Shouldn’t we be done with this series by now? Once again in Game 5, the Golden State Warriors’ lack of focus on their home court resulted in an upset loss and cut their lead over the Los Angeles Clippers down to 3-2. Game 6 will be back at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Friday night. It’s insane that we’re even having to talk about this but Game 7 if necessary will be back at Oracle Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Game 5 was one of the easier NBA pointspread wins you’ll ever get as the Clippers won outright by 8 as +15 road underdogs. Game 6 could be just as easy. The Warriors have been installed as -10 road favorites due as much to the urgency of their plight than any qualitative advantage they’ve had over the Clippers in this series. The pricing of this series provides a good lesson in ‘line inflation’ on teams beloved by the betting ‘public’. Golden State might be the biggest ‘public’ team in the NBA at the moment–not surprising given their run of recent success. There’s a perception that they’re simply the best team in the NBA. When they play with focus and energy they most definitely are. That’s something that you can never count on, however, and why the Clippers are still in this series.
The first meeting between Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers this season was on November 12, 2018. The Warriors were a -4 point road favorite but the Clippers won outright 121-116. Golden State was 11-2 on November 12 while the Clippers were 7-5. Golden State would once again visit the Staples Center on January 18. At this point the Warriors were 31-14 while the Clippers were 24-20. Similar winning percentages as the first meeting but this time Golden State was installed as a -7.5 road chalk. The Warriors took care of business this time winning 112-94 but covered that spread by only 1/2 point.
Golden State’s next road game against the Clippers was Game 3 of the current series. There was a perception that the Warriors would come out swinging after blowing a 31 point lead at home in Game 2 and that’s exactly what happened. Golden State won 132-105 easily covering as a -9 point road favorite. The Warriors won but didn’t cover Game 4 as a -9.5 road favorite. Now they’re -10 point road favorites for Game 6. The Clippers finished the regular season with a .585 winning percentage and have already upset the Warriors twice in this series. Despite this, the price on the Warriors has jumped by 6 points over the course of the past four games against the Clippers at the Staples Center.
The Clippers are now the third most profitable team in the NBA based on units won. Their +6.2 units is topped only by Dallas’ +8.6 units and Milwaukee’s +15.8 units. The Warriors are now the second worst betting proposition in the NBA losing -16.9 units for their financial backers. The only team that has lost more money this season? The pitiful New York Knicks but not by much–the Knicks dropped -18.7 units this season. Golden State has admittedly been better as a pointspread proposition on the road than at home. They’ve won 7 of the last 8 against the Clippers in Los Angeles going 6-2 against the spread. Overall, their ATS record on the road isn’t very good either. They’re 20-23 ATS away from home this year (46.5% or -5.3 units) and 70-71 ATS over the last three years (49.6% or -8.1 units).
Golden State has the talent to win this game with ease should they bring the right mindset into Game 6. They might show up looking to make a statement like they did in Game 3 but the line value is clearly on the Los Angeles Clippers. You might want to wait to pull the trigger as this price might go higher before game time.