What Does the Kevin Durant injury mean for the rest of the series?
The Golden State Warriors entered Game 5 of the NBA Finals with the hope that Kevin Durant could save the franchise from a pending defeat and lead them to their third straight NBA Championship.
That looked good for about 12 minutes as Durant scored 11 points in that span, leading the Warriors to 34 in the first quarter – tied for the most they’ve had in any quarter in the series.
And then doom and gloom set in as the Kevin Durant injury occurred. He and his Achilles and was lost for the rest of the game and series. As deflating as that was to see, what impact will this have on the rest of the NBA Finals and the betting lines? NJBetting takes a closer look:
Warriors Face Uphill Climb Without Durant
The truth of the matter is that the Warriors have been outplayed in this series without Durant. On a simple scale, one can see that their two wins were by razor-thin margins while the Raptors three wins are averaging double-digits.
The challenge for the Warriors is they don’t really have much depth on the roster. They’re forced to rely on guys like Quinn Cook, Jonas Jerbebko and Jordan Bell off the bench and those players have been wildly inconsistent.
The Warriors are also getting eaten up inside where Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam have been too much for DeMarcus Cousins, Kevon Looney and Andrew Bogut to handle.
The Raptors have dictated the pace of the games, keeping them low-scoring – how they would prefer – as the Warriors have scored no more than 109 points in any game.
The Warriors needed to change the momentum and change the style, and Durant did exactly that…until he got hurt.
Sportsbooks Cash Durant MVP Bets
The NJ online sportsbooks were taking tons of money on the Warriors going into Game 5, which included the Warriors to win the game, the Warriors to win the series and Durant to win Finals MVP.
“We’ve taken an abundance of money & bets on KD to win the MVP at 25-1 & 22-1. We now have the odds at 14-1,” said Johnny Avello, head of the DraftKings Sportsbook.
Durant clearly looked like an MVP in the 12 minutes he played and it looked like a lot of people could have cashed that bet had he stayed healthy and the Warriors came back. Instead, the sportsbooks will no longer have to worry about that liability now that he’s again injured.
Warriors Banged Up, Fatigued
Speaking of injuries, what’s challenging the Warriors more so than anything else is their health. Cousins is back but he’s clearly not 100%.
Kevon Looney played in Game 5 and had to leave, and now his status is uncertain. Even Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson look like their gutting it out.
If the Warriors were at full strength, they’d probably win this series. The issue is that they’re not. Beyond that, this team has played a lot of basketball over the last five seasons, getting to the Finals each time.
That means they’ve played – at the very least – an extra full season than all of the other teams in the league over that span. It’s catching up with them.
Betting Lines Impacted Significantly Following Durant Loss
It’s not exactly a surprise but Durant’s injury has had a huge impact on the betting lines across the board. There was plenty of action on the Warriors prior to Game 5 as the Raptors opened -3 but closed as a one-point underdog.
Now the Warriors are a modest three-point favorite at home for Game 6. For contrast, the Warriors were a five-point favorite at home in Game 4. With a healthy Durant, the Warriors would be favored by at least six.
As far as the series goes, the Raptors are now a -320 favorite to win, according to DraftKings, compared to +290 for the Warriors.
More than anything, the feeling in the air is that the Raptors will eventually take care of business – be it in Game 6 of Game 7 – unless the Warriors can find a way to change the momentum again. Unfortunately, they don’t look like they have any saviors to call upon.
Check out this NJ sports betting map to find where you can place your best bet.