The 2018-2019 NBA season is nearing an end as the NBA Finals begin on Thursday, 5/30. The defending champion Golden State Warriors will go for a threepeat as they face off against a brand new face, the Toronto Raptors.
The Warriors had a competitive series against the Clippers, but ended the series in 6 games. In the next round they had no issue finishing off the Rockets in another 6 games without Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. They had questionable moments in the Western Finals against Portland, but ultimately finished with a clean 4-0 sweep and have had plenty of rest as they awaited the Eastern Conference champion.
The Raptors didn’t have an easy road by any means although the first round ended in just 5 games. The second round took them 7 whole games to finish off Philadelphia, and barely ended with a buzzer-beater from Kawhi Leonard. The Eastern Finals could’ve been a much different story, but ended with Toronto winning the last 4 games to close the series out in 6.
Although the Warriors are certainly favorites to win the series against the first-time Finals-goers in the Toronto Raptors, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a good chance to win some bets. What might help with that is Kevin Durant missing Game 1, while DeMarcus Cousins is listed as questionable.
During the regular season the Raptors finished with a 58-24 record, while Golden State finished with a 57-25 record. This gives Toronto home court, which actually gives them a narrow edge in betting odds when also considering the Warriors’ lineup. Two days before Game 1, the Raptors are listed as a slim +1.0 point favorites, but that might change closer to tipoff.
Sportsbooks all across the country had the luxury of using official NBA league data for providing odds and stats so they could offer proposition bets (bets offered after a game begins). This will end once the NBA Finals actually begin. This means that the only sportsbooks that can access official league data to offer proposition bets are those that have an agreement with the league authorizing them as an operator.
This actually restricts the number of sportsbooks that can use this data to just three. These include FanDuel, MGM Resorts International, and The Stars Group. While this restriction may seem like preferential treatment, these three sportsbooks do pay a fine for this right.
If you’re concerned how this affects your ability to place a wager on the NBA Finals, it probably won’t unless you actively make proposition bets. Most bettors do tend to use traditional betting options that are based on the outcome or point spread. Sports betting analysts have the opinion that proposition bets will help the industry expand.
While it might be seem a little frustrating that the NBA would limit offerings to official league data, it is another great sign of how invested the league is in sports betting. Many states are likely to legalize sometime within the next 5 years, and the NBA is right ahead of that trend. This limitation does show that official league data is very important and relevant for sports betting because of how big the industry is.