Locky: Should You Keep Riding the Home Team ATS?
Pictured: Kyle Korver and Marcus Morris. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing more clearly illustrates the absurdity of the spreads in the Eastern Conference Finals than the fact that both teams play demonstrably better at home, both squads’ role players play MUCH worse on the road, the Cavaliers are “correctly” getting a lot of credit in this game and on Wednesday night the Celtics at home were … pick’em. Incredible. It’s fine: This has been happening for only about a month straight, and yet people have so much trouble seeing it for what it is.
What that means for Game 6 is much less exciting and much less profitable. Maybe you could argue the number (Cavs -7) is a little short considering how much Cleveland’s role players blasted Boston in Games 3 and 4, but I think the number is correct. If it went up too much more I would argue taking a position on Boston with the idea that LeBron was extremely fatigued last game and there are no more true rest days in the series. Much like in the Western Conference Finals, this is now quite a grind for a series that was quite a grind anyway with how stingy the Celtics are defensively. There’s not a lot of time for LeBron to recuperate, no matter how many hyperbaric chambers he has in his house.
So I’m passing here. But what I am FAR more interested in is this: When the Cavs win Game 6 (which will happen a very high percentage of the time), what will the market be in Game 7, and how little credit will the Celtics once again receive? Take a man on the street and tell him it’s Game 7 and LeBron is playing, and it’s a no-brainer. People will intuitively have a really hard time taking Boston in that game because it doesn’t mesh with our universal beliefs about basketball and the Celtics’ chances of defeating LeBron in a winner-take-all situation. All of that is basically a bunch of nonsense, though, and on the court, the Celtics should be a small favorite. Will that actually happen? Probably not.