2016 NBA Finals Betting Preview

2016 NBA Finals Betting Preview

In a highly anticipated rematch of last season’s NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors will face off against the Cleveland Warriors with the Larry O’Brien Trophy on the line. The Cavaliers cruised through the Eastern Conference, suffering just two losses in the first three rounds. On the flip side, the Warriors overcame a 3-1 deficit against the Thunder to reach the Finals.

LeBron James will be playing in his sixth straight Finals, but oddsmakers aren’t overly optimistic about the King’s prospects. At the time of publication, the Cavs were listed at +215 to win Game 1 and +180 to win the series. Still, it will be interesting to see how Cleveland performs with a fully healthy roster. Last season both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were both unavailable due to injuries, but their presence should make this a competitive series.

We have already seen several discrepancies between this year’s series, specifically involving the total. The market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook opened the Game 1 over/under at 210, which represents the highest NBA Finals total in our database. It also comes in stark contrast to the rapidly waning totals during the 2015 NBA Finals.

In terms of spread betting, it’s interesting to see that the spread remains unchanged yet public perception has shifted dramatically. In Game 1 of the 2015 NBA Finals, the Warriors received just 44% of spread bets as a 6-point favorite. Although Golden State is also listed as a 6-point favorite for Thursday’s game, they’re receiving 60% of early spread bets.

Exact Series Odds

Most fans are expecting this to be an extremely competitive series, and clearly oddsmakers share that sentiment. Earlier this morning BetOnline released exact series odds for both teams and the series in general. Based on these odds the most likely outcomes are (in order): Golden State in 7, Golden State in 5 and Cleveland in 6.


NBA Finals MVP

Not surprisingly, Stephen Curry is listed as the favorite to win the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Last season Andre Iguodala was a 125/1 long shot to win the NBA Finals MVP.

The table below displays the current Finals MVP odds at BetOnline.

Player (Team)BetOnline (5/31)
Stephen Curry (GS)-125
LeBron James (CLE)+225
Klay Thompson (GS)+475
Draymond Green (GS)+850
Kyrie Irving (CLE)+1000
Kevin Love (CLE)+2000
Andre Iguodala (GS)+3300
J.R. Smith (CLE)+5000
Harrison Barnes (GS)+5500
Andrew Bogut (GS)+8000
Tristan Thompson (CLE)+10000

NBA Finals Betting Trends (Since 2005)

Throughout the playoffs, we have examined some of the top postseason betting trends. Our contrarian strategy focused on betting against the public, fading trendy underdogs, and buying low after a blowout loss. We found that many of these trends persist during the NBA Finals, as you can see from the list of trends below:


  • Favorites: 33-30 ATS
  • Home Teams: 34-29 ATS
  • Home Favorites: 29-25 ATS
  • Receiving less than 50% of spread bets: 35-25 ATS
  • Receiving less than 40% of spread bets: 9-4 ATS
  • Receiving less than 35% of spread bets: 5-2 ATS
  • Favorites receiving less than 50% of spread bets: 23-15 ATS
  • Favorites receiving less than 40% of spread bets: 7-3 ATS
  • Favorites receiving less than 35% of spread bets: 4-1 ATS
  • Home team after win: 25-18 ATS
  • Team after 20+ point loss: 6-2 ATS


  • Under: 34-28
  • Under, total at least 180: 29-22
  • Under, total at least 190: 18-15
  • Under, total at least 200: 3-1
  • Under, less than 50% of O/U bets: 30-24
  • Under, total drops at least 1/2 point: 22-13
  • Over, less than 50% of O/U bets: 3-2
  • Over, total less than 175: 5-1

2016 NBA Playoff Betting Trends


  • Home Teams: 49-30 ATS
  • Favorites: 47-32 ATS
  • Home Favorites: 36-19 ATS
  • Teams receiving no more than 40% of spread bets: 22-16 ATS
  • Favorites receiving no more than 40% of spread bets: 3-0 ATS
  • Favorites of 8 or more: 21-6 ATS
  • Teams with 4+ days between games: 13-10 ATS
  • Home teams with 4+ days between games: 10-3 ATS
  • Team lost 2+ consecutive games: 18-10 ATS


  • Under: 47-31
  • Under, total at least 190: 43-27
  • Under, total at least 200: 23-11
  • Under, total increases at least 1-point: 21-9
  • Under, less than 50% of O/U bets: 44-24
  • Under, less than 40% of O/U bets: 30-17
  • Under, more than 50% of the money: 10-5

We will be publishing a full Game 1 preview and analysis on Thursday. In the meantime, make sure to visit our free NBA odds page for up to the moment lines, betting trends, injuries and more.

Have any questions for the staff at Sports Insights? Utilize our live chat to speak with a customer service representative or e-mail us at help@sportsinsights.com.

David Solar

David was the Content Manager at Sports Insights. He has since moved on to greener pastures.

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