NBA Playoff Statistics: Taking a Closer Look at the Seeding Matchups
by George Monroy - 4/16/2014
The NBA Playoffs are set to begin on Saturday after another thrilling, yet sometimes ugly and monotonous, regular season. The storylines and rivalries heading into the postseason, however, remain as intriguing, as entertaining and as high stakes as ever. LeBron James and the Miami Heat look to continue their assault on the record books by looking to become only the third team in NBA history to win three straight titles. The San Antonio Spurs continue to chase true dynasty status by looking to add a fifth title 16 years after their first, while Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder try to cap off one of the greatest offensive seasons in NBA history with a title.
For bettors, it's a chance to add a few end-of-season profits prior to the sports betting landscape drying up before the return of football season. The NBA Playoffs can be more straight forward than other sports since the best teams usually win, and there are rarely major upset during the first round. Let's take a closer look at the playoffs and go over a few stats and trends for each seeding matchup.
No. 1 versus No. 8
The No. 1 seed rarely loses in the first round of the playoffs. In fact, an upset during that matchup has happened only five times since the NBA moved to a 16-team format in 1984, and one of those series has a big asterisk since Derrick Rose blew out his knee during the first game of Chicago's No. 1 versus No. 8 matchup against Philadelphia.
However, even counting that matchup, the No. 1 seed will lose in the first round of the playoffs only 12 percent of the time. Betting wise, the top seeds have gone 58-51-4 ATS since 2003, while the favorites during those matchups are 61-47-4 during that span. The home team in matchup has also performed well and currently carries a 64-45-4 ATS record.
No. 2 versus No. 7
The No. 2 seeds have out-performed the No. 1 seeds by a solid margin during the first round of the playoffs. The teams with the second-best records managed to go 7-3 ATS during last season's playoffs. Overall, the No. 2 seed has gone 63-45-8 ATS since 2003 for a whopping 58 percent win rate. The favorites in the No. 2 versus No. 7 series have also performed well by producing a 60-47-8 ATS record during that span.
During the last five seasons, the No. 2 seed has been upset in a series only once, back in 2010 when San Antonio eliminated Dallas in six games. In fact, the No. 7 seed has managed to win only 14 games during that span and will be carrying a 14-38 SU record into 2014's matchups.
No. 3 versus No.6
The No. 3 seed has been a solid SU team and managed to win eight of the last 10 first-round matchups against the No. 6 seed with a 35-23 record. The area that the No. 3 seed struggles at is against the spread. Last season the No. 3 Denver Nuggets did not cover a single game in its upset series loss to the Golden State Warriors. Since 2003, the No. 3 seeds are 61-61-2 ATS.
No. 4 versus No.5
Once you get down to the No. 4 versus No. 5 matchups, there is very little difference between the teams, and the No. 5 squad has actually performed better in that spot than its high-ranked opponent. The No. 5 team has won six of the last 10 first-round matchups and currently holds a 31-30 SU record during that span.
ATS wise, the No. 5 team is 64-61 since 2003, while the home team during those matchups ended up with a 65-62 mark. However, the one thing to keep in mind during this matchup is that since a 2006 rule change, the No. 4 seed now goes to one of the division winners as opposed to the team with the actual fourth-best record in the league. And in some instances a No. 5 seed may have a better record than the No. 4 seed, as was the case during last year's matchup between the Los Angeles Clipper and Memphis Grizzlies.
Read more articles by George Monroy
Most Recent NBA Handicapping
- NBA Basketball Picks Season Special 3 Handicappers for the Price of 1
- 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