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Author: [NBA Betting] Topic: NBA - First Round Playoff Series Breakdowns
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#1
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:17:23 PM
The most comprehensive single-page advanced statistical NBA game breakdown on the internet.  Also includes a proprietary score prediction model to determine value against the spread.  What would have taken you hours of web research to compile and compare all this advanced data, you can now download each series on a single 8.5x11 page for free in a matter of minutes.  Also includes an extensive write-up that highlights key stat comparisons and offers series predictions and betting advice.




First Round Playoff Series Breakdowns





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#2
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:17:50 PM
#8 Utah Jazz vs. #1 San Antonio Spurs

Last year the Spurs made an unexpected early departure from the playoffs losing to 8th seeded Memphis in the first round.  Can the same thing happen this year by the hands of the Utah Jazz?  Probably not.  However, I do think they can extend the series to at least 5 maybe 6 games.  The reason for this is home court advantage.  There are a couple ways that I analyze how to quantify home court in the NBA.  A simple approach to this is to look at the average score margin in home games versus away games.  Using this method, it's clear that both San Antonio and Utah play very different games away from the comfort of their home court.  The Spurs outscored their opponents by 11.9 ppg at home but only 1.2 ppg on the road for a differential of 10.7 ppg.  The Jazz outscored their opponents by 6.2 ppg at home and were outscored by -4.8 on the road for a differential of 11.0 ppg.  Standard Vegas adjustment for home court is 3.5 points, but as you can see by these numbers, a fair adjustment in this series is about 5.5.  By plugging in only home/away splits into my advanced statistical model, I've determined the true weight of home court in this series to actually be even higher at 6.33 points.  Vegas may not account for the true weight of these respected team's home court so you might find inherent value backing the home team ATS until oddsmakers start pricing this into the lines.  As you can see by the score predictions, the Spurs shouldn't lose a single home game with an average projected margin of victory of 10.3 points.  However, because the Jazz play so much better at home and the Spurs play so much worse on the road, it's not unlikely for Utah to win one or two of their home games.  Statistically speaking at least, this is a real possibility that the oddsmakers are not likely to fully price into the lines in Utah's home games.  Beyond the home court angle there are a couple match-ups that are worth mentioning that all strongly favor the Spurs.  San Antonio has the second most efficient offense in the NBA and that's due to their ability to attack teams on all fronts (offensively ranked #7 at the rim, #1 in jumpers and #2 in three-pointers).  Utah's defense is not a likely candidate to slow down the explosive Spurs as they rank #23 in defensive efficiency and ppg.  They're also a team built around size and while that makes them strong in offensive rebounding and points in the paint, it also makes them slow.  Their lack of speed will pose problems since the Spurs offense relies on ball movement (SAS ranks #5 in Assists per Possession).  One final advantage that the Spurs hold is in bench performance.  Based on a combination analysis of PER and on/off court production, the Spurs legitimately run 10 deep while Utah has only 7 quality performers.  So don't think for a second that the Spurs age will be an issue, in fact, with their talented bench they have a big advantage over the shallow Jazz.  I expect this series to be relatively high scoring with the Spurs winning all of their home games and ultimately coming out on top in 5 games.

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#3
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:18:10 PM
#7 Dallas Mavericks vs. #2 Oklahoma City Thunder

