After a wild back-and-forth Game 7 between the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets, the Western Conference Finals are officially set. The Golden State Warriors knocked off the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of one conference semifinals matchup and were awaiting the winner of Sunday’s game.
As for the Blazers vs. Nuggets series, Portland rallied back after falling into a 12-point hole at the end of the first quarter. Behind 37 points and nine rebounds from CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard’s near-triple-double which featured 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and Enes Kanter’s 12 points, 13 rebounds, the Blazers stole Game 7.
With the Western Conference Finals matchup now set, we’re going to breakdown the series outlook while offering a preview, prediction and pick on who’ll advance to the NBA Finals. We’ll also take a look at Game 1 and offer a prediction on the betting line and odds of the opener.
Western Conference Finals: Blazers vs. Warriors Betting Odds & Line
Western Conference Series Odds: Warriors -500, Blazers +375 (via The Action Network)
Blazers vs. Warriors Game 1 Betting Line: Warriors -7.5 (courtesy of Odds Shark)
It’s not surprising that the Warriors will be favored both in the opener and to win the series as well. Regardless, this series will be tough for Steve Kerr’s squad, as they’ll be without center DeMarcus Cousins along with Kevin Durant for at least the first few games.
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The status of Durant could be a big factor, especially if he winds up missing four or five games due to the strained calf he suffered in Game 5 against the Rockets. He’s set to be re-evaluated roughly around Thursday, May 16, which is expected to when Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals is played. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news of Durant’s timeline to be re-evaluated.
With that said, the duo of Lillard and McCollum, paired with multiple other players stepping up, including Kanter, could cause major problems for the Warriors in the upcoming series. At the very least, there’s a strong chance we could be looking at a matchup that goes to seven games.
Blazers vs. Warriors Prediction & Pick
The Blazers and Warriors had an interesting regular-season series, as they split the four games, with both teams winning once at home and once on the road. Golden State rolled past Portland in the first meeting back in November, winning 125-97 at home. They fell in the next meeting on their home floor in December by one point in overtime but bounced back with a 10-point win two days later on the road.
One key factor in this series could be the Warriors’ strong road record, as they posted a 27-14 mark away from Oracle this season, setting them up to be in a good spot to advance. With that said, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are playing at an unbelievable level currently, and have fueled the Blazers through the first two rounds of the playoffs.
As good as Portland has been during their series wins over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Nuggets, the Warriors’ win over Houston without both Cousins and Durant was eye-opening. I’m not sure if the Blazers have the firepower to win this series, but I think it goes to seven games regardless.
Prediction & Pick: Warriors advance past Blazers in seven games