Betting on the NBA playoffs can be worthwhile venture, if done correctly, or a costly endeavor, when done wrongly. It all comes down to a avoiding certain NBA betting pitfalls, a good number of which we will briefly highlight for you below.
Pitfalls You Should Avoid When Betting on the NBA Playoffs
Avoid Biased Focus on Form at the End of the Season
During the final month or weeks of the season, different teams approach the schedule differently, depending on their position in the playoff standings. For instance, most teams that have already clinched solid playoff spots tend to rest their starters, leaving the bulk of the work to be done by their Team B’s, which could easily lead to losses in games that they’d have otherwise won. For others, poor performances in the final weeks come as a result of injury concerns. And yet still, we have other teams that over-perform beyond expectations, either because they are fighting to reach the playoffs or the teams they faced were bottom-feeders. To have a circumspect outlook of a team and how it is likely to perform in the playoffs, avoid a biased look at SU and ATS records, or even scoring and defensive records down the stretch of the season. Instead, take a wholesome look at those numbers while you duly consider the circumstances that surrounded their good or bad form.
Don’t Handicap Performances on Big Names, Do So on Strength of Teams
Kawhi Leonard may be the most all-rounded defender in the NBA, but that doesn’t mean he will be able to stop opposing teams on his own. For success in the playoffs, even Leonard will need help from his teammates. When handicapping games, look at the overall depth of a team and the balance it has rather than just focusing on individual names. Stars will always find a way of shining, no doubt, but for success in the NBA playoffs, solid teams hold more value than these stars. And while you are it, remember that matchups play a crucial role in handicapping playoff NBA odds, so ensure that your handicapping process takes into account the potential matchups between bigs and smalls and how effective the teams have fared against each other in the past.
Coaching is Key, But It Isn’t everything in the NBA Playoffs
We all know that Gregg Popovich is the most decorated coach in the NBA and the value he brings to his team is extremely important. In fact, were it not for him, we probably wouldn’t be talking of San Antonio’s dominance in the NBA over the past decade or so. Nevertheless, coaching is just one aspect of handicapping a game, so don’t overvalue it. Give credence to coaching as you should do to other elements of handicapping a game, including form, past records, momentum and balance of a team, among others. If coaching was the most important thing in the NBA playoffs, the Spurs would be the reigning NBA champions right now… and last I checked, they aren’t.
Wins and Sweeps are Possible, But Not Guaranteed Even for the Best Teams
In the NBA, every player and every team can have an off-day. That’s the reason otherworldly players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry witness shooting slumps in their stellar careers. And it is because of the same reason that the record-breaking Warriors of 2015-16 suffered nine losses in their season, with more than half of those losses coming against teams with pathetic losing records. So, just because a team is strong entering the playoffs doesn’t mean it will sweep its inferior opponent, even if it already did that in the regular season. The playoffs come with a different intensity and small (but crucial factors) like an injury to a key player, costly turnover, an unexpected foul or even a missed call by the referee, can easily change the outcome of a game or series. As a sharp bettor, be ready to account for such eventualities, instead of just picking wins and sweeps without reading much into the game and possible outcomes.
OVER Totals Don’t Come Easy in the Playoffs
Everyone loves shootouts and high-scoring games, no wonder most recreational bettors tend to pound on OVERs in game totals. What these bettors don’t realize is that most teams tend to play better defense when in the playoffs, meaning most postseason games have a tendency of being low-scoring with muted totals. So, as a candid rule, remember that although OVER totals are possible, they don’t come easily or frequently in the playoffs. And just because a team has been scoring highly in the regular season doesn’t mean it will do the same in the playoffs.