NBA Finals 2012 Betting Breakdown
bettingexpert blog editor. Always taking the alternative route to finding the value.
Looking for some interesting betting trends for the 2012 NBA Finals? With the series about to tip-off in Oklahoma City, today on the blog Andrew takes a look at both recent and long-term betting trends for the 2012 NBA decider.
After a strike reduced season, the 2012 NBA Decider has arrived. Pushing aside the powers of recent seasons in the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics, we find the Oklahoma City Thunder preparing to take on the Miami Heat.
First Time In A While
While it is the first time in the NBA Finals for Oklahoma City, their former identity, the Seattle Supersonics, were last in the Finals back in 1995-1996 where they lost 4 games to 2 to the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls, rallying to make the series interesting from a 0-3 deficit.
So let's then take a look at the performance of teams that have gone at least 10 seasons in-between appearances in the NBA Finals.
|Season||Newbie||Home Advantage||Opponent||Champion||Win/Loss||ATL Win/Loss|
|1987-1988||Detroit||No||LA Lakers||LA Lakers||3-4||NA|
|1998-1999||San Antonio||Yes||NY Knicks||San Antonio||4-1||4-1|
|1999-2000||Indiana||No||LA Lakers||LA Lakers||2-4||4-2|
|2000-2001||Philadelphia||No||LA Lakers||LA Lakers||1-4||2-3|
|2001-2002||New Jersey||No||LA Lakers||LA Lakers||0-4||1-2-1|
|2006-2007||Cleveland||No||San Antonio||San Antonio||0-4||1-3|
|2008-2009||Orlando||No||LA Lakers||LA Lakers||1-4||1-4|
The chart above shows the performance of such teams since 1980. We can see that there have been 17 such 'newbie' teams up against non-'newbie' teams with only 4 going on to win the title. (We are excluding the 2006 series between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks as both were 'newbie' teams in that series.)
What is most interesting is that while these 'newbies' have won just 35 of a potential 92 matches since 1980, they have covered the betting line in these matches 42.5 times, a more than respectable record against the line of 57.4% since 1991.
What is rather different this time around is that the Thunder have home court advantage, which has only occurred for 'newbie' teams since 1991 on 5 occasions, with 3 of those 5 going on to win the title with their record against the line a very handsome 18-8, just over 69% since 1991, leaving the against the line record for 'newbie' teams without home advantage throughout the series at just 24-22-2.
We should also note that 8 of the 17 series featuring 'newbie' teams since 1980, have gone at least 6 games with just 3 'newbie' teams being swept 4-0.
While it has been a while for the Thunder/Sonics, the Miami Heat were defeated in last season's Finals by the Dallas Mavericks. So let's take a look at teams returning to the Finals following a season in which they were defeated in the season decider.
|Season||Returner||Home Advantage||Opponent||Champion||Win/Loss||ATL Win/Loss|
|1984-1985||LA Lakers||No||Boston||LA Lakers||4-2||NA|
|2002-2003||New Jersey||No||San Antonio||San Antonio||2-4||1-5|
|2008-2009||LA Lakers||Yes||Orlando||LA Lakers||4-1||4-1|
The table above shows such 'returners' since 1980. There have only been 8 such teams over this time span, with only 3 since 1991. We can see that 5 of these 'returners' went on to win the title. Again we see that like the Thunder, the Heat are an unusual 'returner' going into the series without home court advantage, with 3 of the previous 8 'returners' playing “away”.
The only 'returner' playing without home court advantage to win the title was the Lakers in 1984-1985, which was their third straight appearance in the Finals having lost in previous two seasons.
So let's finally take a look at some betting trends for each team this season.
Home & Away
The first thing to note is that Miami have performed well against the line at home, claiming a 25-18 home record in 2011-2012. To counter this, the Thunder have performed almost equally as well against the line away from home, putting together a 23-16-1 record against the line when away this season.
On the other hand, the Thunder have a respectable 22-19 home record against the line this season compared to the Heat who were 18-23 against the line away from home.
They Like the Night-Life
Oddly, the Thunder have put together a 24-15-1 record against the line this season when playing at night compared to their 21-20 record when playing during the day.
While the Thunder have put together an impressive overall 45-35-1 record against the line over the course of the season, the bulk of that success has come against non-conference opponents. In such matches, they were 13-5 against the line in 2011-2012 while the Heat were 8-10 in inter-conference play.
Against Quality Opponents
The Heat have had varying success against teams with a win/loss record above 50% over the course of the season. At home they went 18-11 against the line when opposing such teams, but were 11-16 when playing away.
Following a match in which they scored less than 100 points, the Heat went 20-27 against the line this season, but 23-14 against the line after scoring more than 100 points. On the other hand, the Thunder were 28-23-1 against the line following a match in which they gave up less than 100 points.
Overs & Unders
We have seen lower than anticipated scoring in Miami home matches this season, with the Under winning 27-16 this season. Going a step further, the Under was 18-7 in Miami home games this season, when their previous game was also at home.
Further, the O/U line for Game 1 is 195 points. In Miami games this season where the O/U line was between 190 and 199 points, the game finished Under 21-11.
Lastly, in Oklahoma City inter-conference games, the game finished Under 13-5 this season.
Many basketball fans will find themselves torn as to who to support - The team that ripped the heart out of Seattle or the player who ripped the heart out of Cleveland. For purists however, it's a matchup that offers plenty in the way of talent.
Anthing less than 6 games might be considered a major shock and the bookmakers know this is the public sentiment, with Pinnacle posting odds of just 1.43 for the series to extend to at least 6 matches. With this in mind, I would look to go where many will fear to tread - The Thunder in 5 games.
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