Monday is not a holiday in Canada … unless you consider that the Toronto Raptors playing in the NBA Finals is a happenstance that makes every day a holiday.
As Americans celebrate Memorial Day, basketball fans are counting down the days to the start of the finals on Thursday night to see what is in store for Game 1 when the juggernaut Golden State Warriors prepare for their fifth straight trip to the NBA Finals … and everyone awaits word on whether Kevin Durant will even play in the series due to his calf injury.
In the sports gambling universe, the competition is brisk to draw in wagers from around the world — but especially in America on Day 378 since PASPA was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Nobody is competing harder than DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook, both of which have put up a ton of prop bets that appeal to the casual gambler who is looking to make a big score. Those companies are not really aiming at the sharps and squares. Rather, they are trying to appeal to new customers who are still becoming accustomed to the changing landscape in the U.S. market.
So what’s on the board that not only offers a big payout but makes gambling fun? Here are five that are up before Game 1.
1. TRIPLE-DOUBLE PROPS
Draymond Green has had four of them in the postseason thus far, including consecutive ones in Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals against Portland. He is the favorite to get one in the Finals, being listed at FanDuel at +410 (wager $100 to win $440) and at 3-1 by DraftKings.
Stephen Curry, who had a triple-double of 37 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in Game 4 against Portland, is 23-1 (he has five over the course of his career and did not have any during the regular season). Kyle Lowry is 27-1 (He had two during the regular season and has 13 in his career); Kawhi Leonard is 34-1 (he did not have any this season); and Pascal Siakam is 100-1 (his next will be his first).
2. POINT TOTAL OVER/UNDERS
At DraftKings Sportsbook, the one that jumps out at you in Game 1 is Draymond Green’s over/under at 13.5, especially since he scored 18, 20 and 16 in the final three games against Portland. The line is set where it is because Green is averaging 13.2 ppg in the postseason and averaged just 7.4 ppg in the regular season. He will likely be the primary defender on Kawhi Leonard, so that is a tricky one. But there is no arguing that the guy is coming in hot.
Other over/under point totals are Curry at 31.5, Leonard at 30.5, Klay Thompson at 22.5, Siakam at 15.5 and Marc Gasol at 9.5. (Gasol has scored in single digits in six of his last eight postseason games). At FanDuel, there are Game 1 point props at 9.5 for both Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell, two reserves who are going to need to play big roles in order for the Raptors to take Game 1 (the line opened at Golden State -1 and has since shifted to pick ’em or Toronto -1).
3. 3-POINTERS BY STEPH CURRY
Curiously, the over/under for the most prolific 3-point shooter in NBA history is 4.5 in Game 1. Curry went over 4.5 in three out of four games against Portland, but he was under in 10 consecutive games during Rounds 1 and 2 after making eight in Game 1 of the first round against the Clippers and five in Game 2.
Klay Thompson’s over/under is 3.5 at both books (he was under in three of four games against Portland); Leonard is at 2.5 at both books (he has been under in 8 of his last nine games), and Danny Green, who comes into the series having missed 14 of his last 15 but who has been known to go off in the playoffs back in his Spurs days) is at 1.5 at FanDuel.
4. BRING OUT THE BROOMS?
You see it happen all the time in the NBA: A team makes it to the Finals for the first time, and they forget to do the things that got them there. Heck, it was sort of like what happened during the Western Conference Finals when the Portland Trail Blazers got swept by a Golden State team that was missing Kevin Durant for most of the series.
And while this is not the first time to the Finals for Toronto’s Patrick McCaw, who was with the Warriors for the past two seasons, as a group this is a first time experience for the players from The North.
If you believe the Warriors are due for a fast fall … one resembling a thud … the Raptors are 50-1 at DraftKings to sweep the series and 43-1 at FanDuel. If you are a chalk guy and believe a Warriors sweep is inevitable, the odds are not quite as favorable. FanDuel has the better odds (5-1) whereas DraftKings has a Golden State sweep at 9-2.
If you think this thing is going the distance, Toronto or Golden State in 7 is 11/2 at FanDuel, and DraftKings is listing the same odds. The biggest winner in that scenario would be Adam Silver, who will actually have a television audience to be proud of for the first time since the Draft Lottery.
5. WHO WILL BE THE MVP?
The books really like Stephen Curry on this one: He is -143 at DraftKings and -167 at Fan Duel, which is pretty much the definition of chalk. The longshots in this category are Pascal Siakam at 63-1 and Kyle Lowry at 70-1 at FanDuel, whereas at DraftKings you can get Serge Ibaka at 100-1 and DeMarcus Cousins at 200-1. “Boogie” scrimmaged on Friday, and the Raptors really have no one who can stop him if he is ready to go in Game 1. Y’all can decide for yourselves what the best bet out there is, but that one looks like it may be worth a flyer.