What’s Responsible for Cavs-Warriors Game 1 Line Movement?


Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Pictured: Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and forward LeBron James

The Highlights

  • The opening line for Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals tied the highest finals spread ever.
  • Bettors are split on the right side of this game, with spread tickets basically 50/50.
  • While tickets are balanced, 64% of actual dollars wagered have taken Golden State, forcing oddsmakers to move the line to Warriors -13.

Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals is set to tip off at 9 p.m. ET and not only are the Golden State Warriors overwhelming favorites to win the championship, but they’re also the largest single-game favorite in NBA Finals history.

Golden State opened -12, tying Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals in which the Los Angeles Lakers closed as 12-point favorites against the Philadelphia 76ers for the largest NBA Finals point spread.


Getting double-digit points with a well-rested King James is certainly enticing, but the betting market clearly believes that laying 12 points with the Warriors still isn’t enough.

After odds for Game 1 opened Tuesday morning, bettors jumped on Golden State as the majority of early tickets took the massive home favorite. However, over the last 24 hours the spread ticket count has balanced out with Cleveland now garnering 51% of the action.

If betting action is basically even, why has the line moved up to Warriors -13?

According to our proprietary money percentage data, 64% of actual dollars wagered on Game 1 of the NBA Finals are backing Golden State. With real money backing the Dubs, oddsmakers have reacted by moving the line to -13 in an attempt to offset risk by encouraging more Cavs action with the better underdog price.

In fact, the line is currently at -13 (-117), meaning Warriors bettors have to pay a vig of -117 to lay the 13 points. This also suggests the next move will likely be to Golden State -13.5 should current betting patterns continue.

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