Can Dallas repeat?  I'm going to come right out and say it, no they can't.  They're the 7th seed in the Western conference for a reason.  Just take a look at how their advanced metrics rank against other NBA teams.  Notice that they lack 'elite' status in all of these categories (19th offensive efficiency, 7th defensive efficiency, outside the top 7 in offensive/defensive shot locations etc..).  To win a championship you have to either be an elite team or play like one in the post season.  Last year Dallas was a borderline elite team entering the playoffs but they started playing elite basketball (raised their offensive eFG% and lowered their defensive eFG%) and that's how they won the title.  They lost some key role players since then and they're all just a little older.  I don't see that happening this year, especially since they have to play through a more mature Oklahoma City team and a red hot San Antonio team just to another shot at the title.  In fact, I don't think Dallas will be able to get past Oklahoma City and here's why.  The Thunder have two weaknesses:  1) they lack a big man in the center position to run a post offense and dominate the offensive and defensive glass and 2) they rank last in assists per possession which indicates that they'll struggle to run a half court offense (ball movement and half court sets go hand-in-hand).   If you can't outscore the Thunder, you'll have to exploit both of these weaknesses to beat them.  With Dallas' age and skill set, they'll want to operate in the half court as much as they can.  However, by doing so they'll actually help OKC's center issue.  Dallas will chose to set up their defense instead of crashing the offensive glass (they've been doing this all season evident by their 27th ranked offensive rebounding rate).  Even with OKC's average to below average ORR numbers, they still have a statistical edge in this metric and it effectively neutralizes the issues they'll have because of their inefficiencies in assists and turnovers.  Looking at the rest of the numbers you see that the Thunder are an elite team and they have a sizable advantage over the Mavericks.  The Thunder will shoot a higher percentage and take more trips to the free throw line.  With all other stats being equal this gives them a huge scoring advantage and that's why they're projected to win the series by an average of 5.5 ppg.  They shouldn't lose a single home game with their projected +10.3 ppg advantage.  The road games in this series are projected to be a tossup and I think that's a fair assessment.  Dirk can carry his team to probably one victory on his home court but ultimately OKC will have too much offense to handle.  I like the Thunder to take this series in 5 games.

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#4
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:18:29 PM
#6 Denver Nuggets vs. #3 Los Angeles Lakers

These two teams have very contrasting styles.  Denver runs at the second fastest pace while the Lakers 9th slowest.  Denver attempts the fewest percentage of jump shots per game whereas Los Angeles attempts the 5th most.  Position wise, Denver's strengths are in their point guard and power forward while Los Angeles has an elite shooting guard and center.  However, because these two teams play such different styles of basketball, it makes this series relatively easy to analyze.  Before I get into who will beat who in how many games, let's look at this total - the highest projected total in the fist round.  Even though the Lakers have a very strong spot-up defense, they're actually less efficient overall than you'd expect  They rank #13 in both defensive efficiency and points allowed.  Denver has an explosive offense that attacks the rim more often than any team in the NBA.  They should be able to put up some points against the Lakers that rank #15 in defending the rim.  On the other side of the coin, the Lakers are primarily a jump shooting team.  With Bynum and Gasol on the inside they really shouldn't be, but you can thank Kobe and the lack of a pass-first point guard for the under utilization of their bigs.  With that said, Denver ranks dead last in the NBA in overall jump shooting defense and three point defense.  The Lakers are a horrible three point shooting team and only an average jump shooting team, but you can expect both of these numbers to be above their season averages during this series.  Throw in the fact that both teams are top 8 in offensive free throw rate and you can see why neither team will have any trouble eclipsing the century mark on a regular basis.  Now onto who wins and why.  Statistically speaking, the Lakers have a 2.6 ppg advantage in this series and this is mostly due to their defense.  Simply put, the Lakers' defense has a better chance of slowing down Denver's offense than Denver's defense has a chance of slowing down the Lakers' offense.  In a high scoring series like this one is shaping out to be, the team with the better defense is likely to come out on top.  Clearly the Lakers have that and that's why I'm predicting them to win in 5-6 games.

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#5
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:18:53 PM
#5 Los Angeles Clippers vs. #4 Memphis Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies versus Los Angeles Clippers is your prototypical 4-5 match-up.  As you can see by the score projections, the 4 seeded Clippers have a slight advantage over the Grizzlies but in reality +1.31 ppg is insignificant.  Despite the neutral court comparisons being almost equal, both teams have relatively strong advantages on their respected home courts.  Why is that?  Both the Grizzlies and the Clippers defend their home court well.  At home, the Grizzlies had an average margin of victory of +6.3 and the Clippers +6.1.  As good as these two teams are at home, they're just as bad on the road.  Both teams were below .500 on the road with Memphis losing by an average margin of -2.5 and Los Angeles outscoring their opponents by the slimmest of margins +0.1.  My home away power rankings confirm this discrepancy as the model suggests home court in this series is worth +6.62 points (the Vegas standard for this number is +3.5).  Because of this, there might be inherent value backing the home team.  This also leads me to believe that whoever wins the first road game can win this series.  Let's now look at why these two teams are so evenly matched.  Interestingly each team's offensive strengths are offset by the other teams defensive strengths and vica versa.  The Clippers have the 5th most efficient offense but the Grizzlies the 8th most efficient defense.  The Grizzlies boast the number one defensive turnover rate and the Clippers are ranked #2 in ball security.  Both teams are top 4 in offensive rebounding rate but about average in limiting second chance points.  One thing you'll notice however is the Clippers do tend to have a slight advantage where it really counts (effective field goal percentage).  The Clippers are #6 in jump shooting offense while the Grizzlies are 24th.  The Clippers advantage in shooting offense and defense is ultimately why they're projected to have the statistical advantage.  However, Memphis has home court advantage which could be a huge factor should this go 7 games.  I'll side with the home team in this series but very cautiously.  If the Clippers can steal a road win, they'll have a great chance to win the series.  As for the total, neither team is very strong defensively and both are prone to excessive fouling so this could be a relatively high scoring series despite their tendencies to run at a below average pace.  Look for value on the over as I'm expecting Vegas to open the first total around 193.  Memphis in 7.

