Before the NBA Finals began, bettors and sportsbooks were expecting to see a lot of points as the lookahead totals for Games 1-7 were all listed at 225.5. Although Game 1 did fall Under the closing total with GS winning 113-91, we’ve seen three straight games sail Over the closing total. In Game 4, the Cavs set playoff records for points in a quarter (49) and half (86) while keeping their season alive. Now that we’re heading back to Golden State for Game 5 with the Warriors up 3-1, we’re already seeing more playoff records shattered.
The market needed to adjust after points were being scored at will, and Pinnacle opened the Game 5 total at 230.5. CRIS even opened the total at 231 and some squarer books opened 231.5. Right now Pinnacle sits at 231, which is not only the highest NBA Finals total we’ve ever tracked, but the highest total we’ve tracked for ANY playoff game (via Bet Labs data). Despite the huge O/U, we’re still seeing a majority of tickets taking the Over.
The most intriguing part of this record-high playoff total is the fact that the lookahead line actually dipped all the way down to 220.5 following Game 1’s Under. We usually see bettors overreact to recent trends, but in this case we also saw the market overreact to a single game. After Game 2 the lookahead total was already back up, and after Game 4 the market really had to adjust after Cleveland’s onslaught. The line graph below shows how the Game 5 lookahead total has fluctuated since opening before the series (via 5Dimes):
Right now 62% of tickets is on the Over, which is actually the highest % we’ve seen so far in this series. Here’s a quick look at the closing totals and Over % for the first 4 games of the series:
Game 1: 225 (54% on Over), Went Under
Game 2: 222 (61% on Over), Went Over
Game 3: 226.5 (54% on Over), Went Over
Game 4: 226.5 (57% on Over), Went Over
Game 5: 231 (62% on Over), ???
The previous highest playoff totals that we tracked were 230 back in 2008 between the Nuggets and Lakers, and both games fell under the closing total.
Has the market responded appropriately, or is Game 5 still destined to go over the total? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments in the space below.
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