Posted on June 7, 2019, by Travis Pulver

When the 2018-19 NBA season began, the Golden State Warriors were in a very familiar position. After winning the last two championships and adding DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason, they were the clear favorite to win the Finals yet again.

They remained the favorite throughout the entire regular season and postseason—until the conclusion of Game Three Wednesday night.

Via @warriors

After winning Game Two, the money line was still strongly in favor of the Warriors (-270 to win compared to +250 for the Raptors). But after losing to the Raptors in Game Three, 123-109, the line has shifted.

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According to BetOnline.ag, the money line now favors the Raptors to win (-126) over the Warriors (+106). That translates to a 55.75 percent chance the Raptors win compared to a 48.54 chance the Warriors win.

Historically, when a team goes up 2-1, that team winning Game Three has gone on to win almost 75 percent of the time. The team leading at that point whether they won Game Three or not has gone to win closer to 80 percent of the time.

A lesser team may be worried about history now favoring them to lose, but not the Golden State Warriors. Draymond Green was asked if he was nervous leaving the locker room after Game Three (ESPN):

“Nervous? C’mon, this is what we do. It’s what we’ve always done.”  

It is not hard to understand why. Despite the injuries, they have been forced to work around and losing Game Three at home, and Toronto now being favored to win the Series, the Warriors are still favored to win Game Four Friday night (-190; -4.5 points).

But can they win Game Four?

With Klay Thompson expected to play, it is much easier to imagine the Warriors winning the game. Even with Steph Curry’s brilliance was on display in Game Three, the need to have more than one person contributing on the offensive end of the court was apparent.

Of course, that point was really driven home by the historic night the Raptors had from the floor. In Game Three, the Raptors shot 52.4 percent from the floor, 44.7 percent from the three-point line, and 95.2 percent from the free throw line (third team in Finals history to go 50+/40+/90+).

Despite Toronto’s red-hot night from the floor and only having Steph Curry contributing on the offensive side of the court, Golden State got within seven points early in the fourth. But had Klay Thompson been playing, he may have been enough to turn the tide.

If Kevin Durant was active, then the odds would probably be heavily in favor of the Warriors in Game Four, but he is out yet again and there is no word on whether he will be active in Game Five yet.

However, should the Warriors win Game Four, the odds will likely shift back in their favor with the series essentially becoming a best of three. But should they lose and fall to 3-1 in the series, they will have less than a five percent chance of winning.

At that point, it would almost seem pointless for Durant to return in Game Five. But if he wanted a chance to put his excellence on display, staging an epic comeback from a 3-1 deficit would do it.

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