Raptors vs. Warriors Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Steph Curry Is Back, Folks
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors warms up on the Oakland ‘The Town’ logo projected on the floor.
- Stephen Curry hasn't played in a NBA game in 125 days, but he'll return to the floor on Thursday night against the Raptors (10:30 p.m. ET).
- Should you consider the Warriors (+8.5) against the defending champs with Curry's return?
- See the full betting breakdown below.
Raptors at Warriors Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions
- Spread: Raptors -8.5
- Over/Under: 225.5
- Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: TNT
A total of 125 days have passed since Stephen Curry last started a game in the NBA, but that streak ends on Thursday night as the two-time league MVP makes his return to the Warriors’ lineup to face the Toronto Raptors (how fitting).
While this is undoubtedly good news for anyone who has watched the Warriors’ past 58 games, the Dubs are still underdogs to the reigning champions at home. Is Curry’s return enough to propel the Warriors in this game?
Our crew breaks down the betting trends and key matchups and gives their picks below.
Betting Trends to Know
In Curry’s return, the Warriors are 8.5-point underdogs vs. the Raptors. Golden State hasn’t been a home dog of more than three points in a game Steph has played since 2013.
Toronto has been one of the most profitable teams in the NBA this season at 34-27 ATS (+6.3 units). But the Raptors have struggled on the road, especially as sizable favorites. This season, the Raps are 0-5 ATS when favored by six or more points on the road. — John Ewing
Mears: The Underrated Metric Leading to Value
Steph is back!
It remains to be seen whether he’ll be rusty and how much the Warriors will limit him, but let’s talk about his on-court impact for this squad.
He’s likely very impactful offensively, while either not impactful defensively or perhaps a downgrade (I’d personally have it neutral). Even with the Warriors, he’s consistently had strong on/off metrics, showing just how important he is even when playing among stars.
The most underrated impact of Steph’s presence on the court, though, has always been pace. Take last season for example: With him on the floor, the Warriors got out in transition 4.0% more. That may not sound like much, but that’s a huge swing — it was one of the highest marks in the league.
If we look at just pace on vs. pace off for players, Steph over the last several years has been the most important player in the league — i.e., he affects his team’s pace more than any other player.
So this isn’t just “Steph is going to make the offense more efficient.” He’s going to make it more efficient plus they’re going to get many more opportunities, and especially ones that usually lead to positive outcomes. It’s a multiplier that I think is undervalued by both the public and the betting market.
So let’s think about this game: The Raptors are awesome and getting healthier. They should have no problem scoring here; again, I think Steph’s addition is likely neutral to the defense. But there’s also going to be an increased pace that’s likely underrated, giving both offenses more possessions.
The public is on the over — it’s getting 74% of the bets — but there also seems to be sharp money there, too: 96% of the money wagered is on the side. We’ve also tracked a steam move on the over at 223 with no buyback on the under. I’ll be on the public side on this one and take the over.
Moore: Monitor Injury News for Value
Steph’s back; you can read more on what I think about that here. But to find an edge here, pay attention to who plays for Toronto. Without Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol this season, the Raptors are giving up 118 points per game; the over is 3-1. They are the important defensive backbone for the team; they’ll be shorthanded if they can’t go.
Nick Nurse talked about the small-ball lineup before the loss to the Nuggets, mentioning that with that group he wants to push the pace. Expect the same thing vs. the Warriors. Golden State, especially with Curry, is comfortable with that. The over/under (225.5) is too low considering how these teams play in that spot.
So if Ibaka and Gasol are out, play the over. If either one of them play, it’s a stay-away.
PICK: Over 225.5 IF Ibaka and Gasol are out.
Anderson: Finding Value on Steph Props
Steph Curry is back, baby! Man, I missed that guy. I think we all did, no matter how much Warriors fatigue we’ve all been suffering over this last half decade.
So what are we to expect from Curry?
Honestly, who knows? The dude hasn’t played since October, and he’s literally never played a real game at all before with most of these teammates. Kevon Looney is out, Draymond Green is questionable and Curry is probably still learning the names of a lot of these other teammates. You better believe he knows the names of the guys he’s facing tonight.
The world champion Toronto Raptors took down Curry’s Warriors last June, stifling him with a flurry of defense and even pulling out the box-and-one on him at times. Don’t put that past Nick Nurse tonight. Then again, we don’t know what to expect from the Raptors either since Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are all questionable, too.
One thing we do know? Curry will come out firing. He’s had more than enough time to recover from that injury, and you know he’s going to want to put on a show in front of a home crowd that’s waited over four months to see him.
Curry has played 277 games (with at least 25 minutes) over these past five seasons since that first magical MVP campaign. During that stretch, he’s scored more than 17 points in 242 of them. Why is that significant? Because the oddsmakers have gifted us with a 17.5-point line for Curry tonight, a gift from the gambling gods we’ve long awaited.
Curry has gone over 17.5 points in 87.4% of those games. And look, he’s reportedly restricted to 25 minutes, he could struggle to shake off the rust and the Raptors could lock him up for much of the game. But this is Steph Curry we’re talking about! He could do nothing all game and still fire off 12 points in a two-minute stretch, melt the internet and hit your over.
Our Player Props tool is with me on this one, rating this prop a 10 out of 10, even at -133. We’re projecting him at 22 points, and I think he’s ready to put on a show.
THE PICK: Curry over 17.5 points
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.