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The Golden State Warriors‘ quest to reach the NBA finals for the third consecutive year begins Sunday night in Oracle Arena, as they host the Portland Trail Blazers for Game 1 of their first-round series.
Getting Kevin Durant back healthy just in time for the postseason, the Dubs unsurprisingly open the seven-game set as big-time favorites.
Here’s everything you need to know about the betting information:
Warriors vs. Blazers Game 1
Spread: Warriors (-14.5), per OddsShark.com
Moneyline: Warriors (-2000), Blazers (+950)
Warriors Record Against the Spread: 40-38-4
Blazers Record Against the Spread: 40-42
Preview & Prediction
Golden State has owned Portland over the last year. After making relatively easy work of the Blazers in five games during last year’s conference semis, the Dubs proceeded to take all four of this year’s regular-season games by an average margin of 19.5 points. In the two games at Oracle, Golden State won by 45 and by eight.
A key to reversing that trend will be the health of Jusuf Nurkic. After aquiring The Bosnian Beast in February, the Blazers went 14-6 with an offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) of 110.6 and a defensive rating of 105.4. For comparison, they finished at 107.8 and 107.8, respectively, for the season.
The big man was pivotal in Portland surpassing the Denver Nuggets–his old team–for the No. 8 spot in the West, but he’s questionable for this one as he continues to recover from a non-displaced right leg fracture he suffered at the end of March.
“Completely different team with him in there,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green. “So it changes everything. Obviously if he plays I’m sure I’ll be on him some. I foresee the game probably being a smaller game if he doesn’t play, whereas if he plays it turns into a bigger game. It changes everything whether he’s in or out.”
If Nurkic plays and is close to 100 percent, Portland has a good shot of at least covering the huge spread. But it’s difficult to bet on that with such a significant unknown variable.
Ultimately, the Warriors are just too good and too deep. Damian Lillard is capable of taking a game over by himself–Golden State knows that as well as anyone–but until we know for sure what kind of impact Nurkic will make, the Dubs are the pick.
Prediction: Warriors 120, Blazers 105
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is a sports contributor for Heavy. He has previously worked for Rivals, StatSheet and Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @t_keen
April 16, 2017 7:00 am