How NBA Playoff Betting Differs From Regular Season

Posted by Eric Williams on April 12, 2016 in

Just like postseason NBA basketball is played a bit differently from the regular season, the strategies used to cash in on postseason NBA action vary ever so slightly as well.You see, come playoff time, fast break up-tempo basketball generally becomes more deliberately paced playoff hoops (unless you’re Golden State). Coaches in both conferences place more of a premium placed on making the most out of each possession, thereby effectively altering the outcome of what a ‘normal’ regular season meeting looks like.

Thanks to the bettor-friendly management at and this expert pro basketball betting analysis on how NBA playoff bets differ from the regular season could help you cash in early and often over the course of the quickly-approaching postseason. Okay, with that said, and the regular season steamrolling to a fast and furious finish this week, let’s get started.

Differences Between Betting on the NBA Playoffs and the Regular Season

Lower Scoring

If you don’t know by now, scoring in most NBA postseason games is generally lower than in the regular season. The main reason is that referees generally allow players to get away with a bit more than in the regular season while turning more of a ‘blind eye’ to away from the ball fouls and ‘touch’ fools that don’t affect players much.

Fewer foul calls means fewer free throw attempts when the cock is stopped, thereby effectively lowering the final score more often than in a regular season contest. Another reason there is less scoring in the postseason is that head coaches instruct their players to take fewer chances with the ball to decrease turnovers and increase their chances of a successful possession. You’ll generally see fewer length-of-court passes and fast breaks in the postseason, not to mention, harder ‘playoff’ fouls.


Does one team have more unity than another? Is one ballclub more determined in its resolve to advance to the next round? While every team in the playoffs wants to win and advance, the fact of the matter is that it often doesn’t take long to figure out which team has more resolve, particularly in series that feature two nearly evenly matched teams.

The 2008 Boston Celtics and 2014 San Antonio Spurs come quickly to mind for me as teams whose resolve was unsurpassed those respective seasons. Team unity – or dysfunction – can either make or break any NBA team in the postseason.

Toss Out the Regular Season – to a Certain Extent!

In many instances, you should toss out the results of the regular season meetings between a pair of playoff opponents. Case in point, the Chicago Bulls have gone 3-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers this season. The Bulls almost certainly won’t reach the postseason, yet the Cavs are the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Now, imagine the Bulls getting the eighth and final playoff spot and meeting the Cavs in the first round. You had better believe that there is almost no way that LeBron James lets Cleveland lose in the first round no matter how the Cavs fared against the Bulls in the regular season.

In other instances, such as the Golden State Warriors’ 3-1 regular season record against the San Antonio Spurs, I believe that will mean a lot to the collective psyche’s of both teams should the pair end up meeting in the Western Conference Finals.

Must-Win Games

Each team that is thrilling in a particular series gets to a point where they have a ‘must-win’ game! Whether the trailing team is down 0-2 or 3-2, this ballclub generally plays at a higher level simply because of sheer desperation. Now, depending on whether or not the trailing team is playing at home or away carries plenty of weight when it comes to must-win games, but the fact of the matter is that ‘desperate’ teams generally go all-out in order to keep their season alive.

Edge in Experience

While it’s nice to look at young teams and dream about while project their ceilings, but the fact of the matter is that young teams rarely win in the postseason. With both, the intensity and importance of playoff games being heightened, young players are often overwhelmed in their first or even second trip to the postseason while wily veterans now exactly what to expect. The team with the more experienced core group has a much better chance of advance than their younger counterparts.

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Star Power Means Even More!

You may or may not know this, but teams with true superstars have a much better chance of advancing in any round than a team with a bunch of ‘good’ players but not a true superstar. Case in point, the 2015 Atlanta Hawks won the Eastern Conference a year ago with guys like Al Horford, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Teague combining to beat any less unified or experienced team – before running into – and falling to – the LeBron James-led Cavaliers in a series that wasn’t very close or exciting. Simply put, star power means more in the postseason!