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 Sportsbook 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
Date Away vs. Home Score  Total O or U?
June 2, 2016 Cavs vs. Warriors 89-104 210.5 U
June 13, 2016 Cavs vs. Warriors 112-97 209 P
June 5, 2016 Cavs vs. Warriors 77-110 209 U
June 16, 2016 Warriors vs. Cavs 101-115 207.5 O
June 10, 2016 Warriors vs. Cavs 108-97 206.5 U
June 8, 2016 Warriors vs. Cavs 90-120 206 O
June 4, 2009 Magic vs. Lakers 75-100 205.5 U
June 19, 2016 Cavs vs. Warriors 93-89 205 U
June 4, 2015 Cavs vs. Warriors 100-108 203.5 O
June 7, 2009 Magic vs. Lakers 96-101 202 U
June 11, 2009 Lakers vs. Magic 99-91 200.5 U
June 19, 2000 Pacers vs. Lakers 111-116 199 O
June 7, 2015 Cavs vs. Warriors 95-93 199 U
June 5, 2014 Heat vs. Spurs 95-110 198.5 O
June 8, 2014 Heat vs. Spurs 98-96 198.5 U

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