Golden State Warriors Beat Boston And the Books

To win their fourth NBA Championship over the past eight seasons, the Golden State Warriors had to beat the Boston Celtics, the winningest franchise in the NBA (tied for the most titles with the Los Angeles Lakers at 17 apiece). 

But the Celtics weren’t Golden State’s only victims on Thursday night. Stephen Curry and the Warriors also took down the sportsbooks, who, like the Celtics, aren’t accustomed to losing. 

“The Warriors winning the NBA Championship and Stephen Curry winning the NBA Finals MVP were bad outcomes for the sportsbook,” said Jason Scott, VP of Trading at BetMGM. “The Warriors and Curry both received strong support from bettors throughout the playoffs.”

The Warriors opened at +1200 to win the 2021-22 NBA Championship at BetMGM and saw a steady increase in their odds until they reached +450 in January, which is where they plateaued and remained through March. 

As the playoffs got underway, and with Curry’s health uncertain, the Warriors’ odds shifted back to +1000, a level they hadn’t seen since the season started, which left BetMGM open to some severe liability if bettors pounced. And pounce they did.

Golden State was back up to +225 by the start of the Western Conference Finals and favored to beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals, but the market correction was too late, and the damage was done. Or it was about to be, as the Dubs were about to knock off the Celtics in six. 

With 16.8 percent of the tickets, the Warriors emerged with 30 percent of the handle to win the NBA Championship, the most of any team in the Association.

The same could be said for Curry’s NBA Finals MVP wagers. The two-time MVP ended up on 17.7 percent of the tickets, which was the most of any player, ahead of Boston’s Jayson Tatum (10.4 percent). The gap was even more significant and damaging regarding the handle, as Curry led the way at 34.1 percent, more than double Tatum’s 14.8 percent. 

At +1400, Curry didn’t just trail Tatum (+1200) at the start of the playoffs, but Giannis Antetokounmpo, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Kevin Durant. 

I’m betting Curry wasn’t the only one choking back tears when he received the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award on Thursday night.

What’s the saying? Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. And sportsbooks are nobody’s fool. 

So it should be no surprise that the Warriors have opened at +550 to win the 2022-23 NBA Championship at BetMGM’s Sportsbook released earlier today, the favorite, ahead of the Boston Celtics (+650).