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History Tells Us to Fade the Public in the NBA Finals. Here’s What That Means for Celtics vs. Warriors Game 2

History Tells Us to Fade the Public in the NBA Finals. Here’s What That Means for Celtics vs. Warriors Game 2 article feature image

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Finals.

Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors saw an historic amount of bets come in on one side — and as usual — the public was wrong.

The Warriors opened as 3.5-point favorites and saw so much action (72% of bets) they moved to -4 before tip off. It was the largest public backing on a Game 1 of the NBA Finals since 2005, when our historical NBA data starts.

The books cleaned up as the Celtics took Game 1 in stunning fashion with a fourth-quarter comeback for the ages.

The public is now 8-10 against the spread on Finals Game 1s and a miserable 39-55-1 ATS on all Finals games since 2005, according to data compiled from Bet Labs

It’s even more profitable to fade the public when they really like one side. Finals teams are 7-15 when receiving 60% or more of bets — so betting the opposite side has about 68% success rate.

For reference, last July sportsbooks in Nevada kept about 8% of every dollar wagered on basketball games, almost twice as much what they kept from hockey, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board.

Celtics vs. Warriors Game 2 Odds

Celtics Odds+4
Warriors Odds-4
DateSunday, June 5
Time8 p.m. ET

*Odds as of Friday morning

How does the public do in Game 2’s? About the same as Game 1’s.

Teams with more than 50% of bets are 7-9 in Game 2s and so far the action coming in on Sunday’s matchup shows the public isn’t deterred by its poor track record.

The Warriors are -4 favorites going into Game 2, once again the public’s backing them heavy — with over 77% of bets and a whopping 88% of total money, according to the Action Network’s public betting data.

Despite the public’s belief in the Warriors they’re no longer the betting favorites to win the series.

After their Game 1 loss Thursday night, their championship odds to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy flipped from -165 to +140 on BetMGM. The Celtics, after opening up as +145 underdogs, are now -165 to win it all.

— Evan Abrams contributed to this story.

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