NBA Betting Tip: Home Teams Provide First-Half Value in Game 3s

NBA Betting Tip: Home Teams Provide First-Half Value in Game 3s article feature image

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2).

  • NBA teams coming home for Game 3 in a playoff series have historically not been profitable bets for the full-game spread.
  • However, in specific spots, those teams have provided immense value in the first half of those games.

In NBA series, locations swap after the first two games. Does the new home team — the lower-seeded team in the series — have an edge in these games due to returning home? Not really:

In fact, it seems the public is really overrating this idea lately, as it's been quite unprofitable to bet those teams against the spread (ATS) in recent years:

Since 2008, blindly betting those home teams in Game 3 would have resulted in a net $1,511 loss on $100 per bet. Not great.

That said, it has been profitable over time to bet those teams on the first-half spread: They've gone 129-85-7 (60.3%) ATS, good for a 12.2% Return on Investment.

If those teams have lost each of the first two games, they are even more valuable:

Those teams have hit at a 67.2% rate historically, good for a 28.4% ROI! It's been consistently profitable over time, too. In fact, they've gone a ridiculous 27-6 ATS since 2015.

But let's not stop there.

A lot of these teams are actually getting plus-money odds on the first-half moneyline, meaning it has been very profitable to bet them in that regard in Game 3s:

If those teams are down 0-2 in the series, they're 41-14, good for a stupid 37.1% ROI. They've won the first half by an average of 3.98 points. First-half dogs in this situation have gone 19-9 for a 45.5% ROI!

Sheesh, that's some value. Of course, there's a big question of whether bookmakers are really adjusting for this currently. For example, the Blazers in Game 3 are -2.5 for both the full game and first-half spread. It's certainly possible this trend starts to turn around this season with bookmakers aggressively adjusting.

And to try to be fully transparent, I posted this on Twitter a couple weeks ago when I first ran this article:

For full transparency on this piece, I compiled last couple years of teams down 0-2 and their spreads in 1H vs. full game. Have crushed, but you can determine yourself whether bookmakers are adjusting even more this year.

— Bryan Mears (@bryan_mears) April 19, 2019

The Blazers currently match for Game 3 on Saturday, and the Raptors could on Sunday if they lose Game 2 to the Bucks tonight.

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