Why You Should Be Betting Cavs-Warriors Game 1 Quarter Lines

The Golden State Warriors are clearly a better team. I know it, you know it and the betting market knows it: The Dubs are currently -1050 to win the series and sit at -13 for Game 1. Well, maybe not everyone knows it

The big question as a bettor in this series is how to wager on the better team and still find value. If your current gambling bankroll is $100, you won’t even profit $10 from betting the Warriors to win the title at this point.


Likewise, it’s hard to bet on the highest spread ever for an NBA Finals game. So where do you go? My friends, you bet on quarter spreads.

While the difference between the Warriors and Cavs’ Net Ratings is large overall — Golden State is at +8.0 per 100 possessions and the Cavs are at +1.0/100 — take a look at how the teams have performed by quarter.

That … seems significant.

If you want the raw numbers, per Mike Zavagno, the Warriors are +501 in the third quarter this year; the Cavs are +5. In the playoffs, the Dubs are +130; the Cavs are -1. Also, this is a bonkers stat from fellow Action Network Editor Malik Smith: Including the postseason, Golden State has more third quarters in which they outscored their opponents by double digits (35) than third quarters in which they have been outscored (32). Yeah, the Warriors have an edge in those 12 minutes based on history, so the question becomes this: Have sportsbooks adjusted to this information?

First, let’s figure out what the spread should be based on the difference between the teams in each quarter. Using the Net-Rating differentials from above, here’s what I have as projected spreads (using the total -13 game number that seems to be consensus right now and rounding to the nearest 0.5):

  • 1Q: Pick ’em
  • 2Q: Warriors -4
  • 3Q: Warriors -9
  • 4Q: Cavs -0.5

What do the books have as their spreads for tonight’s Game 1?

  • 1Q: Warriors -4
  • 2Q: Warriors -3
  • 3Q: Warriors -4.5
  • 4Q: Cavs -2

In the immortal words of Cosmo Kramer …

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