DeMarcus Cousins Injury Impact on Betting Odds for Warriors-Raptors Game 1

DeMarcus Cousins Injury Impact on Betting Odds for Warriors-Raptors Game 1 article feature image

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins

  • Golden State's DeMarcus Cousins is expected to return for tonight's Game 1 of the NBA Finals (9 p.m. ET, ABC) against the Toronto Raptors.
  • We look at Cousins' on-court impact, as well as how his return is affecting betting odds for Game 1.

Earlier this afternoon, news broke that DeMarcus Cousins will be returning to action for tonight’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Since odds opened for tonight’s series-opening matchup, the line has moved from Warriors -1 to Raptors -1, and even to -1.5 at some sportsbooks.

Interestingly, news of Cousins’ return did nothing to affect the betting line for Game 1, which has yet to move in any major capacity since Wednesday night.

The over/under, which ticked down from 213.5 to 213 at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas shortly after 9 a.m. ET today, also had no reaction to the injury news.

While the NBA betting market has basically turned a blind eye to Cousins’ return, I turned to The Action Network’s NBA analyst Matt Moore to break down Boogie’s effect on the court.

DeMarcus Cousins’ On-Court Impact

Cousins’ availability is nebulous. We don’t know how much he can play. Steve Kerr said that he’s unsure if he’ll get minutes; that’s a lie, he’s absolutely going to play.

But in the Finals, Kerr knows (and has learned the hard way in 2016 with Anderson Varejao and Festus Ezeli) that small minutes of disaster can doom a game and be the difference. He’ll want to see if Cousins can give them something positive, but the leash will be short.

Cousins this year had games where he looked incredible, but he’s played 30 games in the past 16 months. That’s just not a lot. When he did play, the Warriors’ net ratings were a disaster. Cousins couldn’t hang defensively and still doesn’t really truly fit with what the Warriors want to do.

Without Kevin Durant on the floor this season, the Warriors put up a 103.7 offensive rating with Cousins on-court. His limited playoff results were even worse.

The ideal version of Cousins can attack the Raptors if they switch. A 1-5 Curry pick and roll with Kyle Lowry or Danny Green guarding Curry that switches puts Cousins against a tiny defender in the post. But going to that is risky on account of how good the Raptors’ help defense is.

Where Cousins may help most is at the pinch post as a facilitator, but will he do that better than Draymond Green? And given Cousins’ uncertain shot right now, is it wise to have both Green and Cousins on the floor together, since they can’t space the court?

Cousins might be able to defend Marc Gasol better in the post … but Gasol is not going to try and score much in the post. And Kawhi Leonard will seek out every opportunity to attack Cousins.

Cousins’ talent is considerable, but the odds are greater that Cousins is more of a hindrance to Golden State than a boon. — Matt Moore