Portland Trailblazers vs. Golden State Warriors Series Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Odds to win series: Trail Blazers +435, Warriors -530
The 2019 NBA Western Conference Finals will begin in Oakland at Oracle Arena on Tuesday, May 14, with the No. 1 seed Golden State Warriors facing the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers were eliminated by the New Orleans Pelicans last year and have not made it to the Conference Finals since 2000 vs. the Kobe/Shaq led Los Angeles Lakers. The Warriors have won four straight Western Conference Finals and three of the last four NBA Championships.
The Warriors defeated the Rockets in six games despite losing Kevin Durant for the sixth game to a calf injury. Some say the Warriors play a better brand of basketball without their All-Pro star, as they can get back to what they did before Durant showed up. In fact, Klay Thompson went from 36.7% to 50% from downtown with KD out. This might have something to do with the fact that Klay's usage goes up 9% with no KD, so he feels more involved in the game.
The Portland Trail Blazers took the Denver Nuggets to the brink in a hard-fought seven-game Western Conference Semi-Finals. Despite being a 5.5-point underdog in Game 7, the Blazers were able to defeat the Nuggets despite amazing performances by Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. This is a big step for Portland as Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and company, have an opportunity to shock the world and defeat the monster that is the Golden State Warriors.
Facts about the Trail Blazers
Lillard has had a fantastic postseason once again at 28.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Lillard is the heartbeat of this young Portland team. Ever since his dramatic three-pointer sending the Oklahoma City Thunder packing for the off-season, Portland has that "Cinderella" feel. The four time All-Star from Weber State hails from Oakland believe it or not, where they will do battle Tuesday evening.
McCollum, Enes Kanter, and newcomer Rodney Hood have played pivotal roles. McCollum is averaging 25 points this post-season, and Hood's emergence since coming over from Cleveland has been crucial as the Blazers needed an answer for losing Jusuf Nurkic for the season earlier this year.
It has been well documented that Kanter has been observing Ramadan, a Muslim tradition in which he will fast from dawn to sunset. This even includes drinking water. He has said, however; it has not impacted his play at all, and his numbers correlate that at 12.9 points per game, 10.6 rebounds and still being able to log 32.7 minutes per game this postseason.
The Blazers were 53-29 this season. They were 2-2 SU vs. the Warriors, 2-2 ATS, and 2-2 O/U during the regular season. They were 45-36-1 ATS this year and 42-38-2 O/U.
Facts about the Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are a dynasty. Love them or hate them, they have accomplished some extraordinary things. If they make it to the Finals again this year, that will mark five seasons in a row, which has not happened since Red Auerbach's Boston Celtics of the 1960s.
Stephen Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green have been the Warriors original Three Musketeers since their first title in 2015. They were almost eliminated by a fantastic Oklahoma City team in the 2016 Conference Finals. That team was led by Russell Westbrook and none other than Durant. Durant decided after the Thunder's heartbreaking series loss, that he would simply switch jerseys and join Golden State. Punk move in my opinion. Nonetheless, joining the enemy got him two championship rings. Durant will most likely leave via free agency after the season, most saying to the New York Knicks.
The Warriors were 57-25 SU, 35-46-1 ATS, and 38-44 O/U on the season.
Losing DeMarcus Cousins was disappointing for the Warriors. Not as disappointing as losing KD. "Boogie" is out indefinitely, although there has been some optimism from Golden State's camp that he could return in the NBA Finals if the Warriors make it. Durant is officially listed as "doubtful" for the series opener Tuesday.
Losing Nurkic was devastating for Portland. He averaged 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game during the regular season. This leaves Canter as the only true center on the team.
Hood has been downgraded to "doubtful" for the series opener Tuesday night.
Steve Kerr took over for Mark Jackson in 2014. He immediately took the franchise to the next level, winning the NBA Finals his first year behind the helm, and the rest is history.
Terry Stotts took over the Blazers job in 2012. That season was the only one in which he did not lead his team to the postseason. This will be his first Western Conference Finals.
Handicapping the series
This should be an interesting series from a handicapping perspective. The teams were so evenly matched ATS and O/U this year, who knows what will happen. The line for game one opened with the Warriors being an eight-point favorite and has held steady. The O/U for game one is 218.5.
Warriors in 5
I took the Rockets to upset the Warriors in the last series, and I've learned my lesson. Never bet against these guys. Even without Durant, I don't think it matters. They seemed to relish the opportunity to do it without KD, almost as if they were preparing for the future without him. Will Klay Thompson stay in Golden State after this year? Maybe not. However, with this nucleus as is, you better believe they want one more ring before they close the book on this chapter.
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