There’s a belief in some gambling circles that bettors should simply wager on the team they believe will win the game outright with moneyline betting rather than picking a spread when looking at the NBA odds that are available.
If you believe the Warriors will beat the Cavaliers, it shouldn’t matter whether they’re 4-point favorites or 14-point favorites. And if you believe the Raptors will upset the Bucks as 6-point underdogs, the additional points are just an added bonus.
And through the first few games of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, a remarkable run has occurred where all winners of the 16 games played so far have also covered their end of the spread.
Favorites Dominating So Far in 2019 NBA Playoffs
It makes sense that the home teams – and thus the favorites – have dominated during the first two games of the respective eight series. They’re the better teams record-wise and are playing at home. Of the 16 games, home teams have won 12 and covered in all of those thanks to an average margin of victory of 19 points.
Home teams have either overwhelmed their opponents – the Bucks and Rockets have won their four combined games by at least 20 points – or responded well from Game 1 losses – the Raptors (29-point win), Nuggets (9) and Sixers (22) all covered.
The Celtics and Blazers are in the two closest matchups from a series odds perspective, and yet the Celtics have covered both times with 10- and nine-point wins thanks to Kyrie Irving’s heroics, while the Blazers earned hard-fought wins (and covers) in five- and 20-point victories thanks to Damian Lillard playing like the best point guard in the series.
SAME KYRIE pic.twitter.com/3stUSE02WI— Boston Celtics (@celtics) April 18, 2019
Road Favorites Mean Business
Home teams may be getting by, but road teams really bring it when they do show up. Of course, all road teams that win will also cover – there hasn’t been a road favorite yet – but in their four straight-up victories they’ve won by 5, 4, 9 and 3 points.
The Nets, Magic and Spurs all stole Game 1s away from their building, while the Clippers mounted an historic 31-point comeback in Golden State against the Warriors to grab Game 2 as 13.5-point underdogs.
Expect The Trend To Shift
All eight playoff series now move back to the underdog’s home court, meaning we will see a handful of road favorites. In fact, the Warriors, Bucks, Raptors and Sixers are all favored on the road in Game 3. Expect these games to be far more closely contested than the 15.5-point margin of victory we saw in Games 1 and 2.
For now, it’s an interesting trend to consider when making wagers, especially when the series do shift back to Game 5s on the favorites’ home floors.