The Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors 131-128 on Nov. 29, 2018 and then again 113-93 on Dec. 12, 2018 to complete the regular-season sweep. But the stakes are much higher as the 2019 NBA Finals get underway with Game 1 of Warriors vs. Raptors at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday evening. It's the fifth-straight finals appearance for Golden State and the first ever for Toronto. There's been plenty of line movement with Toronto opening as a 1-point underdog, but now going off as a 1.5-point favorite in the latest Warriors vs. Raptors odds. The over-under for total points is set at 213, down 2.5 points from the opening line. Before laying any Warriors vs. Raptors picks of your own down, be sure to see the NBA Finals 2019 predictions from the proven projection model at SportsLine.
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 taken into account that the Warriors last played 10 days ago and could be dealing with rust. They also might find a tougher defensive challenge against Toronto, a team that finished fifth in the league in defensive efficiency.
Golden State hasn't played any team with a defensive efficiency of better than 16th thus far in the 2019 NBA Playoffs. Backed by a strong home-court presence at Scotiabank Arena, the Raptors very well could be in position to overwhelm a rusty Golden State squad early and get the cover in Game 1.
But just because Toronto is at home 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 Kawhi Leonard.
And while Kevin Durant (calf) has been ruled out for at least Game 1, the Warriors could get a boost from the return of DeMarcus Cousins, who will be active after tearing his quad in the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
So who wins Raptors vs. Warriors? And which side of the spread hits in 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.