Perhaps only Kevin Durant and his calf know how much he’ll be able to help the Warriors when he returns for Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night. But sports betters were convinced he’ll make a big difference.
The Warriors went from underdogs to favorites within hours Monday afternoon, as Durant went from questionable to play in Game 5 to likely.
The Action Network, a sports betting site, had the Warriors as two-point Game 5 underdogs coming into the day, before Durant was officially cleared. Several hours later, they were one-point favorites.
The Warriors had likely moved up to one-point favorites on the FanDuel by Monday afternoon.
Durant’s chances of being named NBA Finals MVP, though he had yet to play a minute of the series, took an even bigger boost Monday, from 25-1 odds on FanDuel to 11-1.
ESPN.com reported that twice as much money was being spent on the Warriors on Monday than on the Raptors at MGM’s sportsbooks.
“The money on the Warriors started coming in on Sunday morning,” Jeff Stoneback, director of risk for MGM race and sports, told ESPN.com. “It really hasn’t stopped. It’s one of those times when the public and the sharp guys are on the same side.”
On Caesars Sportsbook, the Warriors and Raptors were about a pick ’em to win Game 5 with half-an hour to go before the game.
Despite the large betting swing for Game 5, FanDuel still has the Raptors as solid favorites to win the Finals.
Greg Keraghosian is an SFGATE homepage editor. Email: [email protected]