Can Bettors Trust the Warriors in Closeout Games?
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30)
- The Warriors are 3.5-point road favorites against the Blazers in tonight's Game 4 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN) of the Western Conference Finals.
- Using Bet Labs, we analyze how Golden State has performed straight up and against the spread in closeout games.
The Golden State Warriors will attempt to sweep the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals (9 p.m. ET, ESPN). A win sends the Warriors back to the NBA Finals for the fifth year in a row.
Portland has its back against the wall as no team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit in the NBA Playoffs.
The oddsmakers aren’t confident that the Blazers can extend the series. Golden State opened as a 3-point road favorite in Game 4 despite being without Kevin Durant and potentially Andre Iguodala (calf).
More than 60% of spread tickets are on Steve Kerr’s squad as the team takes its first shot at a series-clinching win. Can bettors trust the Warriors in closeout games?
To find out, we pulled the results in each potential series-winning game during the Kerr era to see how the Warriors performed straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS).
Here’s what we found using the Bet Labs database:
In 24 closeout games, the Warriors have gone 17-7 SU, yet only 13-11 ATS. Not exactly the results the public was hoping for; however, there is a strong home/road split.
With a chance to eliminate an opponent, Stephen Curry and Co. have gone 7-3 SU and 3-7 ATS in Oracle Arena. On the road, the team has a similar straight-up win percentage but covers at a much higher rate, having gone 10-4 ATS.
One explanation for the difference in cover rate is that oddsmakers are less likely to inflate the line for the Warriors when they are on the road. In the 10 home games, Golden State was favored on average by 9.7 points, but were favorites of only 4.9 points in away games.
Not only have the Warriors exceeded expectations on the road in elimination games, they also have history is on their side up 3-0. Since 2005, teams trying to sweep have gone 41-21 SU and 34-25-3 ATS in Game 4. Under Kerr, Golden State is 5-3 SU and ATS in this situation.
It would be unwise to place a wager based exclusively on these results given the sample size of our data. But there was a steam move, an indication of sharp action, on the Warriors which moved the line from Golden State -3 to -3.5.
With the pros are on the Warriors, look for this team to continue to cover in closeout games on the road.