Game 1 Trends: Betting On Underdog LeBron Has Historically Been Profitable

Credit:

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LeBron James

The Action Network analysts John Ewing and Evan Abrams comb the Bet Labs database each day to bring you profitable trends for the slate. Here are notable historical trends for Cavs-Warriors Game 1.

Cleveland is +700 on the moneyline in Game 1. This will be the 60th playoff game since 2005 to feature a team as an underdog of +700 or greater. Of the previous 59 teams, only five (8.5%) won outright. That matches the win rate from the regular season of big underdogs (103-1172, 8.1%).


In games that LeBron has played, his teams have been underdogs of +700 or greater only once. That single instance was in Game 5 of the second round of the 2006 playoffs against the Detroit Pistons. LeBron was +900. The Cavs won outright.


When LeBron has been an underdog of more than three points in the playoffs, his teams have gone 17-26 straight-up and 25-18 ATS.


LeBron has been a double-digit dog in the playoffs four times. His teams have gone 1-3 straight-up and 3-1 against-the-spread.


Cleveland has moved from +12 to +12.5 in Game 1. In LeBron’s playoff career, when the line has gotten better (bigger underdog or smaller favorite), his teams have gone 52-37 (58%) ATS.


The Warriors have been an under machine recently. Golden State has gone under the total in its last five games overall, in nine of its last 10 games and in its last four home games. So far in the 2018 playoffs, the under is 11-5-1 in Golden State’s 17 games, going under the total by 9.4 PPG.


Since 2014-15, the Warriors have gone 11-4 against the first-half spread in Game 1s, including 3-0 in the 2018 playoffs. Last year they covered the first-half spread of Game 1 against the Cavs. Since the 2015 playoffs, Warriors have gone 9-2 against the first-half spread in Game 1s, covering the spread by 3.9 PPG.


Did you know? Over the Warriors’ last five games against the Rockets, Golden State allowed Houston to shoot just 39.2% from the field. In both the regular season and playoffs since 2005, only seven teams have played a game coming off at least a five-game streak such as Golden State’s, and none has done it since the Pacers in 2015. To do that in the regular season is one thing, but to do it in the last five games of the Western Conference Finals is just absurd.


Here is how Golden State has done when favored by double digits in the playoffs under Steve Kerr:

  • 18-1 straight-up (only loss vs. Grizzlies in 2015)
  • 7-12 against-the-spread
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