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Three Eye-Opening Numbers To Help You Bet The 2018 NBA Finals

There is no denying LeBron’s superstar play in the NBA Finals. He leads all players in points per game, rebounds, assists, steals and a couple of other categories over the last three Finals against the Golden State Warriors. 

Betting on LeBron is a different story, however. In fact, you’d be down about $650 if you bet $100 on LeBron’s team in every Finals game in which he’s appeared. That’s a 17-22-1 record against the spread overall. 

Not good. 

There are a couple of simple reasons for this and the first is that the public loves to bet LeBron and the Finals attract a ton of public betting action. Oddsmakers have to skew the numbers a little to account for this. 

The second is that he’s playing against the best possible opponent when it comes to this stage. Tough to cover against the best. 

Here are three more betting stats for the 2018 NBA Finals to help you handicap yet another Cavs-Warriors championship: 

LeBron is a bad dog in the Finals 

LBJ’s teams have covered at only 44 percent in the NBA Finals but he’s even worse as an underdog. LeBron is 8-14-2 against the spread in the Finals as a dog, which is a costly 36 percent. 

Here’s the good news: When LeBron covers as an underdog, he also wins outright. His teams are 8-16 straight up in this spot. 

The Cavaliers are the biggest underdog in NBA Finals history in Game 1 at +12.5 (as of Wednesday) with a moneyline payout of +700. If you like the dog, you may want to consider a sprinkle on the upset. 

Last year’s Finals was the highest scoring ever. By a lot 

Last year’s series between the Cavs and Warriors averaged a record-smashing 236.4 points per game. That’s the highest we’ve ever seen by about 25 points, dating back to 2000 when the Pacers fell to the Lakers 4-2.  That’s insane. 

The tricky part here is the UNDER is usually a moneymaking bet in the Finals, covering at 57 percent over the last 22 years (OVER/UNDER: 51-68-6). But you can’t ignore the fact this is the NBA’s preferred Finals matchup and they know the fans want scoring with their product attracting massive interest right now. 

Here’s a look at the average points per game as far back as our OddsShark numbers go: 

Avg points per game in the NBA Finals
SeasonPPG avg.SeasonPPG avg.
2017236.42006184.7
2016200.32005171.6
2015194.22004172.6
2014197.22003169.8
2013194.72002202.8
2012200.02001194.4
2011187.02000211.5
2010177.71999164.6
2009191.81998168.2
2008196.01997175.0
2007167.01996182.2

The team that shoots the three better usually wins 

The team that has shot better percentage-wise from three-point land in the NBA Finals has won 14 of the last 21 times. This one may seem obvious but I still don’t feel that there’s enough talk about the importance of the three-pointer in the game right now.   

The Warriors hold the edge here as the NBA’s top three-point shooting team at 38.4 percent. They also rank sixth in three-point percentage defense (35.0 percent). The Cavaliers rank ninth in long-distance shooting at 36.7 percent and they are 16th at defending the three (36.4 percent). 

Follow me on Twitter @JonnyOddsShark

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