It is probably safe to say that even the staunchest supporter of the Los Angeles Clippers knows how their first-round series with the Golden State Warriors is going to play out. No. 8 seeds rarely beat a No. 1 (it has only happened twice).
Yeah, the Clippers are going to get beat; it is not a matter of ‘if’ but more so of ‘how bad.’
But even though the expectation is that the Warriors are going to dominate the Clippers, some sportsbooks are still giving the Clippers odds to beat the Warriors. You know—in case it actually happens (causing pigs to fly and a certain somewhere freezing over).
The odds are what you would expect them to be— long. They aren’t just long; they are incredibly long. So much so, that they are historic.
The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas has given the Clippers 100-1 odds to record an epic upset of the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. This makes them the biggest underdog in a playoff series in the last three decades.
Should they win, that would mean making a whole lot of money without having to risk much. However, there is a reason why the odds are so long. The Warriors are the second-best offense in the league this season with a roster full of household names. Can anyone who isn’t a Clippers name even one of their starting five?
History certainly doesn’t favor the Clippers. There have been only three other occasions in the last thirty years where the odds have been close to as long: 1992, on the Miami Heat to beat the Chicago Bulls (75-1); 2013, on the Milwaukee Bucks to beat the Miami Heat (75-1); and in 2016, on the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the San Antonio Spurs (66-1).
The favored team swept the underdog in each of the three series. Is there any reason to think the same fate doesn’t await the Clippers?
The Clippers have been one of the better offensive teams in the league in recent weeks. Since March 1, they have been the third highest scoring team in the NBA with 119.3 points/game—which is a little better than their season average, 115.1 (5th highest in the league), and better than what the Warriors have done over the last month (115.0 points/game; 8th in the league).
Where the Clippers lack is in their defense. However, their rating is only a couple of points off Golden State’s (108.5 for the Warriors relative to 110.3 for the Clippers). But over the last month, the Warriors have stepped up their defensive game (106.2) while the Clippers is about the same (111.0)
So—how should you bet?
There is a very slim chance that the Clippers may upset the Warriors in one game, but they don’t stand a chance in the series. Don’t even waste $2 on the off chance this upset happens—because it will not.