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Warriors – Trailblazers

Warriors Blazers Game 1 handicapping

The Golden State Warriors will host the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

The Warriors (top seed) lost Kevin Durant in the third quarter of Game 5 against Houston Rockets, and they seemed in trouble. At that point the game was tied and the series was also tied at 2-2. But the Warriors quickly reverted to their original style of play from before KD joined them, and delivered the business to win both Games 5 and 6 against the Rockets, their main rivals. They will be again without Durant for at least two games in this series.

The Blazers (3rd seed) seemed down and out in the previous round against the Nuggets, trailing 2-3 against an arguably superior team which also had the momentum. Lillard and particularly CJ McCollum came up big down the stretch though, and with some help from the Nuggets, the Blazers managed to pull it off. They weren`t expected to reach the Western Conference finals despite being the third seed in the West (they were underdogs against both OKC and Denver), but here they are: the biggest performance for this group since they are together, even with their third best player (Nurkic) being out for the postseason.

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Team news: The Warriors continue to be without Durant and Cousins, while the Blazers will still be without Nurkic. Also, Hood is questionable for the Blazers. He wouldn`t be that big of a loss, but his absence would hurt their rotation.

Credit to the Blazers for pulling off the comeback in the previous round against the Nuggets, and for winning Game 7 on the road. No doubt Portland is playing well in these playoffs, but you can`t deny that they were lucky against Denver. They won two games in Denver due to the Nuggets having all-time bad shooting nights. In Game 7, the Nuggets went 2-19 from three and missed their last 17 three pointers (!!) and still only lost by 4 points. The Nuggets should have won that series if they didn`t miss open shot after open shot.

The Warriors have been underrated time and time again by the bookies when Durant is not playing. We saw it again first hand against the Rockets on Friday night, when the Warriors were priced at 3.75 to win!

This time the bookies seem to give a bit more respect to Curry and Company, but the 7,5 point spread still seems a bit on the low side.

The Warriors without Durant are still the best team in the NBA. They are have a 30-4 (!!) record when Curry plays and Durant doesn`t play in the last three years. Unfortunately I can not find the ATS (against the spread) stats when Curry plays and Durant does not, but they must surely be around 70% (possibly higher), which is an amazing rate of covering the spread. I distinctly remember a run I had noted when they had covered the spread in 11 out of 12 matches.

They are much more likely to cover the spread without KD than with KD – one, because the bookies are taking points off their line, and two because they play at the same level, arguably even better. When KD can elevate them is against top teams with physical, dominant forwards like Lebron, Kawhi or Giannis. Against the Blazers, the Warriors have no need for him.

Look for the Warriors to play their classic style of fast paced, ball moving basketball, as they did before Durant joined them. They might not be the exact same team they were before KD, when they won a championship and 73 regular season games – but they only miss a few rotation pieces from that group. The core remains intact.

Backing Warriors without Durant (as long as Curry plays) has always been a gold mine for bettors, and I see no reason not to give it another try tonight. There are also other arguments favoring this bet, like the Warriors having 2 extra rest days, while the Blazers are coming two nights after an exhausting Game 7 at high altitude in Denver.

Also, the Warriors are 17-1 in Game 1’s in the playoffs since their dynasty began in the 2014-2015 season!

My tip will be Golden State to win and cover the -7 (asian) handicap. This bet should be available at more than a dozen respected bookies, but if you can`t find it, then the -7.5 point spread should work as well. Maybe with 7 units instead of 8, because sometimes even half a point can make a big difference. Prediction: Golden State Warriors – Portland Trailblazers 120 – 106.

Pick: Warriors -7
Odds: 1.93 @ Unibet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 7.44
Event date: 15 May

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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