In a surprising prediction, FiveThirtyEight has ranked the Golden State Warrior’s chances of winning the NBA Finals as lower than the Toronto Raptors. Currently, their CARMELO forecast gives the Warriors a 41 percent chance to win it all, while giving the Raptors a 47 percent chance.
This is a shocking prediction for a few reasons. One, the Warriors have already locked up a Finals spot. The Raptors still have to get past the Milwaukee Bucks. While they do lead the series 3-2, the Bucks are still a fierce opponent that could plausibly win two games to knock the Raptors out.
Secondly, the Warriors will be well rested and ready to go after sweeping their series against the Portland Trailblazers. If the Raptors lose Game 6, they will have to play yet another Game 7.
The one thing that could hurt the Warriors is health. Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins are both questionable to play the first game of the Finals. The Raptors have every one of their core players playing, even though Kawhi Leonard did not look to be at a hundred percent in Game 5.
Regardless, it’s odd to see the defending champs not be favored after being so dominant for so long. The Warriors are not used to being underdogs, and they never play like one. Whichever Eastern Conference team ends up playing them will be in for a tough and competitive series, even if Durant and Cousins do not play.