Warriors Not Favored for NBA Championship for First Time Since 2016

Jun 07, 2019 10:15 PM EDT
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Steph Curry

  • Following their Game 3 win, the Toronto Raptors are now slight favorites over the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Championship.
  • This marks the first time since May of 2016 that the Warriors are not title favorites -- a streak longer than 1,000 days.

No Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson? Apparently that can lead to some struggles, even for the Warriors.

Despite Steph Curry’s best efforts, Golden State fell 123-109 at home in Game 3, shifting the series in Toronto’s favor. After their Game 1 loss, the Warriors remained series favorites, checking in between -130 and -150 around the market.

Not this time.

That’s right, the Golden State Warriors are not the favorites to win the NBA Championship. KD being ruled out for Game 4 hasn’t helped their cause, either.

Though action on the Warriors’ series odds did move the line in their favor on Thursday morning with many books settling in at a pick ’em, the Raptors are now slight favorites at most books, and as high as -130.

If this seems like a strange occasion, it is.

This marks the first time all season that the Warriors are dogs, as they’ve been odds-on favorites for the majority of the season. That’s just the beginning, though.

Mike Young, Sports Wagering and Integrity Analyst at CG Technology, told The Action Network that the last time the Warriors weren’t favored to win the title was May 2016! We’re talking about an 1,100-day streak here.

If they were a No. 1-ranked golfer, that would be the third-longest streak in history behind Tiger Woods’ top two stretches of 281 and 264 weeks, respectively.

Let me put on my Darren Rovell hat for a second. (Don’t worry, no spoilers.)

The last time the Warriors were not favored, “One Dance” by Drake was the top song, X-Men: Apocalypse was dominating the box office and Justin Bieber looked like this.

All right, it’s not that long ago, but it’s one hell of a stretch for a team to stay atop the odds throne.

You might forget, but the Warriors were down 3-1 to the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals that year after breaking the regular-season record with 73 wins. Of course, the Warriors ended up losing to Cleveland after infamously blowing a 3-1 series lead of their own, but they were -5 on the spread and approximately -200 on the moneyline in Game 7.

The 2016-17 season was smooth sailing, as they added Kevin Durant and were odds-on favorites for most of the season.

Same goes for last season, though the Rockets did give the Warriors a bit of a scare in the WCF. They went down 3-2 in the series, but Chris Paul’s untimely injury at the end of Game 5 allowed them to remain title favorites. Once they got to the finals, they were massive favorites (-1000 at some books) against the Cavs, and rightfully so, as Golden State swept Cleveland without an issue.

Will the Warriors win regardless of being a slight dog, or will the Raptors put an end to the Warriors’ dynasty as we know it?

Young also told TAN that CG Technology has seen a “steady amount” of action on the Raptors for Game 4 since the Durant news broke. “[It] might start to go the other way when Klay is officially active (though maybe some people were burned last night in the confusion over his status immediately prior to tip),” Young added over email.

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