The Golden State Warriors have been lights out this season covering the spread in tough games against their current opponent last time out. We present you several angles to keep your eye out for to profit with the Warriors throughout the remainder of their Playoff run.
A warning to NBA bettors: use caution if fading the Golden State Warriors following a poor performance by Stephen Curry and company facing the same foe. Steve Kerr's men have performed above expectations much of the year, particularly in follow up games to tough matchups against formidable teams or in trying conditions like those found in the playoffs. In fact, much of the public shied away from the Warriors last night, despite their 17 point drubbing of Memphis in game four of the Western Conference Semifinals. Two factors potentially dissuaded bettors: one, after losing two straight games, many believed the Grizzlies physical play is a formula to stymie the high-flying efficiency of the Warriors offense. Secondly, both prior losses came after Curry hoisted the NBA's Most Valuable Player (MVP) trophy a little over a week ago today, which some deem a type of modern day curse. Since 1998 and the end of Michael Jordan's dominance, only three regular season award winners have led their team to an NBA championship: Shaquille O'Neal (2000), Tim Duncan (2003) and LeBron James (2012 & 2013). In fact, only two others even guided their squad into the Finals: Allen Iverson (2001) and Kobe Bryant (2008). I'm not buying into this awards hex just yet, and I will expect Golden State to rebound after a cold night of shooting regardless of their opponent. Below are a couple of angles to watch out for to potentially profit off the playoff favorites through the rest of their championship run.
The Warriors have been dynamite all season in betting conditions similar to what they are facing in the playoffs, particularly against the spread (ATS) wagering. The epitome of the modern NBA team, Golden State is efficient, fast paced, and anything but one dimensional. In large part due to their pace and execution, they averaged a -8 ATS betting line for the season, one of the lowest figures for any team in recent years. Curry and crew covered in 59% of these contests. What's intriguing is how well they performed against teams the next time out who closed the line greater than the -8 ATS average in their prior matchup.*
Including this year's playoffs, whether Golden State tipped off as underdogs (which only occurred nine or ten times all season depending on the book) or favorites above their season average in their prior matchup, they have come back to beat the spread in 65% of their contests (33-17-1), and settled at 18-8 (69%) if the current contest surpasses the -8 average line as well. Although they dropped lower than -8 against the Pelicans and Grizzlies at home, in the remaining series against Memphis, and either the Rockets or Clippers up next if they advance, we'll likely see ATS NBA odds no greater than the Warriors regular season average. For the purposes of this write-up, we'll call this the “eight-n'-eight condition.” If Golden State closes as favorites at any line after coming off a -8 or greater game in their last matchup then their ATS record is 32-13-1 (71%).
Curry is obviously the foundation to the Warriors' offense, and as a sports bettor we hope to predict when he has a big game, as we can find some correlation to his performance and beating the spread in our follow-up scenario. In the 26 eight-n'-eight contests of where both the previous and current game settled above a -8 betting line, Curry has posted some big numbers in his most effective statistical categories. In the 18 ATS victories,he averaged 28.6 points, 2.12 steals, and 4.12 three pointers made, as opposed to his regular season line of 23.8/2.0/3.6 in those categories respectively. In the eight ATS losses, he averaged 18.8 points, 2 steals, and 2.25 three pointers. So the real question is: how can we anticipate a big game within these conditions from the league MVP?
There are two trends we can look for while placing our NBA picks. One, when Curry had a off-shooting night, for whatever reason, in his last matchup against his current opponent, expect the sharpshooter to get back on track. We can guess that Kerr and his masterful staff work overtime to get the MVP corrected and adjust to the opponent's defense. In the 2014-2015 season, when Curry shot below 42.5% from the field in his last game against his current opponent, the Warriors are 21-7 ATS (75%) with an average line of -7.2. In contests where the current line is greater than -8 ATS, they were 15-3 to the good, and 10-1 in our eight-n'-eight scenario.
Secondly, we can target the reigning three-point champion's success from tré city. If Curry made two three's or more in the prior matchup closing at -8 ATS or greater, then the Warriors are 28-10-1 (74%) to cover the betting line in 2014-2015. In our eight-n'-eight scenario the record is 14-5 (74%) with an average betting line of -3.2. In fact, we want to see Curry shooting poorly from behind the arc, meaning he is finding plenty of looks in prior contests. In the 39 game regular season sample, if Curry shot below 50% from three point land, then the ATS record is 23-4-1 (85%), and 12-1 (92%) in the eight-n'-eight scenario. If an opposing team didn't have the personnel or game plan to slow Curry down from attempting three's, and only limited success from stopping the shot, then expect a big night backing the Warriors.
As always, use this information to support your leans. Best of luck!
*Some of prior matchups stretch back to the 2013-2014 season. If the prior meeting occurred in the 2014 season only, than the record is 19-11 (63%) and 10-4 (71%) if the wagered contest's line closed at -8 or greater.