As spring turns into summer, the betting action around the NBA heats up as the regular season gives way for the playoffs.
One might think that things become difficult to bet on because most teams are relatively evenly matched. The reality shows that there’s usually a few things bettors can count on for bettors looking for relatively stable betting. Here’s a few tips for betting the NBA playoffs.
NBA Playoff Betting Tips
Top Seeds Will Win
For fans of parity, the NBA playoffs are not for you. From 2016-2018, a lower seeded team in a series has won 8 times of 45. The only series that regularly saw the lower seed beat a higher seed is the 5 seed over the 4 seed in the western conference, the last time the #4 beat the #5 was 2011.
Of course everyone remember Cleveland vs Golden State for 4 straight years, but for the most part they were the top teams in the playoffs. They were often the betting favorites, and it’s resulted in one of the longest running final rivalries ever.
The best teams in the regular season are going to do well in the NBA playoffs. It’s not like the NHL where the best team in the regular season often burns out in the playoffs, the nature of the NBA allows the regular season champion to continue performing through the playoffs.
Bet on Star-Studded Lineups
On the same thought goes for the biggest stars in the game. The bigger the star, the more likely a team is to win.
Of course, you have to be unbiased about who’s the bigger star. For example, as huge of a star as James Harden is, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry featured on a more star-studded lineup with the Golden State Warriors.
The reason that NBA fans saw Cleveland vs Golden State for so many years in a row was simply Lebron James vs Steph Curry. Kevin Love vs Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving vs Klay Thompson. No two teams put together more star studded rosters as Cleveland and Golden State over the years of 2015-2018.
The more stars you can find on a roster, the more likely you’ll see that team carry on a run in the NBA playoffs. Higher seeds might get “upset” by a lower seeded team, but, for example, the 2018 Golden State Warriors were a more star-studded team than the #1 Houston Rockets.
Regular Season MVP Means Nothing
More often than not, the regular season MVP and team probably won’t mean anything in the NBA playoffs. Steph Curry was the last regular season MVP to win the NBA final, and it was back in the NBA 2015 Final.
Since the 2014-2015 NBA season, not one regular season MVP won the NBA Finals. 2017-2018, James Harden’s Houston Rockets lost in the Western Conference finals. 2016-2017, Russell Westbrook’s Oklahoma City went out in the first round. 2015-2016, Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors lost in the final.
Going back to the previous point, you still have to consider who has the most star studded roster. The best player in the league can carry a team to the playoffs, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to carry a team in a 7-game series against stacked roster after stacked roster.
Over/Under Is a Red Herring
The over/under bets in NBA playoffs games are probably something to avoid. Because the over/under is so high during the NBA playoffs that it seems easy to take the under and you’d be safe. The reality is that the games are so incredibly high scoring that the over/under is usually a tough bet.
Just about the only time that one should bet an over/under in the NBA playoffs is when the over/under is set under 200. If the over/under is under 200, take the over, because it’s extremely common for NBA playoffs games to finish with both teams over 100 points.