Mears: Keep Betting the Warriors in the 3rd Quarter ATS While It Lasts

Mears: Keep Betting the Warriors in the 3rd Quarter ATS While It Lasts article feature image

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Andre Iguodala

The Warriors are now absolutely massive favorites to win the title, which means there isn’t a whole lot of betting value left in this series. If you have a strong opinion on Warriors -4.5 or the current total of 215.5, go for it. But I think the best value still left to bet is on quarter spreads. Yes, I’m going to continue to beat this into the ground.


Take a look at the Warriors’ net rating (points scored minus points allowed per 100 possessions) by quarter this season:

  • 1st quarter: +2.0
  • 2nd quarter: +8.0
  • 3rd quarter: +18.5
  • 4th quarter: +3.2

That trend has continued throughout the postseason…

  • 1st quarter: +2.4
  • 2nd quarter: +5.8
  • 3rd quarter: +30.6
  • 4th quarter: +3.0

… and even in these NBA Finals:

  • 1st quarter: +5.3
  • 2nd quarter: +7.9
  • 3rd quarter: +16.2
  • 4th quarter: +13.6

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In Game 1, the Warriors won the third quarter by six points, in Game 2 they lost by three, and in Game 3 they won by eight. Sportsbooks often don’t adjust the spreads based on quarter performance, or at least not enough. In Game 4, they’re currently -2.5 in the third quarter. If you’ve done nothing but bet the Warriors in that quarter this season, you’re likely a bit richer.

And that’s in stark contrast to the Warriors covering the full game. During the regular season, Golden State went just 34-48 (41.5%) against-the-spread, losing bettors $1,582 assuming $100 bets. During the postseason, the Warriors have been a bit better, going 11-9 ATS, but it’s still about break-even. Why bet the full-game spread when there’s a juicy third-quarter number waiting? Unfortunately, there might be only one more game to take advantage of this profitable trend this year.

More Coverage of Game 4