Warriors Look To Dispatch Pesky Clippers In Game 5

It’s all but a foregone conclusion now that the Golden State Warriors will defeat the Los Angeles Clippers and advance to the next round. If it doesn’t happen tonight it’ll happen eventually. NBA teams leading a 7 game series 3-1 go on to win the series 95.5% of the time. The Clippers put up a nice effort in Game 4 only to see Golden State salvage an 8 point win giving Los Angeles the money as +9.5 home underdogs.

As the series heads back to Oracle Arena it’s still difficult to figure out where the maddeningly inconsistent Warriors are at. At times in this series they’ve been flat out dominant and have looked all but unbeatable. That was particularly true in Game 3– in that game a downright angry Warriors team coming off a shocking home upset in Game 2 basically ‘made an example’ out of the Clippers. Demonstrating ferocious intensity on both ends of the floor, Golden State opened up a 73-52 halftime lead and extended that in the final 24 minutes en route to a 132-105 win. Their defensive showing was particularly impressive as they held the Clippers to 37.2% shooting from the field and 21.9% from three point range.

You don’t have to be a handicapping genius to realize that with Golden State it all comes down to focus. When they have it, it’s tough to imagine any other team beating them for the NBA title. When they don’t, they’re capable of losing to the LA Clippers at home. The NBA futures odds still show them as the favorite to win the title but they’ve lost a little ground and are now a -175 favorite. Before the playoffs began, they were a -225 choice to win their fourth title in five years. Golden State is now -300 to win the Western Conference down from -400 before the playoffs began. In theory, getting the Clippers +14 is attractive and if the ‘bad Warriors’ show up that will look like free money. On the other hand, if the Warriors that showed up for Game 3 take the court on Wednesday they can easily obliterate that pointspread.

The Clippers have been one of the more profitable teams in the NBA this season. To date they’re 47-38-1 against the spread for 55.29% or +5.2 units. Golden State has been one of the biggest money losers in the NBA–not surprising given the high expectations they carry and their status as the biggest ‘public’ team in the sport. The Warriors are 60-26 straight up through Game 4 of this series but just 37-48-1 against the spread for a woeful 43.53% or -15.8 units. The only teams that have lost more money for their financial backers this NBA season are the LA Lakers and New York Knicks. Even the Phoenix Suns (-14.6 units) were a better pointspread performer than the Warriors. Golden State is 17-25 ATS at home for a -10.5 unit loss. Over the past two seasons, the Warriors are 38-54 ATS at home for a -21.4 unit loss. As a favorite, they’re 33-45 -16.5 units. Head to head, the Clippers have covered 6 of the last 10 meetings and 5 of the last 8 at Oracle Arena. Golden State might be the better team but at this price the only way to play this game is to take the Clippers plus the points.


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