Will the Golden State Warriors Make History Tonight?

On the final day of the regular season, the defending champion Golden State Warriors (72-9) are just one win away from surpassing the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls for the best season in league history. Based on the early odds and line movement, it seems safe to assume that the Warriors will make history this evening.

Yesterday afternoon, the Warriors opened as 17-point favorites against the Memphis Grizzlies at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook. In early action, the public has hammered the underdog which is quite curious given the tendency for bettors to overwhelmingly take the favorite. At the time of publication, 77% of spread bets were taking Memphis at our seven contributing sportsbooks.

Despite this one-sided public betting, the Warriors have moved from -17 to -18.5 across the sports betting marketplace. This 1.5-point reverse line move is an excellent indicator that sharp money is taking Golden State. It’s also interesting to see that the Warriors are receiving a majority of total dollars wagered, which further implies value on the home team.

The line graph below, which is available to Sportsbook Insider subscribers, displays how public betting has affected the spread since opening at CRIS.

GS Line Graph

You can see from the screenshot that there have been two reverse line movement alerts triggered on this game, but you may not know the moves were triggered by two of the sharpest offshore sportsbooks:

  1. Golden State -17.5 (CRIS)
  2. Golden State -18 (Pinnacle)

It’s also interesting to see that, since the start of the 2005 season, there have only been twelve teams to close as favorites of 18.5-points or more. In those games, the favorite has gone 12-0 straight up. The table below displays how large favorites have fared straight up.

Favorite Record Win Rate
10+ 2,025-242 89.3%
12+ 1,010-77 92.9%
14+ 418-17 96.1%
16+ 113-3 97.4%
17+ 49-1 98.0%
18+ 19-0 100%

You can see that favorites of at least 18-points have been undefeated in our database, but favorites of at least 17-points have gone 49-1. That’s particularly fascinating because just over a month ago, Golden State (-17.5) lost in shocking fashion to the Los Angeles Lakers. For what it’s worth, the Warriors were -6000 on the moneyline in that game.

Throughout the season, we have tracked the Warriors odds of winning at least 73 games. TopBet was the first major offshore sportsbook to post this prop after the Warriors won their first nine games of the season, listing their odds at +300. This came in stark contrast to the odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, which listed the odds at +500.

As Golden State continued to win, their odds continued to soar. On January 8th with the Warriors boasting a 33-2 record, their odds reached -115 which marked the first time all season they weren’t listed at plus money. The odds after defeating the Utah Jazz on March 30th and improving to 68-7 on the season. The odds plummeted after losing to the Celtics in their subsequent game.

Oddsmakers have taken this prop off the board following their victory over the Spurs last Thursday, but tonight the Warriors are listed as -10,000 moneyline favorites at CRIS. We should note that several sportsbooks won’t even offer moneylines for such large favorites.

For bettors who are already looking towards the postseason, we should note that Golden State is -245 to win the Western Conference and -170 to win the NBA Championship at CRIS. Prior to the start of the season, the Warriors were +260 to win the Western Conference and +475 to win the NBA Championship. The Cavaliers were the preseason favorite at +240.

In conclusion, it seems like a foregone conclusion that the Golden State Warriors will defeat the Memphis Grizzlies tonight to set the record for most regular season wins in league history. There also appears to be value on the Warriors if you’re still able to find -17.5 or -18. This is an excellent example of “Pros vs. Joes” with squares taking Memphis and sharps taking Golden State.

We consistently stress that bettors should be betting against the public, but that’s particularly true for contrarian favorites. Using our Bet Labs software, we found the favorites of at least 4.5-points have gone 278-199 ATS (58.3%) when they receive less than 40% of spread bets.

It will be interesting to see how early Golden State will pull their starters if they’re able to build a huge lead early, but there are several reasons to fade Memphis. Stars Mike Conley (Achilles) and Marc Gasol (Foot) are out for the season as are several role players including Brandan Wright (Knee), Mario Chalmers (Achilles) and Jordan Adams (Knee). Guard Tony Allen (Hamstring) is also listed as doubtful.

Considering the magnitude of this game and the Grizzlies short bench, this game could be over by halftime. It’s tough to advocate backing such a massive favorite, but Golden State appears to be offering value this evening.

These numbers are subject to change before tip-off, so bettors should be sure to visit our free NBA odds page for the latest lines, injuries, public betting trends and more. We also would like to stress that the only picks we fully endorse are our Best Bets, which are available exclusively to Pro members.

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.

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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.

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