the Warriors lost Kevin Durant to a ruptured Achilles in Game 5. Toronto has looked like the better team through most of the first five clashes, as it's healthier, deeper and turbo-powered by two-way soul-snatcher Kawhi Leonard.
But Golden State is back at home, playing at Oracle Arena for the last time. And as long as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are around, this team is a threat to go nuclear from three and render all other stat categories meaningless—basically the blueprint of its series-extending win Monday.
Basketball fans should be in for a treat, and there are no shortage of ways for gamblers to get in on the fun. After laying out the particulars for Thursday's matchup, we'll examine the prop bets, via VegasInsider.com, most worth your attention.
2019 NBA Finals: Game 6
Who: Raptors at Warriors
When: Thursday, June 13, at 9 p.m. ET
Where: Oracle Arena
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Latest Line: Warriors -2.5
Score Prediction: Warriors 106, Raptors 103
Over/Under: 2.5 Threes for Kyle Lowry
On the surface, the over seems like easy money.
Over the past four seasons combined, Lowry has averaged 2.9 triples and hit them at a 38.8 percent clip. While both figures fell this year (to 2.4 and 34.7, respectively), he has shown the ability to (literally) shoot past this total with two different playoff outings of five-plus triples.
But he's streaky and in the middle of an arctic stretch. He made just one three in Game 5 and didn't sink any in Game 4, despite launching 10 attempts in those outings. He's had four games just in these playoffs when he never found his mark from distance.
This is a good total, because you can make the case for either side. But the numbers like the under. He's only topped two triples in seven of his 23 appearances this postseason.
Over/Under: 31.5 Combined Points, Rebounds and Assists for Klay Thompson
While one of the elite shooters this league has ever seen, Thompson can be a bit one-dimensional—from a statistical standpoint, at least.
He isn't asked to do much distributing, and it shows on the stat sheet. Among the 34 perimeter players with a 25-plus usage percentage this season, he tied for last with 2.4 assists per game. He also spends so much time on the perimeter that he's rarely seen on the glass. His career 5.7 rebounding percentage is 195th out of the 198 players who are 6'7" or taller to log 20,000 career minutes in the three-point era (which began in 1979-80).
In other words, this wager will mostly come down to his scoring output. (For reference, his series averages are just 4.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists, but his 25.0 points would still get him north of the over.)
With no Durant, the Warriors will look Thompson's direction early and often. The volume alone should get him 25 points, and if he's feeling it, he might hit the over just with points.
Over/Under: 32 Points for Kawhi Leonard
While the Raptors will look to exploit their depth advantage over the depleted Dubs, they'll always feature Leonard.
He's their lone superstar, and he's the one who can take the game over at a moment's notice, as his personal 10-point fourth quarter scoring run showed in Game 5. He's a legitimate three-level scorer, and when he's hot, even stingy stoppers like Thompson and Andre Iguodala can only do so much to cool him down.
Admittedly, 32 points is a high number for anyone. It's a hair above Leonard's average playoff output (30.9) and a mark he's failed to reach in three of the five games this series.
But that aggressiveness he showed late in Game 5 could be amplified in Game 6, since he knows anything can happen in a Game 7. We might be predicting a Warriors victory Thursday, but that's due to our questions with his supporting cast. This may not be his most efficient outing ever, but he'll take enough shots to clear this total.
Statistics used courtesy of Basketball Reference.