The Boston Celtics were facing the rival LA Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on May 26. The game was played at the Boston Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, with the opening line at (-310) favoring the home team. According to Sports Illustrated, the betting public had a clear favorite in the matchup, with the point spread at (-310) favoring the Celtics. The Lakers were heavy favorites to win the game, with bettors expecting them to cover the spread by a margin of 7.5 points.
What happened in the game that had the betting public so amped up? How about a comeback that defies the odds? The Celtics scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter and blew the lid off of the defending champions. With 24.5 seconds left in the game, the Celtics trailed by just one point. However, the Lakers missed a free throw, the ball bounced off the rim and the Celtics hit a three pointer to pull away for the 17-1 rout. The betting public didn’t get the outcome they wanted, but they did get their money back, as the line moved to (-350) in the post-game, according to Gambling.com.
NBA Finals Game 1 Line Movement
The betting public didn’t have to wait long for the line to move in their favor. Just three days after Game 1, the NBA Finals returned to the Boston Garden for Game 2. The line moved to (-430) in favor of the home team, the Boston Celtics, in the days leading up to the game. On the day of the game, the line opened at (-460) in favor of the Celtics and moved to (-470) after three quarters of action. The point spread opened at (-485) and closed at (-565) after the game. Once again, the Lakers faced defeat at the hands of their fiercest rivals.
This time around, the betting public didn’t get the result they wanted, but they were still able to cover their bets. The Celtics won Game 2 by a score of 123-107 and the line closed at (-550) after the game. The series now shifted to Los Angeles for Game 3, with the line shifting once again in the teams’ favor. Once more, the locals came out in full force to support their team in the rematch. The line opened at (-560) and closed at (-600) in the days leading up to the game. The actual score of the game wasn’t as important as the fact that the home team covered the spread, winning 116-110.
NBA Finals Game 3 Line Movement
Game 3 of the NBA Finals took place on June 2 at the Lakers’ home arena in Los Angeles. Two days before the game, the line opened at (-600) and closed at (-500) in favor of the home team, the LA Lakers. The crowd and their energy were once again felt by the Celtics, who won 121-110 and forced a Game 4 in Boston. Once again, the betting public had their money back, as the line moved to (-525) in their favor in the days leading up to the game.
The fourth game of the series was held on June 5 at the Boston Garden. The line opened at (-600) and closed at (-500), moving once again in favor of the home team, the Celtics. The locals were determined to bring home a W for their squad and showed up in big numbers to support their team. As a result, the line opened at (-575) and closed at (-505) in the days leading up to the game. In the end, the Celtics were able to close out the series in seven games and win their first NBA title since 1946. The final score was 144-137 in favor of the home team, the Boston Celtics.
As for the betting public, they were able to cover their bets and win money on three of the four games, although they did lose money on Game 2, Game 4 and Game 7.
What Is The Point Spread For The NBA Finals?
The point spread refers to the margin by which the favorite is favored to win the game. For example, if a game is played between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls with the Heat as a 6.5-point favorite, whoever scores the most points wins the game. The point spread is usually determined by how powerful (or not) each team’s fans are. If a team’s fans are known for being loud and rowdy, the line will likely move in favor of that team in order to create more excitement and a more attractive betting option for sportsbooks. If the opposing team’s fans are more powerful and intimidating, the line movements will tend to be in their favor as well.
In the case of the 2018 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, the point spread was set at (-210) and the over/under was set at 229.5 points. Cleveland is the favorite to win the series as both teams are strong and boast intimidating fan bases. But since the Warriors are the defending champions and have home court advantage, they are stronger favorites in this year’s NBA Finals. And, so far, the public seems to agree, as the line for Game 1 of the series opened at (-210) and has stayed there ever since.