By Eli Hershkovich
The Game 5 spread shifted from Golden State -4.5 to -5 on Friday, thanks to the Warriors declaring center Kevon Looney (chest) active two hours before tipoff, but the Raptors’ elite defense wasn’t affected.
They held Steve Kerr’s unit to its lowest offensive rating (96.8 points per 100 possessions) of the 2019 playoffs, improving to 13-7 against the spread (65.0%) as a single-digit underdog this season. On the flip side, Golden State dipped to 8-9 straight-up without Kevin Durant (calf) in the NBA Finals over the past five campaigns.
At the other end, Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard dominated with 36 points via 11-of-22 shooting, seeing his MVP odds rise from -104 to -500 after the 105-92 win. If Leonard and his Raptors clinch their first-ever title, they’d deliver the second-largest NBA Finals upset over the past 35 years. Nick Nurse’s crew started with +210 series odds while the 2004 Detroit Pistons (+500 against the Lakers) claimed the biggest upset amid that stretch.
Below are the updated NBA Finals odds — all of them differing from the series' opening oddson May 25.
Raptors in five: -125
Raptors in six: +450
Raptors in seven: +450
Warriors in seven: +425
Kawhi Leonard -500
Steph Curry +400
Draymond Green 16-1
Pascal Siakam 25-1
Klay Thompson 30-1
Kevin Durant 40-1
Kyle Lowry 50-1
Andre Iguodala 100-1
Game 5 Odds
Raptors -1.5 (Over/Under 214.5)
Moneyline: Toronto -125; Golden State +110
With Durant listed as a game-time decision, practicing on Sunday for the first time since suffering his calf injury in the Western Conference Semifinals, the Game 5 line sits at Raptors -1.5. It was as high as Toronto -3.5 after opening at -2.5 on Friday.
Nurse’s troops are 2-2 ATS and 3-1 outright in series clinchers this postseason. They’re also 10-10 ATS when favored between 1 to 3.5 points this season, according to Sports Insights.
Golden State has proven it doesn’t possess the size to match up with Toronto at either end, and the 6-foot-9 Durant would only be able to help so much on a minutes restriction. The Raptors have outscored the Warriors 156-140 in the paint in the first four games — with Serge Ibaka looking like his vintage self defensively (4.0 blocks per game over the past two contests).
Toronto is 9-3 ATS (75.0%) when generating a 104.2 defensive rating or lower in the 2019 playoffs. You’d think Golden State’s offense would endure some positive regression after shooting just 29.6 percent from behind the arc in Game 4, but the Raptors’ box-and-one defense has locked down Steph Curry while ignoring the Warriors’ inefficient shooters throughout. I’d expect a similar result in Game 5 to close out this series.
Lean: Raptors -1.5