With or without Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors are favorites in the NBA Finals for the fifth year in a row.
Caesars Sportsbook installed the two-time defending Warriors champions as 320 favorites to beat the Toronto Raptors in the final. The first game of the best-of-seven series is Thursday in Toronto.
The Warriors are heading for their fifth consecutive final. They were favored in the last four final series and won three of the last four titles, all against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Durant missed all four of the Warriors’ games against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals for a calf injury. He is unlikely to participate in Game 1, Golden State said Thursday. In any case, warriors are great favorites.
On Saturday night, the SuperBook in Westgate Las Vegas opened with Golden State as the favorite of -275 in the finals. The executive director of SuperBook, John Murray, told ESPN that the price reflected the possibility of Durant playing in the series. The Warriors have won 31 of their last 32 games when Curry plays and Durant does not. They have a global record of 34-4 in those games.
The SuperBook raised the price of Golden State to -310 minutes after publication.
Toronto opened up as a loser for +260 in the series on Caesars. In the last eight finals, only the Cavaliers last year were below what the Raptors should start now.
Toronto erased a 0-2 deficit against the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals and advanced to the first Finals of the NBA franchise with a comeback in Game 6 on Saturday.
The Raptors won both games with the Warriors this season: 113-93 in Oakland, on December 12, and 132-128, in Toronto, on November 29.