USA TODAY Sports
The San Antonio Spurs got a dream first round opponent for the NBA playoffs, matching up against the injury riddled Memphis Grizzlies.
The mismatched pairing has resulted in some of the largest spreads dating back to 1991-92 (as far back as our records go), with Game 1 closing the Spurs as 17-point home favorites and are currently on the board at -18 for Game 2.
The line opened at -18.5, but has been bet down a half-point. If the number were to climb back up to -18.5, the Spurs would tie the 1991-92 Chicago Bulls, who closed at that number for Game 1 of their first round series with the Miami Heat that season, as the biggest playoff favorites since that year.
While a number that large may look intimidating to bettors, heavy chalk hasn’t been a problem for NBA teams in the playoffs.
Since 1991-92 there have been 10 instances when a team has been favored by 14.5, or more, points and those teams have gone a perfect 10-0 straight up and a near perfect 9-1 against the spread, covering the spread by 8.9 points per game in the process.
Here are the complete results:
The lone loss was the 1997 Utah Jazz, who couldn’t cover the 15.5-points they were favored by over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 2 of their opening round series that season.
When teams this mismatched square off it’s no surprise that the favorites have outscored their opponents 106-83 in those games. However, that has also resulted in the under being profitable in this scenario.
With a total average of just 189 points per game, it’s no surprise the Under is 7-3 in this spot.
Game 1 of the Spurs’ series versus the Grizzlies fell under both of categories, with the Spurs covering as 17-point favorites and going under the total of 188.5.
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