And then there were four. Golden State, Milwaukee, Toronto, and upstart Portland. Let’s take a closer look at the East and West NBA Conference best-of-seven series and my NBA playoff betting predictions.
NBA Conference Final Series Betting Analysis
2019 NBA Western Conference Finals: Portland Trail Blazers +380 vs Golden State Warriors -475
The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 100-96 in a thrilling Game 7 on Sunday. In doing so, the Trail Blazers came back from being down 17 at halftime. Not only that, but their best player, Damian Lillard, only scored 13 points. CJ McCollum picked Portland up, carried them on his back, and willed the Blazers to the victory.
Both McCollum and Lillard must be close to perfect in the Western Conference Finals. Even if Kevin Durant can’t play for Golden State in the first couple of games, the Warriors are formidable. They slapped Houston 118-113 in Game 6 with KD out due to a calf strain.
Steph Curry was sensational when dropping 33 onto James Harden and the Rockets. With Steph now shooting well again, Golden State is once again the best team in the NBA. The Splash Brothers, Kyle Thompson is the other brother in the duo, had 27.
Does Portland have any shot in this series? Probably not. If big man Jusuf Nurkic were healthy, they’d have an outside shot. It comes down to matchups. Whatever McCollum and Lillard do, Curry and Thompson can counter. The Trail Blazers have nobody who can match up with Draymond Green while Kevin Durant shouldn’t miss more than 1 or 2 games.
Golden State flipped the switch with the Game 6 win over Houston. They’ve got a shot to sweep Portland. Let’s give the Trail Blazers a game.
NBA Playoffs Western Conference Prediction: Golden State 4 games to 1
2019 NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Toronto Raptors +240 vs Milwaukee Bucks -300
Milwaukee had their way with the Boston Celtics. After losing Game 1, the Bucks won 4 in a row. They didn’t just lean on Giannis Antetokounmpo to do it, either. Sure, Giannis was great in all 4 wins, but the Bucks leaned on their defense in the 4-1 series victory.
Milwaukee held the Celtics to 102 points or less in 3 of the wins. Giannis was a big part of that. He wasn’t the only part of it. Overall, opponents average 109.3 points per. They only shoot 43.3% from the field against the Bucks.
For the Raptors to win this series, they must lean on their three-point shooting. Milwaukee ranks twenty-second in three-point percentage allowed. Opponents average 36.1% from behind the arc. The Raptors shoot 36.6% from three.
Kawhi Leonard is good enough to match Giannis on the scoreboard. The real key for a Toronto win depends on how Kyle Lowry and Danny Green shoot from deep. Toronto only beat Milwaukee in 1-of-4 regular season matchups.
The Bucks should win the series. The Raptors won’t make it easy on Milwaukee, though. The Eastern Conference Finals will go 7.
NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Prediction: Milwaukee 4 games to 3