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#6
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:19:17 PM
#8 Philadelphia 76ers vs. #1 Chicago Bulls

You wouldn't expect the 1-8 match-up to be a contest between two of the best defenses in the NBA but thanks to Philadelphia's collapse in the second half of the season that's exactly what we have.  The defensive skill of these two teams is really quite impressive (PHI #2 ; CHI #3 defensive efficiency) (PHI #1 ; Chicago #2 scoring defense).  What's even more impressive than the raw production numbers is how consistent they are across the board in the four factors.  Both teams are ranked in the top 10 in every defensive metric (eFG%, TOR, ORR, FTR).  They play good spot up defense, they produce turnovers, they limit second chance points and they don't foul.  Unfortunately the betting public is well aware that this is going to be a defensive match-up so don't expect to see any totals set above 180.  Vegas knows full-well that the under will be a popular bet in this series and they won't make it easy for under backers to cash these obvious tickets.  Enough about the total, let's take a look at why Chicago could sweep this series.  Before I get into their statistical advantage, I'll explain why they're actually favored to win their road games by an average of 3.2 ppg.  Chicago had the best road record in the NBA this season and the statistics back this up.  According to my home/away power rankings the Bulls had an incredible +6.33 rating (to put this into perspective there were only 7 teams in the NBA with positive road rankings and OKC was second best at +4.07).  The Bulls are the best road team by far.  In fact, their average margin of victory was actually higher on the road (+8.3 ppg) compared to at home (+7.4 ppg).  Obviously both defenses are elite, but what the Bulls have that the 76ers don't is offense to back it up.  The Bulls can score anywhere on the court, they're the #3 ranked three-point team, #12 in jump shots and even though they're #24 at the rim their #1 ORR rank gives them great second chance opportunities off their misses.  Not only are they efficient at scoring (#6 in offensive efficiency) but they attack with variety.  They only generate 66% of their attempts with jumpers which is the 6th lowest in the NBA.  By comparison, Philadelphia's 76% is the highest in the NBA.  Philadelphia simply can't penetrate the interior, and when you run a one-dimensional offense like that in the playoffs you're doomed to fail (especially against a team as defensively talented as Chicago).  The Bulls rank #3 in jump shot defense and since Philadelphia already is a below average jump shooting team it's fair to say that they're going to struggle to score all series.  The Bulls won't have nearly as hard a time putting up points against the 76ers and that's why I think they can sweep this series.  Bulls win 4-0.

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#7
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:19:36 PM
#7 New York Knicks vs. #2 Miami Heat

