The NBA Playoffs tip off this weekend and present a different challenge to basketball bettors than the regular season grind. Here are some handicapping tips and tactics to help you turn a profit this postseason.
Tip No. 1: Don’t fear the chalk
The NBA has been a very top-heavy league in recent years, with a huge gap in talent between the higher seeds and the rest of the playoff contenders. The 2018 postseason is really no different, with elite clubs like Houston and Golden State out West and Cleveland remaining the team to beat in the East despite finishing fourth.
Those top-tier clubs may coast at times in the regular season but show no mercy on the road to the NBA Finals. Over the past two years, teams seeded one through four have gone a collective 86-61-1 against the spread as favorites in the NBA Playoffs – a 58.5 percent winning clip. That includes a 66-47-1 ATS mark in the first two rounds of the postseason.
This year, the pecking order in the Western Conference has the Rockets, Warriors, Trail Blazers, and Thunder as the top three seeds, while the Raptors, Celtics, Sixers, and Cavaliers round out the Top 4 in the East.
Tip No. 2: The 0-2 trend
One of the most impressive NBA Playoff trends – and one of the best in all of sports betting – has to do with playing on teams with their backs to the wall. You’re going to want to write this one down, so go get a pen.
OK, ready? Listen up: when a team goes down 0-2 in a series, you’re going to want to bet on them to cover the first-half spread in Game 3 of that playoff set.
Got it? Good. This obscure trend produced a 9-3 ATS mark in this situation last postseason, was an incredible 19-0 for first-half spread bettors the two years prior and has produced 64-32-7 ATS return since the 2007 NBA Playoffs – that’s a 67 percent long-term winner.
Like any good trend, there’s a narrative behind this one: teams are in panic mode facing an oh-three hole and come out strong in the opening 24 minutes of Game 3, giving great value to anyone betting on them to cover the first-half spread.
Tip No. 3: In-game is gold
The pressure of the postseason can produce unpredictable results. You’ll see high-scoring teams tossing up bricks, and underdogs jumping out to big leads over top-seeded sides. These anomalies open up the window for those fans of live betting, as weirdo result do tend to correct themselves over the course of 48 minutes.
Some of the best in-game value is found when a favorite falls behind early. The live odds will discount the better squad, giving you a shorter spread or a plus-money outright line, and many times that more-talented team will battle back in cash in for those that took a chance on their in-game lines.
Live betting also a great way to hedge pregame wagers and gives you the ability to middle spreads and totals as the live odds adjust to the action on the court.
For more NBA odds and insight, check out our NBA home page and be sure to follow us on Twitter @Covers for breaking news and the best NBA betting info during the playoffs. Remember, “Winning Starts Here”.