Toronto swept Golden State in two regular-season matchups, but the Raptors are heavy underdogs in their first-ever NBA Finals appearance against the defending-champion Warriors. The highly-anticipated series tips off Thursday at 9 p.m. ET at Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the Eastern Conference Finals to stun Milwaukee with four straight wins, and now face a Golden State team eyeing its fourth title in five years. The Warriors, who are 5-0 in the playoffs without Kevin Durant, likely will be without the injured superstar in Game 1. Oddsmakers list Toronto as a 1-point home favorite, with the over-under for total points scored set at 215 in the latest Warriors vs. Raptors odds. Before you make any Warriors vs. Raptors picks or 2019 NBA Finals predictions, see what the SportsLine Projection Model picked.
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 conference 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 under, but it has a much stronger play on the spread, saying one side cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations. That pick is available only at SportsLine.
The model has factored in the two-way brilliance of Kawhi Leonard, who frustrated Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Raptors upset the Bucks. Clearly the top performer in the 2019 NBA Playoffs thus far, Leonard is averaging 31.2 points on 51 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals. His underrated supporting cast also is coming through: Fred VanVleet nailed an astounding 14-of-17 3-pointers in the last three games versus Milwaukee, while Pascal Siakam is contributing 18.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in the postseason.
The Raptors are 5-2-1 against the spread in their last four meetings, and come in on a sizzling four-game cover streak.
But just because the Raptors are at home and feeling like a team of destiny doesn't mean they'll cover the Warriors vs. Raptors spread Thursday night.
Golden State has played a free-flowing style since Durant injured his calf May 8 versus Houston, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green elevating their games. Curry is averaging 35.8 points and six made 3-pointers in the five games since. Green dominated Portland in the Western Conference Finals, posting four straight double-doubles, racking up 35 assists in the four-game sweep and playing lockdown defense.
In their 16 playoff games so far, the Warriors have scored 116.4 points per 100 possessions -- 8.0 points above the NBA average. This is still the best offense in basketball.
So who wins Raptors vs. Warriors? And which side of the spread cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations? 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.