A 2 versus 7 - should be an easy series for the Heat right?  After all the Heat are the only team that swept their post season competitor in the regular season (3-0).  Not so fast.  The Heat have been a poor road team all year (14 of Miami's 19 losses this season came on the road) and the Knicks have a great home court.  The Heat were still above .500 in their road games but their average margin of victory was only +2.2 on the road compared to +10.9 at home.  These metrics tell a similar story about the Knicks who averaged a +7.3 margin of victory at home but a -1.5 margin of defeat on the road.  These numbers are mirrored in my home/away power rankings that suggest home court is worth a whopping +6.03 points in this series.  This is why my model projects New York as a 3.39 point favorite in their home games.  This wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for New York being only 2.64 points worse than the Heat on a neutral court.  Why?  Incredibly the Knicks are one of only a handful of teams in the NBA that have a positive differential in each of the four factors.  This will help them stay within striking difference of the Heat all series and give them a legitimate chance to win some of their home games.  Obviously the Heat are still the better team overall and this is due to their explosive offense.  Miami has the fourth highest offensive efficiency, points per game and effective field goal percentage.  Their offense will ultimately e the difference in this series however I don't think it will be enough to continue the season sweep.  The Knicks have one significant advantage that could single-handedly carry them to a couple of victories and perhaps even a road upset.  Even though the Knicks are ranked #26 in three-point eFG%, they attempt the third most three pointers per game.  Bad news for Miami, they rank #27 in three point defense and this is one of their few vulnerabilities on the defensive end.  The Knicks have a number of knock-down three point shooters (Steve Novak might be the best three point shooter in the entire NBA right now) and if they get hot hands at any point this series they can give Miami fits.  This is not likely to carry them to a series upset, but it should at least help them avoid the sweep.  Look for Miami to win this series in 5-6 games.

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#8
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:19:51 PM
 #6 Orlando Magic vs. #3 Indiana Pacers

If Orlando had Howard in the line-up I would have predicted the Magic to upset the Pacers but sadly that's not the case.  The public is well aware of Howard's importance to this Magic team.  Without him dominating in the paint they not only  lose a powerful interior defender  but they also lose the ability to  spread the floor with their outside shooters.  Orlando is built around the inside-out game, and with Howard drawing double teams on the inside, they were able to generate wide open three point looks and that's why they rank #1 in three point attempts and #4 in three point eFG%.  Without Howard, these numbers will drop significantly.  In fact, I've calculated Howard to be worth an amazing 8.86 points per game (the Magic's offense scores -5.57 less points per game and their defense allows +3.29  more points per game).  Vegas knows that Indiana will be a popular bet all series so they won't make it easy for people blindly fading the Magic.  I'm not going to spend any more time over-analyzing the data in this series since Howard's absence obviously changes everything.  The fact of the matter is Indiana should win this series comfortably.  With a +10.2 advantage on their own court they shouldn't lose a single home game and with a +3.18 advantage on the road all signs point to Indiana winning this series in 4-5 games.  Orlando might get lucky and steal one game from the Pacers, but I wouldn't count on much more than that.  Get out your broom sticks, this series should be a sweep for the Pacers.

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#9
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:20:06 PM
#5 Atlanta Hawks vs. #4 Boston Celtics

Along with Philadelphia and Chicago, this will be the lowest scoring playoff series in the first round.  We have two teams that run at a slow pace (ATL #23 ; BOS #22), with inefficient offenses (ATL #18 ; BOS #26), and elite defenses (ATL #6 , BOS #1).  Using these numbers alone, you can derive that the average expected total in this series will be around 178.5 but my model projects the average total of this series to be even lower - why?  Well neither team is very efficient offensively at the rim or attempts a high percentage of shots in this zone.  Atlanta attempts 24 shots at the rim to little success with the 22nd worst eFG% and Boston attempts 23 shots with the 15th worst eFG%.  There's no reason to think either team to have any more success attacking the rim in this series since Atlanta ranks #10 in rim defense and Boston ranks #3.  This means you can expect a lot of possessions to end in jump shots.  Even though both teams are reasonably efficient at knocking down jumpers (ATL #7; BOS #10), their respected defenses are even better at defending them.  Atlanta ranks #6 in jump shooting defense and Boston ranks #2.  Sometimes missing jumpers can lead to second chance points but that's unlikely to happen with these two teams.  Atlanta ranks #25 in offensive rebounding and Boston ranks dead last at #30.  Both teams prefer to get a head start setting up their defenses rather than crashing the offensive glass.  One final metric has a huge influence on totals and that's free throw rate (high FTR's = higher scores).  However, Atlanta plays disciplined defense allowing the 6th lowest opponent free throw rate and Boston is a little below average at #19.  This shouldn't matter much since neither team is very good at drawing fouls anyways (ATL #21 ; BOS #25).  Atlanta has a slight edge statistically and home court advantage is a valuable asset in the NBA post season, but Boston is an experienced playoff team so they know how to play this style better than just about anybody else and Atlanta doesn't have the same type of fan base at their home games for this to be a big factor.  The way these two teams match-up, I wouldn't be surprised if the series goes 7 games.  Atlanta has the statistical advantage based on regular season averages but Boston has the intangible advantage based on their experience and game plan strategies.  I recommend ignoring the side in this series and just betting the under instead.  I'm expecting Vegas to open up the first game with a total around 179 but I project these games to finish in the lower 170's.

