The Warriors Letdown Effect: How NBA Teams Struggle ATS After Playing Golden State

The Warriors Letdown Effect: How NBA Teams Struggle ATS After Playing Golden State article feature image
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Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Warriors' effect on teams is so strong that their opponents struggle to cover after facing Golden State.
  • Since 2014-15, NBA teams are 198-244-6 (44.8%) against the spread the game after facing Steve Kerr's crew.

Let’s take a quick trip back to the 2013-14 season.

Still under Mark Jackson, the Warriors won 51 games and made their second consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since the 1991-92 season. And while things didn’t go as planned for the Warriors — who were bounced in the first round by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and the Clippers in seven games — it was safe to say things were looking up at Oracle.

The only question was: Who would be around to reap the benefits?

Three days after the Warriors’ playoff loss to the Clippers, Jackson was fired and replaced by Steve Kerr.

Here’s how team owner Joe Lacob explained the coaching change:

There’s a different CEO that may be required to achieve success at different stages of an organization’s development … When you’re a startup company it’s one thing, when you’re a small-growth company it’s one thing and when you’re a mature company that’s trying to reach a billion in sales — or in this case win an NBA championship — perhaps that’s a different person. And we just felt overall we needed a different person.

With virtually the same roster as the season prior, the Warriors won 67 games under Kerr in 2014-15, including their first championship since 1975. Since Kerr came on board, the Warriors have been the NBA’s biggest conundrum, with the rest of the league trying to figure out how keep up with “The Golden Era.”

To demonstrate just how much of a burden it’s been to face this Warriors team, I dug through some data and pinpointed the following seven categories:

Not only do the Warriors score, but they score quick and efficiently — especially from 3-point range, where they’ve hoisted the second-most attempts in the NBA since Kerr took over with the league’s best percentage.

Using our data at Bet Labs, I was able to look at how teams perform the game after facing the Warriors since Kerr began to implement his system back in 2014-15.

Unsurprisingly, the results show a clear letdown effect for teams after playing the juggernaut Warriors:

Some highlights:

  • Since 2014-15, Golden State opponents are 198-244-6 (44.8%) against the spread (including playoffs) in their next game.
  • In those 448 games, bettors are losing $5,515 when wagering $100 per game on the Warriors’ previous opponent. That’s a -12.3% return on investment, making the Warriors the least profitable previous opponent in the NBA by more than $2,000.
  • The weaker an opponent is in terms of record, the worse they perform after facing the Warriors. Teams worse than .500 are 80-113-3 (41.5%) ATS the game after facing the champs.
  • Teams have struggled mightily after playing the Warriors at Oracle, going 95-127-5 (42.8%) ATS since 2014-15. The next two teams are the Nets and Kings at 47.6% ATS.

The Warriors Letdown Effect is glaring its ugly head like never before. Opponents are an astounding 18-37 (32.7%) ATS the game after playing Golden State, failing to cover the spread by 3.6 points per game. The past seven teams to face the Warriors have failed to cover their next game.

The Warriors’ first post-break game was a 125-123 win over the Kings on Thursday night. Sacramento’s next game? Saturday night in Oklahoma City.

If you’re looking for more ways to profit off this angle over the second half of the season, look for a halftime opportunity when a team plays on the road after facing the Warriors.

  • Teams are 98-144-4 (40.5%) against the second-half spread when playing on the road after facing the Warriors in their previous game since 2014-15.
  • Teams are 9-22 (29%) against the second-half spread on the road after facing the Warriors this season.

It’s safe to say that as long as the Warriors are dominating while playing a different brand of basketball than the rest of the NBA, bettors should be weary of wagering anywhere around them. Their aura and style affect more than just their current opponent.