2015 NBA Finals: Game Five Preview

The Warriors entered this year’s NBA Finals as a -240 favorite to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That line moved to -400 following their Game 1 victory and -800 after it was announced that Kyrie Irving would miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. However, that line dropped to -210 when Cleveland tied the series 1-1 and -120 after the Cavs jumped out to a 2-1 series lead.

After a historically good regular season, the Warriors faced the possibility of falling behind 3-1 and becoming an underdog for the first time in months. Golden State opened -2.5 and, despite relatively even public betting, saw tons of late action before closing at -4.5. This late sharp money appeared to be prophetic as the Warriors utilized a small-ball lineup en route to a 21-point victory. With the series tied at two games apiece, Golden State has moved back to -340 to win the series.

For Sunday’s Game 5 matchup, the Warriors opened -8.5 at CRIS and -9 at Pinnacle and are currently receiving just 40% of spread bets. Despite the majority of the public on the Cavs, the line has remained at -8.5 although some squarer sportsbooks are offering Warriors -8.

The line graph below displays how the line movement and betting trends have changed since opening at Pinnacle late Thursday night.

Game 5 nba finals

While this lack of line movement does not provide any sharp money indicators, there are a couple of profitable betting systems which indicate that the Warriors are being undervalued.

Roughly six weeks ago we published an article which explained how there was tremendous value betting against low-scoring underdogs during the postseason. The system, which has posted a 146-93 ATS record (+46.76 units won), indicates that bettors should be fading the Cavs and taking the home favorite in this matchup.

Additionally, we have found that large contrarian favorites have been similarly undervalued:

It’s also interesting to note that we do have a sharp money indicator on the total in this game. CRIS opened the over/under for this game at 195 and, at the time of publication, just 40% of bettors were taking the over. Despite this lopsided public betting on the under, the total has increased from 195 to 195.5. This reverse line movement indicates that there may be value on the over in Game 5.

We knew it was extremely uncommon to see a majority of public bets taking the under, but even we were surprised to find exactly how rare of an occurrence it was:

Thus far the under has gone 3-1 during the NBA Finals and if Game 1 had not gone into overtime, that record would be 4-0. Bettors seem to be overreacting to recent events, which can be a classic mistake by novice sports bettors. Considering that the Game 1 total opened at 204, both teams are coming off an extra day of rest, and the Warriors opening up their offense, the Game 5 over looks like a great bet.

Finally, while Steph Curry and LeBron James have garnered most of the attention during the series, Andre Iguodala has emerged as an NBA Finals MVP candidate. Heading into the series he was listed at 125:1 but now has the third-best odds at +450.

Bettors can track all the latest line moves, public betting trends, breaking injuries and more by visiting our free NBA odds page.

 

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

2 Comments Permalink
2 comments on “2015 NBA Finals: Game Five Preview
  1. I read your article on 2015 NBA finals betting trends and the information provided is contradicted by your “best bet” for the night. The article recommends fading the cavs and taking Golden state ATS. Your “best bet” however was Cavs +9 points. You can see i’m sure that this is confusing for someone considering buying your picks.

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