NBA Playoffs Betting Advice: First Round ATS Trends
by George Monroy - 4/29/2014
The NBA is currently embroiled in a huge and saddening controversy over alleged racist comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. What has been lost in all the media attention, however, is that the league is experiencing one of the most competitive, and perhaps best, playoffs in NBA history. The Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers series is so evenly matched that the teams played three overtime games during the first four matchups up the series.
Nearly every other series has been compelling drama, but the most interesting aspect of the 2014 playoffs, for bettors at least, is the fact that underdogs and road teams have been winning at an astounding rate. The Dallas Mavericks are currently 4-0 ATS heading into its Game 5 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. And just in case anyone has forgotten, that series is a No. 1 versus No. 8 matchup, where traditionally the bottom seed will be lucky to cover one spread.
The good news for fans is that the NBA playoffs still have a long way to go. And if we are lucky, these great matchups will continue all the way into June. Let's take a closer look at a few ATS trends from the first round.
Heading into final games of the first round, five of the 16 playoff teams had a 3-1 or better ATS record through the first four games. The surprising part, however, is that four of those teams are the underdog. Dallas is still perfect against the Spurs, while also managing to produce a 2-2 SU split. Washington, Golden State and Memphis have all covered three of its first four matchups. The only favorite to have a winning ATS record so far is the Miami Heat, who covered three of their four matchups on the way to a sweep of Charlotte.
Here is a quick look at every team's ATS record so far:
Golden State: 3-1
Oklahoma City: 1-3
Los Angeles: 1-3
San Antonio: 0-4
Lower seeds covering spreads
The biggest trend through the first round has been lower-seeded teams covering spreads. Through the first 33 games, the lower seed has produced a 20-12-1 ATS record and currently holds series leads or ties in seven of the eight first-round matchups, which to be honest is quite shocking. The NBA is not known for its parity amongst teams, and usually the playoffs are split between the haves and have nots.
The underdog in each game has produced an even better ATS mark and has gone 21-11-1 through the first 33 games and started out on fire, going 17-4-1 through the first 22 games of the playoffs. Taking the points has been by far the best way to make a profit during the early part of the playoffs.
Totals and the "over"
Four of the eight playoff series have either split or gone slightly above .500 in their totals records during the first five games. However, the other four matchups have gone over at an astounding rate. Between the Houston versus Portland, Washington versus Chicago and Los Angeles versus Golden State matchups, the over has produced an 11-1 record through 12 games so far. That number is even more shocking when taking into account that both the Rockets and Clippers series have routinely seen totals in the 210 range.
Houston and Portland have gone over their posted total by an average of 20 points per game so far, while Washing and Chicago have gone over by 14 points. The Clippers and Warriors have played the closest matchups to their totals and have gone over by an average of 3.5 points per game. Los Angeles hasn't had the luxury of going into overtime in three of their four matchups like Houston has.
Playoff trends can change in a matter of seconds, and as bettors it is our duty to stay ahead of the curve---if you plan on winning at least-however, what we do know from the early part of the first round is that nearly every series is evenly-matched. The underdogs might continue to be a great bet for the entirety of the postseason, just be sure to do your research and continue to bet wisely.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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