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#10
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:40:27 PM

OMG!!! What an awesome write up. I have this feeling that you are going to be right about 90%. THANK YOU si1ly for this awesome write up. Can't wait til Saturday for the start of NBA playoff.

BOL,

 AND

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#11
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:47:03 PM
QUOTE Originally Posted by VietBlonde:

OMG!!! What an awesome write up. I have this feeling that you are going to be right about 90%. THANK YOU si1ly for this awesome write up. Can't wait til Saturday for the start of NBA playoff.

BOL,

 AND


I'd love a 90% winning rate!  
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#12
Posted: 4/26/2012 9:58:20 PM
good info i think agood box pounding is in order on a 4 team series parlay bet bulls thunder lakers spurs also like knicks pacers clippers and celtics
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#13
Posted: 4/26/2012 11:06:48 PM
thx info bro
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#14
Posted: 4/26/2012 11:12:37 PM
thx for the write-up,
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#15
Posted: 4/26/2012 11:17:21 PM
Don't forget to check out the link in the first post.  

It gives you access to the complete statistical breakdown of each series in the form of a downloadable .PDF file.  The write-ups that are posted above are on each of the respected sheets.  

They'll make a great resource to print out and keep with you while you're handicapping the games in the first round of the playoffs.


Good luck!
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#16
Posted: 4/26/2012 11:17:28 PM
thanks bro .
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#17
Posted: 4/26/2012 11:34:52 PM
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#18
Posted: 4/27/2012 12:54:46 AM
very good writeup.
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#19
Posted: 4/27/2012 12:57:20 AM
thank you.
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#20
Posted: 4/27/2012 1:05:34 AM
Great job, thanks
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#21
Posted: 4/27/2012 2:00:11 AM
Good write up but surprised you didnt mention how badly Chicago has struggled against the Sixers over the last 2 yrs - losing 4 of their last 6 to Philly.  Bulls should win (granted Rose stays healthy - big if) but to expect a sweep when they struggle as much vs Philly as they have seems to be a stretch.
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#22
Posted: 4/27/2012 2:09:59 AM
Incredible work... good luck!
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#23
Posted: 4/27/2012 2:16:57 AM
thank you for your time to help us out.. always appreciated!!
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#24
Posted: 4/27/2012 2:17:32 AM
QUOTE Originally Posted by rzagza:

Good write up but surprised you didnt mention how badly Chicago has struggled against the Sixers over the last 2 yrs - losing 4 of their last 6 to Philly.  Bulls should win (granted Rose stays healthy - big if) but to expect a sweep when they struggle as much vs Philly as they have seems to be a stretch.

Here's what it comes down to.  I don't like jump shooting teams in the playoffs because their offense tends to be one dimensional and that makes them easy to defend.  No team attempts more jump shots per game than the 6ers and the Bulls are an elite team in spot-up defense.  The Bulls were 2-1 against Philadelphia this year and that's more important to me than anything that happened two years ago.  In playoff basketball - basketball that tends to be slower and more defensive - one dimensional jump shooting teams are the worst type of offense to have.  Chicago is clearly the best team in the East and I don't think they'll have any problems dispatching Philadelphia.  My statistical models confirm this.  

And I'm not worried about D. Rose's health at all.  The first two games are in Chicago so he'll get the minutes he needs to get back into rhythm with the Bulls playoff offense.  They babied his injuries like the Pittsburgh Penguins did with Crosby.  Rose is too valuable to the organization and the Bulls were playing well enough without him to rush him back from any injury no matter how serious.  He just signed a 100 million dollar long term contract!  Too much coin on the line.  I'm confident that he'll be fine.  Definitely not a 'big if' as you suggest.
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#25
Posted: 4/27/2012 2:36:25 AM
The Lakers are going DOWN! Anyone ever heard of team chemisrty? Denver was on fire at the end of the season? Were the Lakers? Come on MAN! No World Peace in Laketown. Nuggets Series Bank!
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