The Bettors Edge Wagering on the first round of the NBA Playoffs
We are not even halfway through the opening round of this year’s NBA Playoffs but the first weekend of games has already been a profitable run for anyone riding the favorites. This past Saturday and Sunday, all eight favorites won their best-of-seven series opener straight-up while posting a profitable 6-1-1 record against the spread. That equates to a $490 return on a $100 wager on each of the favorites.
The tide has quickly turned in Monday and Tuesday’s results with the favorites going 3-2 SU and just 1-4 ATS so like anything else when it comes to betting on sports, you have to pick and choose your spots when trying to ride a profitable wave. After Wednesday night’s games, all eight series will shift to the home court of the lower seed which could be a golden opportunity to start riding the road teams especially if they are getting points.
Your first instinct in this opening round should be to lean towards the better team on paper in each matchup as it earned that higher seed for a reason. With the exception of the No 5 vs. No. 4 matchups which could be considered a toss-up in both the East and the West, teams such as Miami, New York, Oklahoma City and San Antonio are looking to make short work of their opponents in this round in order to get some much needed rest for the next series. The Heat covered a 13-point spread in Game 1 and should have easily covered the 14 points in Game 2 if they would not have toyed with the Bucks through the first three quarters. Everyone was waiting to see something special from Boston as the No. 7 seed but they have lost the first two games to the Knicks by a combined 23 points.
Turning our attention to the total line for the playoffs, the UNDER has a slight 7-5-1 edge in the first 13 games. Most bettors gravitate towards playing the OVER in the regular season, but you should change your strategy in the playoffs by looking for the value in the UNDER play. Defense becomes a much bigger part of the game and while the Oddsmakers will adjust by dialing down the numbers accordingly, there are still some golden opportunities out there if you know where to look. The Heat and the Thunder boast two of the most prolific scoring attacks in the league, yet they both know how to play shutdown defense when they have to. San Antonio is another team that makes its living lighting-up the scoreboard but all three of these teams finished the regular season ranked near the top of the league in points allowed.