NBA Playoffs Betting: Taking a Closer Look at Games 3 and 4
by George Monroy - 4/22/2014
The NBA playoffs opened with a few surprising, and some not-so surprising, upsets during the first few days of action. The underdogs blitzed their way to a 7-3 ATS record over the first 10 games of action and left a few of the higher-seeded teams in some difficult positions. Both the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder will go on the road needing a victory to take back home-court advantage, while the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets all lost Game 1 on their own floor.
Six of the eight first-round matchups will head into the lower-seeded team's home court with at least a 1-1 split over the first two games. The big question now is how will the top-seeded teams respond heading into Games 3 and 4 on the road? At first glance, it may seem like the higher-seeded team still has the advantage heading into these games. However, is that really the case? Let's take a closer look at a few stats and trends and figure out what typically happens once a series moves into those pivotal games.
NBA Playoffs Betting: Games 3 and 4 Trends
During the 2013 playoffs, the higher-seeded team went 8-8 during Games 3 and 4, but most either won or lost both games. Of last season's eight first-round series, only two teams spilt Games 3 and 4, while the other six series matchups featured one of the teams sweeping both games.
Our big question is: which team has the advantage heading into Games 3 and 4 of the first round?
Over the last 10 playoffs there have been 16 first-round sweeps, which amounts to the lower-seeded squad not winning a home game 20 percent of the time. The first take away, when looking at Games 3 and 4, is that they have rarely been split over the last three seasons, and one team (whether the higher or lower seed) tends to dominate them.
Here is a quick look at the trends for Games 3 and 4.
Thee-Year Stats and Trends
- Games 3 and 4 have been split only eight times in 24 tries over the last three years.
- The higher-seeded team has won both games eight times.
- The lower-seeded team has won both games eight times.
- A team swept both games 66 percent of the time.
- Teams are 24-24 over the last three seasons.
- A 1-1 split happened only 34 percent of the time.
Over that three-year period, Games 3 and 4 have been split evenly, with both teams winning 24 games apiece. Neither team has enjoyed an historical advantage during that span, but what the numbers do show is that one of those squads has won both games 66 percent of the time. The surprising part is that the lower-seeded team has won both games the same number of times as its higher-seeded opponent.
Here is also a quick look at Games 3 and 4 over a six-postseason window.
Six-Year Stats and Trends
- The higher-seeded team is 50-46 during Games 3 and 4 over the last six postseasons.
- 1-1 splits have happened 22 times in that span.
- 2-0 sweeps for the higher-seeded team have happened 14 times.
- 2-0 sweeps for the lower-seeded team have happened 12 times.
- Games 3 and 4 were split 46 percent of the time over the last six seasons.
- The higher-seeded team won both games 29 percent of the time.
- The lowered-seeded team won both games 25 percent of the time.
Once we expand our trends and look at six seasons worth of action, we see that 1-1 splits during Games 3 and 4 happened far more often than they did during the last three postseasons and that the higher-seeded squads begins to gain an advantage during those games.
The higher-seeded squad won 52 percent of its Games 3 and 4 matchups and managed to sweep both games 29 percent of the time. However, one huge takeaway from looking at the numbers is that the lower-seeded team will either split or win both games far more often than a bettor might have initially expected.
As bettors, we know that it is always easier to bet on the better team, but heading into Games 3 and 4 of a first-round matchup, the lower-seeded squad has managed to win one of those games a whopping 71 percent of the time. Games 3 and 4 could present bettors an excellent opportunity to wager on a lower-seed, particularly if they are an underdog heading into the matchup. Remember to bet wisely, and may the spread be with you.
Read more articles by George Monroy
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- 2021 NBA Championship Odds and Expert Predictions
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 8/26/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Saturday 8/22/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 8/21/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Thursday 8/20/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 8/19/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Tuesday 8/18/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Friday 8/14/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Thursday 8/13/2020 and Opening Line Report
- Free NBA Picks Wednesday 8/12/2020 and Opening Line Report