Warriors sway 73-win odds in their favor
For months, the prevailing question in NBA circles has revolved about how seriously to take Golden State’s pursuit of 73 wins, which would shatter the all-time mark of 72-10 held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
According to ESPN chalk, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the prop "Will Golden State win 73 or more games in the 2015-16 regular season" on Nov. 24, when the Warriors opened 15-0, offering +500 odds to back the run and making ‘no’ a remarkably heavy -700 favorite.
Throughout January, odds steadily started tilting in Golden State’s favor as the team continued to maintain Chicago’s pace from 20 years ago, steadily decreasing to the point where betting the affirmative trickled all the way down to paying out even money before the Warriors actually became a favorite to do so.
Following Saturday night’s miraculous comeback OT win, Jeff Sherman, WestgateLV’s SuperBook manager, tweeted out an update. The new odds listed the 53-5 Warriors at -300 to break the record while placing +250 on no, returning 2.5-times your investment if you feel it’s time to fade them. Entering March, the Warriors are now universally favored to make history by becoming the first NBA team to get through an 82-game schedule without a double-digit number in the loss column.
Sportsbook.ag has Golden State at -265 to win at least 73 while paying +210 on them falling short.
Time to fade GSW run at history arrives
If you’re going to take a contrarian’s approach, now is definitely the time to do it. March opened with both Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala absent from the month’s first shootaround due to injuries. Curry’s ankle predictably is feeling the effects from being twisted and then stepped on by Russell Westbrook, while Iguodala is dealing with a sore hamstring. They both may play against Atlanta since an unbeaten run at Oracle Arena is also on the line, but the fact that they’re currently ailing should be cause for concern. Curry, as of 1 PM PT on Tuesday afternoon, will be a game-time decision.
Head coach Steve Kerr has already intimated that the Warriors will be erring on the side of caution this close to the playoffs. While there’s no question he’d take great pride in coaching the team that breaks the record of the legendary team he played on, his primary responsibility lies in doing whatever he can to ensure the Warriors are healthy as they attempt to defend their title.
Say Curry tries to gut it through this injury and he aggravates it further? The Warriors can’t afford to be without him. Since drafting him in ’09, Golden State is 18-44 (.290) in games he’s missed. While most of that came before this current run to prominence, the Warriors are 1-3 over the past two seasons without him.
Beyond losing their top player for even a game, the fact is that Golden State’s brilliance is predicated on the key components being whole. While the team has survived injuries to centers Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli, the core of Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and super sub Iguodala has remained remarkably healthy. Each has missed two games or less this season. That’s two of the NBA’s top shooters, one of its most versatile players and an elite defender all joining forces. You’re going to need to count on that group remaining intact over the final 24 games, which is tenuous given the current status of Curry and Iguodala.
Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson may not have an ally in Kerr here, but they’ve got mercenaries on all 17 teams that make up Golden State’s remaining opposition. To pull off a 73-9 record, GSW will have to finish a minimum of 20-4. While that winning percentage (.833) pales in comparison to the .914 clip it has accomplished to date, its no small feat.
The Warriors will have to face the Thunder again on Thursday night and will see the Spurs three times, including twice over the last four contests. The Mavericks, Jazz, Trail Blazers, Timberwolves and Grizzlies are each up twice, while the Clippers, Celtics and Wizards are among the more challenging teams who will come through Oakland.
If Golden State pulls off this record, it will definitely have earned it. Currently, it's more lucrative to bet they won't.
Curry is looking to make it three straight games with at least 10 3-pointers the next time he takes the floor, so it’s understandable why the odds have shifted so dramatically of late. The reigning MVP is doing things we’ve never seen before. More than 5 million viewers watched Curry’s Jordan-esque performance on Saturday night in Oklahoma City, so there’s definitely a “prisoner of the moment” theory in play.
In spite of an injury everyone saw and with another primetime national showcase on tap, the odds of Golden State making history have skewed to cartoon-like proportions.
Golden State’s next loss will send the odds back closer to even money, so if you’re looking to get in on 72-10 or worse, the time is now.
If you’re with the Warriors, definitely wait. The inclination here is that their sixth loss comes sooner than later.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA