As the Golden State Warriors chase a third consecutive title, the Portland Trail Blazers present an intriguing roadblock. Can the underdogs take advantage of a team without a healthy Kevin Durant? Here is a full betting preview for the NBA’s Western Conference Finals.
Of course, Durant’s availability is the biggest story heading into this series. In the meantime, it looks like Andrew Bogut will be inserted in the Warriors’ lineup. Bogut certainly won’t fill KD’s shoes on offense (zero points in 12 minutes Friday), but he has able been a capable defensive player. Durant’s offensive production went to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in a game six win over the Houston Rockets. Curry’s 33 points were his most since the first game of the postseason, while Thompson’s 27 were his second-most during this playoff run. Both stars will need to stay hot against Portland. Even if Andre Iguodala can contribute 17 points, as he did Friday, the Warriors won’t win this series if their best shooters go cold. It’s possible Durant could miss the entire Western Conference Finals, so Golden State will rely on Curry to carry the team. Over in Portland, their two-headed monster came up huge against the Denver Nuggets. It was C.J. McCollum who enjoyed the spotlight in a game seven victory, with 37 points in addition to nine rebounds. Damian Lillard ranks third among remaining players, averaging 28.4 PPG during this run. Much like the Warriors, Portland cannot afford either McCollum or Lillard going cold at any point. This Trail Blazers has team has come a long way since they were swept by the Warriors in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs. But, the squad still has to earn the oddsmakers’ respect here. Golden State (-350) is a huge favorite to take game one over Portland (+270). Another storyline to watch for is the return of DeMarcus Cousins, which could occur during this series.
The absence of Durant has affected the odds more than anything else in the past few days. In that regard, many player performance figures have been inflated. Without Durant on the floor, there are more balls and points to go around for the rest of the team. Fans certainly witnessed that on Friday night. Golden State passed extremely well on offense, partly due to KD not being dressed. This is not a diss on Durant, but his playing style centers around stopping the ball and becoming the offensive focal point. This group resembled the 73-win team of the 2015-16 season in game six against the Rockets. Based off that game, the time we’ve seen this group without Durant in the postseason, FanDuel Sportsbook has posted point total odds for both Curry and Thompson. And, as expected, the totals are right in line with Friday night’s final numbers. Curry has an over/under of 31.5 points, while Thompson is also given a high figure at 25.5. Thompson has only topped that number three times in 12 playoff games, while doing it in each of the past two games. It makes sense that Thompson’s under would be favored here (-120). Meanwhile, oddsmakers might be expecting another big outing for Curry. Currently, his over and under is given the same likelihood (-110).