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How Should You Play The Highest Totals Ever For An NBA Finals?

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors are looking at the highest OVER/UNDER ever in an NBA Finals when they tip off for Game 1 on June 1. 

The opening total of 226 isn’t just the highest number we’ve ever seen in a championship series – it’s the highest by 15.5 points. 

Crazy. 

Last year’s seven-game series between these two basket machines laid claim to the six highest totals in NBA history, including Game 1, which was the previous high of 210.5.  (The OVER went 2-4-1 in those games.)
 
So why is it so high this year? 

Golden State is scoring 8.5 more points per game these playoffs compared to last year and Cleveland is scoring 5.6 more points per game. That’s 14.1 more points right there and throw in another point and a half of media hype for good measure. 

These high totals have resulted in a lot of UNDERs in the past. The OVER/UNDER in the 15 highest Finals totals we have in our database going back to 1995-96 is 5-9-1 (64.2 percent). It’s not a huge sample size but the 15 highest playoff totals we have also went 4-11 on the O/U (75%). 

We also know from last year’s coverage the NBA Finals have a tendency to go UNDER. The O/U in Finals back to 1995-96 is 47-67-6 (58.8%). That’s a profitable number and it’s one reason why I’m often thinking UNDER bets first when the NBA Finals tip off. 

Here’s a look at the 15 highest totals we have on record for the NBA Finals going back to 1996:

15 Highest Totals in NBA Finals since 1996
DateAway vs. HomeScore TotalO or U?
June 2, 2016Cavs vs. Warriors89-104210.5U
June 13, 2016Cavs vs. Warriors112-97209P
June 5, 2016Cavs vs. Warriors77-110209U
June 16, 2016Warriors vs. Cavs101-115207.5O
June 10, 2016Warriors vs. Cavs108-97206.5U
June 8, 2016Warriors vs. Cavs90-120206O
June 4, 2009Magic vs. Lakers75-100205.5U
June 19, 2016Cavs vs. Warriors93-89205U
June 4, 2015Cavs vs. Warriors100-108203.5O
June 7, 2009Magic vs. Lakers96-101202U
June 11, 2009Lakers vs. Magic99-91200.5U
June 19, 2000Pacers vs. Lakers111-116199O
June 7, 2015Cavs vs. Warriors95-93199U
June 5, 2014Heat vs. Spurs95-110198.5O
June 8, 2014Heat vs. Spurs98-96198.5U

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