Warriors the Smart Bet to Win NBA Title, Even at Short Odds
A Draymond Green suspension, an historic night from Kyrie Irving and a legendary three-game stretch from LeBron James are the only reasons the Golden State Warriors aren’t gunning for their fifth consecutive championship this spring.
Steve Kerr’s squad choking away that 3-1 series lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016 feels like forever ago. Since then, the Warriors added Kevin Durant, won two championships and signed a fifth All-Star, DeMarcus Cousins, to help with the run toward a three-peat.
This was certainly the most turbulent regular season since the Warriors’ dynasty began in 2014. They suffered an unfathomable six home losses by 20 or more points, including the worst loss of the Steve Kerr era (a 35-point loss to the hapless Mavericks).
Steph Curry suffered another significant injury, Draymond Green was suspended for an altercation with Kevin Durant after an overtime loss, and they spent a good part of the regular season as the No. 2 seed chasing the Denver Nuggets.
And yet here are the Warriors, about to begin the postseason and looking like the runaway favorite for a fifth straight season. They’re healthy, they’re heating up and no team can even come close to the postseason experience that this playoff-savvy team possesses.
They’re an incredible -210 to win the 2019 NBA Finals and despite everything that could go wrong in their chase for a third straight title, those are favorable NBA Finals odds. It’s not sexy but it’s the right play.
Bet on the Warriors and the NBA playoffs here:
Why You Should Back the Warriors
This team goes into a different gear when the postseason rolls around. The truth is we make a big deal out of it when the Warriors hit bumps in the regular season road; the reality is they’ve always been playing for the postseason, with the first 82 games acting as a six-month warm-up.
As mentioned, this was considered a turbulent season for the Warriors.
In addition to Curry’s injury, Green and Durant’s dust-up and Klay Thompson’s impending free agency looming, Golden State’s bench was a question mark, Cousins’ fit came into question and the string of bad losses had many wondering if the Warriors’ dynasty was about to crumble.
And yet, in what was considered a down regular season the Warriors still finished the regular season with the NBA’s most efficient offense, the No. 11 defense and the second-best net rating in the NBA – behind only the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the luxury of playing in the ugly Eastern Conference.
Kerr will shorten up the rotations, play his heavy hitters more minutes and likely introduce new lineups and rotations – the Death Lineup now featuring Boogie Cousins is terrifying.
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How the Warriors Adapt & Adjust
It’s a different ballgame when mid-April rolls around and the Warriors know it. They’re 63-20 in the postseason over the last four seasons and, even better, are 48-35 against the spread. The Warriors don’t just win in the postseason; they bully teams and they don’t let up.
What the Warriors will do in the postseason is muddy up the game. Don’t let their league-leading offense fool you. This is a team with playoff experience that is more than willing to slow things down and get in a defensive struggle.
In fact, during their four-year playoff run the over is just 34-45-4, and that’s including a 2017 postseason in which the over went 13-4. In those other three season the over was 21-41-4.
Given their offensive prowess it’s easy to forget that they have three premium defenders in Durant, Green and Thompson. They can and will win in a variety of ways and their defensive efficiency has ranked 1st, 2nd, 7th and 1st the last four postseasons.
The West won’t be easy. The Nuggets have gone from good to great, James Harden and the Rockets have bounced back from early-season struggles and look like playoff contenders, and a team as talented as the Thunder are the No. 6 seed.
It’s a juggernaut of a playoff bracket, but it’s also nothing the Warriors haven’t seen before. Plus, no team in the Eastern Conference has much playoff experience and, thanks to LeBron James, no NBA Finals experience.
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