NBA Finals Betting Trends: Does History Favor the Warriors in Game 6?

NBA Finals Betting Trends: Does History Favor the Warriors in Game 6? article feature image

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30).

  • Do home teams down 3-2 in Game 6 typically force a Game 7? More importantly, do those teams usually cover?
  • Below I use the Bet Labs tools to answer and find betting value for tonight's Warriors vs. Raptors matchup (9:05 p.m. ET, ABC).

The Golden State Warriors are favored tonight in Game 6, which means, according the betting market, the most likely outcome is that we’ll have a Game 7 for all the marbles on Sunday.

It makes sense: The Warriors are at home, and in general if a series makes it to Game 6, there’s at least some indication that the series is close. And with the team that needs to win to extend the series at home, forcing a Game 7 happens more often than not, right?

Well, kind of. Favored teams in that spot have historically gone 31-28 straight up (SU) since 2004 (per Bet Labs), so while they’ve lost money to moneyline bettors, they’ve still forced Game 7s more often than not.

But all home teams in that spot have historically not forced Game 7s …

… and home favorites specifically, like the Warriors tonight, have gone just 25-26 SU.

But perhaps the more important question is how those teams have fared against the spread (ATS) in their attempt to force a Game 7. What does Bet Labs say?

As you can probably guess by the trend above, not great. In fact, teams up 3-2 in Game 6 and on the road, like the Raptors tonight, have historically gone 50-29 (63.3%) ATS, good for a 23.9% return on investment (ROI) and $1,886 total won on $100 per bet. Those teams have covered by a shocking 4.1 points per game on average.

To be fair, a lot of that value is on road favorites, who have gone 21-7 ATS, but dogs have still been profitable, going 29-22 historically for an 11.5% ROI.

If you think the home teams down should be extra motivated and thus might provide value in the first half, unfortunately that’s not true, either. Those teams have been just as bad of bets as against the first-half spread, going 30-44-4 (40.5%) historically.

And if you think they’re perhaps undervalued in the second half, when they’re really fighting for their seasons … nope, not true, either.

Even when those teams have been losing at halftime and need to step it up in the second half, they’ve still been bad bets, going 14-29-1 ATS historically.

Again, the easy narrative with this situation is that home teams down 3-2 should be good bets, as being in a Game 6 indicates a close series and being at home likely gives them another advantage to play well and force a Game 7.

I wrote in our Game 6 betting guide about how I don’t think this series is that close, and it seems our Bet Labs data confirms that this spot has historically been very unprofitable for bettors expecting a series finale.

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