NBA Betting Trends: Why Are the Clippers Favored in the First Half, But Underdogs In the Game?

NBA Betting Trends: Why Are the Clippers Favored in the First Half, But Underdogs In the Game? article feature image
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Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Beverley #21, Paul George #13, and Terance Mann #14 of the LA Clippers.

Coming off a wildly entertaining final play in Game 2, the Los Angeles Clippers head back to Staples Center to defend their homecourt in the Western Conference finals.

The Clippers enter Game 3 of this series against the Phoenix Suns in a rare spot. The Clippers are favorites in the first half at most books (between -1 and -1.5) but their odds are flipped for the game.

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According to our Bet Labs database, this is just the second time since 2005 that a home team was down 0-2 in a series, favored in the first half, but a dog for the full game. The other instance also came in this postseason: Game 3 of Bucks vs. Heat in Round 1.

If you’re wondering why the Clippers would be favored to win the first half but not the game, our own Raheem Palmer discussed the theory behind betting home teams down 0-2 in the first half. In short, teams heading home down 0-2 have much more perceived motivation to play well early on and avoid falling into an 0-3 hole, and the trend backs that up.

In the past 15 seasons, home teams down 0-2 are 80-36-1 (39%) against the spread in the first half. For the the game, though, those teams are 55-60-3 (47.8%) ATS.

In Game 1, the Clippers were favored in the first half, but trailed by three at halftime. In Game 2, they were dogs in the first half and ended up covering the spread in both the first half and the full game.

A bit contrary to others in the market for Game 3, FanDuel has the Clippers as short underdogs (+0.5) in the first half.

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