The San Antonio Spurs will host the Memphis Grizzlies in a pivotal Game 5 matchup tonight. With the series tied 2-2 the winner will become the favorite to advance to the next round. The Spurs, at the time of this publication, are ten point favorites. Should you bet on San Antonio or Memphis? As it turns out, double-digit favorites perform better in the NBA Playoffs.
In the regular season, teams favored by 10 or more points have gone 2,144-272 (88.7%) straight-up and 1,146-1253-17 (47.8%) against-the-spread.
With motivation at its peak, double-digit favorites perform even better in the playoffs. Favorites of 10 or more points in the postseason have gone 82-6 (93.2%) straight-up and 49-36 (57.6%) against-the-spread. That is nearly a ten percent increase in the rate at which teams cover as double-digit favorites from the regular season to the postseason.
What is even more interesting is that when the opening spread was listed at 9.5 or fewer points and the game closed with a favorite of 10 or more points, that team went 10-2 against-the-spread. It is a small sample, but the trend holds in the regular season. During the 82-game regular season teams that start as favorites of 9.5 or fewer points but close as double-digit favorites went 192-171 (52.9%) ATS, a marked improvement from the 47.8% cover rate for all games featuring a 10-point favorite.
The Spurs opened as 9-point favorites at Cris and are now favored by double-digits. Will San Antonio continue the trend and cover as big favorites?
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