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The Betting Impact of Stephen Curry’s Return

The Betting Impact of Stephen Curry’s Return article feature image


The Highlights

  • The Warriors are 11-point favorites in Game 2 against the Pelicans with Stephen Curry returning, 3.5 points above their Game 2 spread (favored by 7.5).
  • Golden State is failing to cover the spread by 3.4 more points per game with Curry sitting out vs. when he’s in the lineup.
  • Curry has been worth nearly five points to the spread this season.

Stephen Curry returns to the floor tonight after a 16-game absence, and with Curry’s return comes high expectations and even higher point spreads. The Warriors are 11-point home favorites over the Pelicans in Game 2 tonight, which is 3.5 points higher than Golden State’s 7.5-point spread in Game 1. Bettors haven’t blinked with more than 65% of the spread tickets on the Warriors (compared to just 42% in Game 1).

Here’s what you need to know about the Warriors’ performance for bettors with and without Steph Curry.

Covering Isn’t Easy

Golden State has played 37 total games without Curry this season and whether his fellow All-Stars are in the lineup or on the bench, his presence is felt largely in the differentials rather than in the simple win-loss numbers. (SU Diff is the average margin of victory/loss; ATS Diff is the average points they’ve covered/not covered the spread.)

One of the biggest indicators of Curry’s value is Golden State’s average spread with him in and out of the lineup. In the 51 games he has played this season, the Warriors have been favored by an average of 10.3 points per game, compared to just 5.5 PPG in the 37 games he hasn’t played.

It’s Not How You Start, But How You Finish

Under Steve Kerr, the Warriors have played six games, including the playoffs, where Curry returned from a minimum two-game absence. In his first game back, the Warriors are 3-3 against the first-half spread, including 0-2 in the playoffs.

The Warriors are 6-0 straight-up in this spot and just 3-3 against the spread due to their inflated lines.


Golden State has faced the Pelicans in five playoff games under Kerr, the Warriors have won all five by 10.8 PPG, but are just 2-3 against the spread, failing to cover the only two games they were listed as a double-digit favorite.

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