Moore: If You Want to Bet the Warriors, Here’s How to Do It
Photo credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Draymond Green
- Game 1 of Warriors vs. Rockets will kick off Sunday, April 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
- Matt Moore dives deep into this series to answer a simple question: If you want to bet the Warriors, what are the best spots to target?
- From team totals to full-game and quarter spreads to player props, Matt runs through the betting market to find value on Warriors bets.
Golden State got past the Clippers in longer than it should have taken, and the main event is here. Here are my thoughts on the Warriors, if you want to bet them in this series, including trends to know, how to bet team totals, player props to keep your eye on and more.
Team Total Overs
One smart way to look at this is to pair it with our expectations for the outcome. In the three wins prior to Game 7 last year (and Game 7s are always slogs; both teams have figured each other out by then, and the combined total unders are 25-19 in Game 7s since 2005), the Warriors averaged 120 points per game and over 115 in each game.
So, if you’re of the belief the Warriors will win a game, you should expect a big number from them. This makes deductive sense as well. The Rockets want the games slow, low and painful; the Warriors want the games up and down. If the Warriors play to capacity and the Rockets slip defensively, Golden State’s going to post big numbers.
Games to Target Against-the-Spread (ATS)
The Warriors have less than a 48-hour turnaround between Game 6 vs. the Clippers and Game 1. Home teams coming off only two days between their last series and Game 1 of the second round are 5-11-1 ATS.
The best games to target are reaction games from the Warriors. Golden State is 6-3 ATS after a loss in the KD era vs. 6-7 ATS after a win. If Houston catches the Warriors in Game 1 or Game 2, expect a reaction in the following contest.
My expectations based on how these teams tend to perform is a Rockets win in Game 1, a Warriors beatdown in Game 2, a Rockets win in Game 3, a reaction from Golden State in Game 4 and then at that point I’d want to reassess the series.
Games to Target the Total
The under was 6-1 in last year’s series. I think that’s the way to go early on, especially in Game 1. The Warriors are on that 48-hour turnaround with Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry both questionable.
After that, I’d wait out Game 2 to see how the series has progressed. I will say that both of these teams know what the other wants to do and how to defend it.
The Warriors will have one game in this series like Game 2 last year where they put up a huge number. The concern with the over in those games is whether Houston keeps up or not: We haven’t seen a barnburner between these two teams in the playoffs yet.
Watch Draymond Green’s Defensive Effectiveness
Draymond Green is a pressure point for the Warriors defensively. He’s their best defensive player and anchors much of what they do. If Houston is able to hurt him effectively, it tilts the series in a big way.
If the Warriors go to their smallball unit (“Hamptons 5”) and Clint Capela can create buckets on Green, that lifts Houston’s profile considerably.
On the other end, Green averaged just three 3-point attempts per game vs. the Clippers, hitting just 3-of-18 from deep. This has been a looming issue, and you can bet the Rockets will commit fully to it. They’re going to make Green beat them, but he can by driving for the lob. That’s why Capela matters so much.
Notable Trends on Warriors Player Props
Curry went over his points prop in four of the seven games in last year’s series and over his assists prop in five of them. His point totals were at 26.5 last year; the assists were stable at 5.5.
Durant went over his points prop in just three of the seven games, with that number steady at 29.5. Durant’s assists hit the under in five, and Thompson’s assists hit the under in all but one game.
We can piece this together with X’s and O’s, and it makes sense. Curry and Durant led the charge, and with the switching defense Curry became the main distributor. Both Draymond and Thompson had lower assist numbers in that series on account of that switching motion.
Based off how Durant finished the Clippers series — not only scoring 50 in the closeout but over 30 in each of the last four games — there’s a chance that his over-points plays have value. The Rockets will live with Durant going ISO and clobbering them, as long as Curry and Thompson don’t get going.
Durant averaged 3.5 ISO possessions per game vs. the Clippers, a pretty high number for any Warriors player overall. And vs. the Rockets last year? Durant averaged 10 isolations per game. That’s just a huge number of opportunities for points. Unless Houston comes out of the gate with a wildly different strategy from the switch, expect more of the same.
This is not the series for: Andrew Bogut, Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston
This is the series for: Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney
Warriors Quarter and Half Bets
The Rockets have gone 8-6 ATS in the first half vs. the Warriors in the last two years, including the playoffs and regular season. They went 4-3 in last year’s series.
Golden State has always prided itself on being a great third quarter team. The Warriors won 11 of 14 third quarters vs. Houston in the regular season and playoffs last season and this season, so you’ll want to target those third quarter spreads. Conversely, Houston has won 10 of 14 first quarters vs. the Warriors, including five of the seven last year. It takes some time to get used to those switches.
How to Bet the Warriors’ Series Odds
I’m in on Rockets in 6 (+550 odds), with Houston stealing Games 1 and 5 in Oracle and closing it out where they should have last year in Game 6 back in the Toyota Center.
But for the Warriors, there’s great value in a gentleman’s sweep of five games at +300. The scenario: They find a way to win Game 1, hold serve at home, get the split with Houston in a close one — the kind Houston won last year — and then close it out at Oracle in Game 5.
You’re also getting +450 for Warriors in 6 for a team that has won all three games on the road so far in the playoffs and won two games in Houston last year. If you are feeling that #ArrogantSZN magic, you can go for Golden State to sweep at +1000 and lord it over everyone who thought Houston had a chance.