NBA Handicapping – Prepping for the NBA Playoffs

Evaluating Match-ups and Isolating Situations in the NBA Playoffs

More than any other sport, the home court advantage is dominant in the NBA playoffs. However, many bettors fail to recognize that handicapping the NBA playoffs is an entirely different process than the grind and situations that arise throughout the regular season.  What works situationally during the regular season does not necessarily transfer to the playoffs when the intensity level is far greater game after game.

You’re going to hear the ‘talking heads’ talk over and over about home court, streaks and dominant teams like Golden State and San Antonio. But as each series go deeper into the playoffs, the home court edge becomes less except for situations in Game 7. For the second-straight season, the Warriors went 39-2 at home. But recall Golden State lost two playoff games last year on their way to winning the championship, and were just 5-6 ATS at home in the playoffs.

So it’s clear that with stronger teams across the board in the playoffs, we see a better brand of basketball and increased interest. With that greater intensity comes the dissolution of much of a team’s personality that has evolved during the course of the regular season. For starters, the defense becomes much more intense. The individual player match-ups become key over the course of the 7-game series.

Coaches find ways to isolate key mismatches and substitute at certain positions. No longer do the coaches have to worry about battling lengthy road trips or jockeying for playoff position like so many teams faced in the closing weeks of this year’s regular season.

Continuity is key and that makes a team like Memphis tough to support, as the Grizzlies suffered a league-high number of injuries and will be without their top-2 scorers and players in the playoffs with center Marc Gasol and point guard Mike Conley out.

There are a number of Class A teams in this year’s playoffs that won at least 54 games during the regular season. That will set up some strong proven profiles and situations as we get deeper into the playoffs and these top teams meet.

This year’s Class A team list includes: Golden State (73), San Antonio (67), Cleveland (57), Toronto (56) and Oklahoma City (55). The LA Clippers just missed with 53 wins, but we’ll evaluate them as such should they get to round 2.

With some one-sided NBA series prices, we’re going to see some big point spreads on these top teams especially with Golden State and San Antonio so dominant at home this season going 39-2 and 40-1 with all three losses very late in the season. We’re already seeing this in the Game 1 lines with the Warriors (-13), Spurs (-15) along with the Thunder (-12) and Cavaliers (-11) laying big chalk. In many seasons past, these big double-digit favorite have often had success in Game 1 of any series. However, sizable underdogs have proven more profitable over time in the NBA playoffs where hard fought 7-game series rarely produce many easy wins. Note that this season all playoff teams produced a .500 or better records as they being the 2016 playoffs.

There is no substantive advantage for one team to blowout the other or win by bigger margins, realizing that they can save energy and potential embarrassment when facing the same opponent in the next 2-3 days. Some solid situations will evolve with some of these big ‘Dogs, and note too that in the Detroit-Cleveland series, there is a huge mismatch on the bench with the Pistons Stan Van Gundy versus the Cavaliers Tyronn Lu.

Many bettors love to follow the ‘zig zag’ theory in the NBA playoffs; betting on the team that lost the last game. But over time the linemaker has adjusted to many of the once proven theories, and those edges, situations and much of the success evaporated over five years ago.

There is much to evaluate and consider as you handicap the playoff match-ups and watch, wager and hopefully win. Many situations and match-ups in our postseason plays will also include totals situations, and I’ve utilized many proven situations and adjustments in totals betting with success for over a decade.

If you don’t have the time, energy or ability to research information, analyze match-ups and utilize years of experience in handicapping playoff basketball, then join me and other members for more victories and value in this year’s NBA playoffs as we continue our late season success that included a 36-13 ATS run through the NBA regular season since January 28. In addition, our postseason college basketball record for members finished a strong 28-12 (70%) including 18-8 in the NCAA Tournament.

Best wishes as you analyze and watch the games and shoot for more winners.

Author: FairwayJay is a leading national sports betting analyst, writer, handicapper and sports betting insider providing insight and information you can bet on for nearly two decades from Las Vegas. He chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events for leading media and sports betting sites and companies. Follow him on X (Twitter): @FairwayJay