How To Take Advantage of NBA and NHL Series Odds
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 5/4/2010
Betting on series prices in the NBA and NHL playoffs is an investment. It’s an investment because even with the best results you are going to have to wait over a week for a payout. However, this can be a great investment because with the right strategy you can protect yourself or increase the payout as the series goes on.
Series odds exist for MLB regular season series and playoff series and also for the NBA and NHL playoffs. For the best-of-seven series you are wagering on which team will win four games first and advance to the next round. The money line prices are generally the same for individual games. For instance if the favorite is -150 the underdog in the series will likely be around +130.
In seven-game series favorites generally have a much steeper price mostly because for an upset to occur it would have to occur over the span of four games, not just one fluke game. Top seeds in the playoffs could see a price anywhere from -400 to -1000.
Many online sportsbooks update series prices after each game. This allows bettors to get out of the bet if they want and limiting their losses or cashing out early. The following live series prices are from BetUS.
For example in the NHL the Detroit Red Wings entered their second round series against the San Jose Sharks as a +120 underdog. The Sharks were favored at a price of -150. After two games in San Jose the Sharks led their series 2-0. Bettors who wanted to take Detroit but did not can now get them for a price of +300. Bettors who took San Jose at -150 can now protect their bet by placing a bet on Detroit at +300.
One of the most disheartening parts about betting an underdog in the playoffs is watching that team fight through and force a Game 7 only to lose the deciding game. There is no difference in the mind of a bettor if the underdog was swept or forced a Game 7 and lost – the wager is still a loser. That is unless they act on game seven.
For example, in the first round of the NHL playoffs the No. 8 seed Montreal Canadiens were facing odds as high as +500 to win their first-round series against the No. 1 seed Washington Capitals. Heading into the deciding Game 7 the Canadiens were +260 on the money line just for that game against Washington, who was -300. If a bettor risked $100 to win $500 on the Canadiens at the beginning of the series he can then turn around in Game 7 and risk $300 to win $100 on the Capitals. The reward for picking Montreal at the beginning of the series would be a Game 7 situation where you would either break even with a Washington win or collect $200 if Montreal would win.
The opposite of that would be if someone took Washington at the beginning of the series. Rather than risk losing a large amount a bettor could cut his losses and take Montreal on the Game 7 money line so he could recoup some of his losses if the Game 7 upset did in fact happen.
These investments can sometimes be cashed in after just a few games. In the NBA playoffs the Boston Celtics were able to tie up the series 1-1 with a win in Cleveland. The Cavaliers all of a sudden went from a -450 series favorite to -250. If a bettor jumped on Boston at +400 early on, they can now easily hedge on Cleveland at -250 to ensure a profit or a breakeven point after the series. The bettor can even take a chance and try to sell even higher by waiting for Game 3 and hoping the Celtics have one more win left. At that point the Cleveland price will be extremely low and a hedge would almost be a no-brainer.
Some people suggest making your series price bet and sitting back and letting things sort themselves out. But taking a proactive approach with things could minimize losses and ensure at least some profit.
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