Game 6 Trends: LeBron Typically Covers in Elimination Games

Game 6 Trends: LeBron Typically Covers in Elimination Games article feature image

Pictured: LeBron James. Photo credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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-Celtics Game 6.

Facing elimination, LeBron James’ teams have historically gone 12-9 SU and 13-8 ATS. As favorites in an elimination game, they’ve gone an even better 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS. In elimination games during the conference finals and NBA Finals, his teams have gone 10-6 SU and 11-5 ATS.

Since 2005 in the conference finals and NBA Finals, teams coming off a double-digit loss that are favored at home in their next game have gone 23-10 (70%) ATS, covering on average by 7.0 points.


Cleveland opened as a seven-point favorite. In LeBron’s playoff career, when his teams have been favored by more than six points, they have gone 49-31-2 (61%) ATS.

Since 2005, 115 teams have played a Game 6 at home in the playoffs. Only four of those, however, opened as favorites of seven points or more, and only two trailed 3-2 in the series:

2017 Rockets
The Rockets trailed 3-2 in Western Conference semifinals heading home against the Spurs. They lost 114-75 and closed as 8.5-point favorites.

2013 Heat
The Heat trailed 3-2 in the NBA Finals heading home to South Beach in Game 6 to face the Spurs. They won by three points and failed to cover the closing 6.5-point spread.

In the past 20 seasons, only four teams have closed with a spread of seven or higher at home down 3-2 in Game 6 of a playoff series:

  • 2017: The same Rockets team listed above
  • 2009: The Celtics were up 3-2 heading to Orlando in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Magic closed -7, won by eight and beat the Celtics in seven games.
  • 2008: The Hornets were up 3-2 heading to San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals. The Spurs closed -7, won by 19 and beat the Hornets in seven games.
  • 2005: The Heat were up 3-2 heading to Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons closed -7, won by 25 and Miami actually lost the series in seven games.

Since the 2005 playoffs, teams playing at home in Game 6 seem to be glaringly overvalued when it comes to the point spread. Home teams in Game 6 have gone just 45-69-1 ATS (39.5%) and have not finished a single-season playoff campaign above .500 since the 2010 playoffs. As a point of reference, those home teams in Game 6 have gone 53-62 straight-up (46.1%), losing bettors about the same amount of profit as ATS.

James in that situation has gone 4-1 SU and ATS with the Cavaliers and 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS with the Heat for a combined 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS record. Since 2005, non-LeBron James-led teams have gone 47-60 SU (43.9%) and 40-66-1 ATS (37.7%) at home in Game 6 of the playoffs.

Over the Celtics’ past three playoff games, they have shot a combined 38.9% from the field, with their highest percentage coming in Game 4 at 41.2%. Since 2005, teams to shoot 41% or lower from the field in three consecutive games have gone just 17-30 ATS in the playoffs, losing bettors 13.8 units in that span. Those teams have failed to cover 10 of their past 11 games in the spot.

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