The Warriors Are a Terrible Bet in the Regular Season, but Bet on Them in the Playoffs

The Warriors Are a Terrible Bet in the Regular Season, but Bet on Them in the Playoffs article feature image
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Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry

  • The Golden State Warriors have been one of the worst bets during the regular season of late, but does that translate to the playoffs?

The Golden State Warriors are clearly a historically good team. And that has made them one of the most publicly bet teams in sports.

According to Bet Labs, the Dubs have gotten 70% or more of bets against-the-spread (ATS) — in other words, in a single game 70% or more of the spread bets tracked were placed on the Warriors — a whopping 38 times. The team with the second-most instances this season is the Celtics with 22.

I really hope that our subscribers aren’t part of that 70%-plus of bettors, because they have not been profitable. The Warriors are 35-46-1 ATS this season, which means that a bettor placing $100 on them every game would be down $1,290. The only teams worse this year have been the Knicks and Lakers — other public teams.

The reason the Warriors are so historically great at winning but so bad at covering the spread is pretty simple: Sportsbooks shade the number toward Golden State because they know bettors are going to bet them anyway. You’re almost never getting a fair number, and thus you’re starting every bet with negative expected value.

Alright, so we know that the Warriors have been terrible bets during the regular season lately. But what about the playoffs? Do sportsbooks still shade the line? And do they do it enough for when the Warriors start caring?

Warriors’ ATS Return on Investment in Regular Season vs. Playoffs

Per our Bet Labs tool, the Warriors — terrible bets in the regular season — have been awesome ones in the postseason. Two years ago, the Dubs were actually the most profitable team ATS in the playoffs, going 11-6 for a 25.6% ROI. Last season they went 12-9 for a 12.3% ROI.

The best place to bet them has been on the road, where they’ve gone 13-5 ATS over the last two years, good for a 40.9% ROI. They’ve gone an average 10-10 at home during that span.

Of course, this is a small sample, but it does highlight that the Warriors do indeed “flip the switch” in the playoffs — and bookmakers have not properly adjusted for that. Don’t bet the Dubs — or any public teams — during the regular season, but they might be a solid bet on the road this postseason.

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