History could K.O. bettors in critical NBA Finals Game 5

Updated: June 13, 2016


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The plight of teams down three games to one in the NBA Playoffs is well documented. The Cleveland Cavaliers are currently down 3-1 to the defending champions, the Golden State Warriors, in the NBA Finals and are certainly in an unfortunate position moving forward.

Game 5 of the series will go Monday night in Oakland and the Cavs can take solace in the fact that, historically, 10 teams in NBA history have come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the playoffs (So you’re telling me there’s a chance!).

However, more specifically, the 3-1 deficit has occurred 32 times during the NBA Finals and no team has ever launched a comeback and won the championship coming from behind. The current series price listed has the Warriors as -1808 favorites with the Cavaliers paying +1126 to pull of a miracle.

Those stats are ominous when it comes to the series as a whole, but let’s specifically take a look at tonight’s game.

Going back to the 1991 NBA Playoffs, teams facing elimination in the finals own a 10-20 ATS record (33.3 percent) with a less than stellar 9-21 record straight up (30 percent).

Note: These “elimination games” include teams facing 3-0, 3-1, and 3-2 deficits only. Game 7’s are a different dynamic and do not match this situation.

Even more specific to tonight’s situation, teams facing elimination in the finals when playing on the road since 1991 are only just 2-9 SU (18.2 percent) but do seem to rebound slightly against the spread with a record of 5-6 ATS (45.5 percent).

Since 1991, 12 teams have found themselves in a 3-1 series hole and the trailing team has only managed to cover the pointspread in the critical Game 5 on three occasions (25 percent) and are only 4-7 SU.

From an emotional standpoint, the Cavaliers should leave it all out on the floor tonight in Oakland (and facing a team without Draymond Green should help). However, historically it seems like NBA teams are more likely to “fold up the tent” and go home in these similar situations.

Side note: The Golden State Warriors have only played without Draymond Green three times over the last two seasons. 2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS, O-U 2-1.

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