NBA Playoffs Betting Guide

OM Staff

Thursday, April 11, 2019 2:57 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 11, 2019 2:57 PM UTC

16 NBA teams are about to embark on a quest for the Larry O'Brien trophy, as superstars and role players alike attempt to secure their legacy as NBA champions. The NBA playoffs are an exciting time to be a fan and bettor.

<p>Welcome to the NBA Playoffs Betting Guide! In this article I will go over the basics of NBA betting, the playoff format, and present strategies and trends to guide your journey through the next couple months. The NBA playoffs are a whirlwind of excitement and emotion, and things can change on a dime, whether it be an unexpected injury, a blown call or a missed layup. For basketball fans it is an opportunity to watch the highest quality basketball, and for bettors an opportunity to take motivation out of our handicapping process.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The 2019 &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#NBAPlayoffs&lt;/a&gt; story begins Saturday, April 13th! &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/HuRbRZnxdE\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/HuRbRZnxdE&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— NBA (@NBA) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1116355222492733440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;April 11, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><div><h2>BASICS OF BETTING</h2><p>With the maturation of the online market there are a plethora of ways to wager on the playoffs but we will stick with the basics.</p><p><strong>Series Bets</strong>: This is my personal favorite as you simply need to pick the winner of the series. Having your handicap hold up over the course of 4-7 games reduces variance as opposed to single game betting. You simply need to pick the winner of the series, although favorites will be juiced heavily, especially in the first round. You can also try to predict the exact outcome of the series, by choosing the number of games you think the series will last, as well as the winner. This is a much tougher proposition but the payouts reflect that. Oftentimes this is a good way to bet on a favorite in the early rounds.</p><p><strong>Single Game Bets</strong>: Choose the winner, either straight up, or to cover the spread. This is the most popular type of bet as you don't tie up your money for long and can make adjustments from game to game depending on what you see. Warning: if you take the spread it often comes down to free throws at the end and can be a very nerve wracking endeavor.</p><p><strong>Player Props</strong>: Do you think a player is poised for a big night? Do you suspect a star will struggle in his matchup tonight? Well these wagers are for you. You can wager over/under for points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, or a combination of these statistics. You can also bet on 3 pt shots attempted or made, FTs attempted or made, and various other player performance statistics. These are fun if you have a good feel for a certain players performance night to night.</p><p><strong>Live betting</strong>: Do you think a spread is spot on? Or maybe you'd like to get a feel for how the teams will matchup under the bright lights. Live betting allows you to wait until the game is started and wager based upon what you see. The NBA has loads of live betting opportunities as it is a game of runs, and those runs can give you the price you wanted if you deemed the pregame line to be accurate.</p><h2>PLAYOFF FORMAT</h2><p>The Western and Eastern conference will have their best 8 teams play a bracket style tournament, best of 7, single elimination, with no reseeding between rounds. That means if the #8 seed upsets the #1 seed, the #8 seed will be in the #1 seeds position for the next 2 rounds. The higher seed will always be given home court advantage though. The higher seed will get games 1,2,5 and 7(if necessary) at home. This is a huge advantage as the home team is historically 104-27 in Game 7s. The winner of each conference will meet in the NBA Finals, where the team with the better regular season record will receive home court advantage. So an NBA team will need 16 wins to fulfill their quest for a championship, an arduous task indeed.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;The 2019 &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAPlayoffs?src=hash&amp;amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;#NBAPlayoffs&lt;/a&gt; are set!&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Games begin on Saturday, April 13th. &lt;a href=\"https://t.co/4ERS0ZeywQ\"&gt;pic.twitter.com/4ERS0ZeywQ&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— NBA (@NBA) &lt;a href=\"https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1116215485887078400?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\"&gt;April 11, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><h2>PLAYOFF BETTING STRATEGIES</h2><p>The best part of betting the NBA Playoffs is that we no longer have to cap motivation, which is a huge factor in regular season betting, and we can greatly discount fatigue. Teams always get 1 day off between games and sometimes get 2-3 days of rest in the first round. This is a great advantage to teams with veteran players as they benefit from the rest more. Team depth is also discounted because with the extra rest, coaches often shorten their rotations to 7-8 players so having an advantage from the 9-12 roster spots is negligible unless there is an injury. Handicapping bench performance is tantamount to consistently covering spreads in the regular season, but in the playoffs, not so much. The most popular betting strategy is the Zig Zag theory, which, simply put, is to bet on the team that has lost the last game. I believe this strategy is already factored by the books as the loser of the previous game covers at 52% rate over the last 15 yrs. The edge is too slight to make blind zig zag betting profitable. I believe the basics of handicapping still apply. Looking for matchup advantages, current team form, and identifying spots where a team will over perform or under perform to the statistics. For example, the Golden State Warriors are known for their deployment of "the death lineup" the precursor to "small ball'. In this lineup they use their power forward Draymond Green at center to get a quicker team that can switch assignments on defense seamlessly. The smaller lineup makes them susceptible to giving up offensive rebounds so they might struggle more than the statistics would indicate against a team with a strong offensive rebounding center, like the OKC Thunder with Steven Adams. Identifying spots where the matchup belies the statistics is key.</p><p>Another strategy is live betting. Lets say you look at a line, and it seems about right. A good strategy is to identify the line you feel comfortable playing and wait for the opportunity to for your desired line to appear live. If the pregame line is -6.5 but you've identified that you only feel comfortable laying -2.5, you can wait for the opposing team to go on a run and see if you can grab the more favorable line. As basketball is a game of runs this happens quite often. However, for this to be successful you must be content with sitting the game out if its a blowout and the line you have identified never appears.</p><p>In a series that goes 2-0 to the favorite a unique opportunity appears. In the last 20 yrs the team ahead 2-0 is 58-73 ATS covering at a 44% clip. Be careful, because an edge does not equal a sure thing, but keep this in mind after watching the home team run away with things in the first 2 games. Public perception should allow you to get a favorable number on the game 3 home team, so this is something to definitely keep an eye out for.</p><h2>QUICK FACTS</h2><p>#8 seeds have the most success against their division rivals, going 20-14 ATS in the last 15 years. When looking for an underdog to back, look for interdivisional matchups.</p><p>#2 seeds are 72-45 ATS in the last 15 years. If you're looking for a favorite to back, look at #2 seeds.</p><p>Beware of #3 seeds. They are 48% ATS in the last 7 years</p><p>In the #4-#5 matchup, look at the favorite in each game. Favored #4 seeds cover at 62% and favored #5 seeds are an astonishing 71% ATS in the last 15 years.</p><p><em><strong>The NBA Playoffs</strong></em> is a joy for fans and bettors alike. Known as the NBA's second season, the intensity and stakes are magnified immensely. The defensive effort is greatly increased, to the point where it can look like an altogether different league. As a bettor, try to pick your spots, don't feel compelled to bet every game. It's ok to be a fan. It's ok to relax and just enjoy the top level basketball that will be on your tv for the next couple months. Hopefully you can use some ideas in this guide to make a little money while you enjoy the NBA at its finest.</p></div>
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