The one basketball betting trend you have to know for the NBA Playoffs

Apr 11, 2018 |

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And that’s what makes this particular NBA Playoffs betting trend so profitable.

If you ran in NBA betting circles on Twitter last spring, you may have stumbled upon this incredible postseason spot bet that’s been turning out 67 percent winners over the past 11 years.

The set-up is simple enough: when a NBA team falls behind 0-2 in a playoff series, bet on them to cover the first-half pointspread in Game 3.

If you did that in 2017, you would have walked away with a 9-3 ATS record. And if you were privy to this trend the past three postseasons, you’d be riding a 28-3 ATS windfall with that first-half situational system going 10-0 ATS in 2016 and 9-0 ATS in 2015. In fact, betting on a team down 0-2 to cover the first-half spread in Game 3 is 64-32-7 ATS in the NBA Playoffs since 2007.

The best part about this trend is that there’s a strong narrative to back it up. Unlike some betting trends, that have no rhyme or reason, basketball bettors can easily connect the dots when it comes to the motivation behind those trailing teams and the value that lies in their odds for the first 24 minutes of Game 3. That narrative is definitely not lost on bookmakers either.

"Flat out simple to understand, teams that are down 0-2 come out and play with far more desperation than they do for other games," Peter Childs, supervisor of risk management for Sportsbook.ag, told Covers during last year’s playoffs.

"Teams can't afford to go down 0-3, so in must-win spots like being down 0-2, they come out blazing. And for the team they're playing, they're up 2-0 in the series. They are fat and happy and don't come out with the same urgency as their counterparts."

Thanks to the lack of parity in the NBA, basketball bettors were blessed with this opportunity six times in the opening round of the playoffs last year, and three more times in the conference semifinals. It fizzled out in the conference finals and NBA Finals, which both saw three teams fall behind 0-2 but came up short versus the first-half spread in Game 3.

With the average juice on a first-half bet being -110, a $100 wager on each of those 103 qualified situations for this remarkable trend would have returned $2,304 in winnings since 2007. And looking at just the past three NBA postseason, followers of this first-half system would be up $2,218.

NBA bettors will want to keep an eye out for this situation to set itself up in the opening round of the playoffs, with action tipping off this weekend and Game 3’s scheduled for April 19, 20 and 21.


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