Mears: How Do NBA Home Teams Perform in Game 5 After Back-to-Back Losses?

Mears: How Do NBA Home Teams Perform in Game 5 After Back-to-Back Losses? article feature image
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Photo credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Khris Middleton

  • Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Raptors and Bucks will be Thursday, May 23 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
  • The Bucks have dropped two straight but return home. How have those teams performed historically against-the-spread (ATS)?

There are multiple ways to look at Game 5 back in Milwaukee if you want to bet the Bucks.

  • Glass Half Empty: The Bucks are reeling after two straight losses; they had just one total loss in the first two rounds combined.
  • Glass Half Full: The Bucks are still one of the best teams in NBA history at bouncing back after a loss, even if they failed to do it in Game 4.
  • Glass Half Empty: The Raptors didn’t necessarily have an outlier performance in Game 4. They were the better team in almost every facet of the game.
  • Glass Half Full: The Bucks were the second-best team at home this year at 33-8, and they’ll now get their non-star players back on track.

I could go on, but the point is that we can interpret how this series stands in a variety of ways. But instead of musing on narratives and storylines, let’s use The Action Network’s suite of tools to dive into some actual data.

According to our Bet Labs database, home favorites in the Bucks’ spot (lost Games 3 and 4) have gone 24-17-1 (58.5%) against the spread since 2004.

Of note, a good chunk of those historical teams were tied 2-2 in Game 5. Those teams went a more mediocre 17-14 ATS, whereas teams down 3-1 at home in Game 5 have gone 7-3-1 ATS since 2004. Still profitable, but much less so.

You might be thinking that the market has already adjusted to this, as the Bucks are currently -7 for Game 5. Bet Labs shows, however, that Game 5 home favorites of seven or more points have covered the spread at a 57.1% rate historically:

Additionally, in a small sample of just nine instances since 2015 (when we started tracking spread bet percentages), big home favorites getting at least 5% more money than bets have gone 9-3 ATS. All home teams in Game 5s getting 5% more money than bets in that time period have gone 13-5.

And finally, I thought there might be an edge in the first half in this spot, but that doesn’t seem to be the case actually. All home favorites in Game 5 have gone 83-89-3 (48.3%) against the first-half spread, losing bettors $1,313 on $100 per bet. Teams who lost Games 3 and 4, like the Bucks, have gone a mediocre 22-20 in the first half.

That said … those teams have gone 15-2 straight up (88.2%) in the first half, good for a 29.5% ROI.

It’s a very small sample size, but it’s interesting that the moneyline has been profitable whereas spread bets have not been. The books are certainly adjusting correctly on the latter.

The Bucks are currently -7 for Game 5 and getting 12% more money than bets as of Wednesday afternoon. That matches them for the sharp money trend above, but make sure to download our app to track those percentages in real time. They’re currently -235 on the first-half moneyline.