NBA Finals 1991 Thru 2020 -- A Point Spread Review

by Al McMordie

The 2021 NBA Finals are upon us, and will feature an intriguing match-up between the Eastern conference's Milwaukee Bucks and the Western conference's Phoenix Suns.

After compiling the league's #1 record in each of 2019 and 2020, the Bucks took a step backwards this season and "only" went 46-26 to earn the East's #3 seed.  The Suns were five games better, at 51-21, and garnered the #2 seed in the West.

Phoenix has been installed as a 5.5-point favorite for Game 1, and are -190 to win the series at William Hill (Milwaukee is +170).  

The key story line is the health of Giannis Antetokounmpo, who sustained an injury in Game 4 of Milwaukee's semifinal series vs. Atlanta.  He won't be fully healthy in this Finals, and is listed as "day-to-day" on the injury report.

Let's take a look at the previous 30 years of NBA Finals games to see what history can teach us.

Please note that six of the 169 previous games were played on a neutral court (2020).

Home teams:  72-88-3 ATS (10-16-1 ATS as dog; 61-70-2 ATS as fave; 1-2 ATS as pk'em)
Away teams:  88-72-3 ATS (70-61-2 ATS as dog; 16-10-1 ATS as fave; 2-1 ATS as pk'em)
Underdogs:  84-79-3 ATS (36-41-2 ATS off win; 48-38-1 ATS off loss)
Favorites:  79-84-3 ATS (58-58-1 ATS off win; 21-26-2 ATS off loss)
Off back-to-back losses:  20-23-1 ATS (10-18-1 ATS at home; 9-5 ATS on road; 1-0 ATS on neutral court)
Off double-digit loss:  31-30-2 ATS (9-14-2 ATS at home; 20-15 ATS on road; 2-1 ATS on neutral court; 24-19-1 ATS as dog; 7-11-1 ATS as fave)

Game 1:  Home teams 19-10 ATS; Favorites 20-10 ATS
Game 2:  Home teams 12-16-1 ATS; Favorites 11-18-1 ATS; Teams off losses 16-13-1 ATS
Game 3: Home teams 10-18-1 ATS; Favorites 12-15-1 ATS; Teams off losses 17-12-1 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 8-7-1 ATS
Game 4: Home teams 12-16-1 ATS; Favorites 15-14-1 ATS; Teams off losses 14-15-1 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 5-6 ATS
Game 5: Home teams 11-14 ATS; Favorites 11-14 ATS; Teams off losses 13-13 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 5-5 ATS
Game 6: Home teams 5-12 ATS; Favorites 7-11 ATS; Teams off losses 10-8 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 2-4 ATS
Game 7: Home teams 3-2 ATS; Favorites 3-2 ATS; Teams off losses 2-3 ATS; Teams off back-to-back losses 1-0 ATS

Over/Unders:
Game 1:  11 overs, 18 unders, 1 push
Game 2: 13 overs, 15 unders, 2 pushes
Game 3: 15 overs, 15 unders
Game 4: 10 overs, 20 unders
Game 5: 14 overs, 11 unders, 1 push
Game 6: 8 overs, 10 unders
Game 7: 0 overs, 5 unders
combined:  71 overs, 94 unders, 4 pushes

Good luck, as always...Al McMordie




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