The 2016 NBA Playoffs received a bit of intrigue with the recent injuries of regaining MVP Stephen Curry and Los Angeles Clippers stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Curry is expected to miss two to three weeks, while Paul will be side lined indefinitely with a broken wrist and Griffin is expected to miss the remainder of the postseason with a quad injury. For NBA totals bettors, the absence of all three players could drastically impact the odds for the rest of the first round and into the second round (if the Clippers can manage to get past Portland).
For Warriors and Clippers bettors, now is the time to adjust and figure out the best way to wager on the teams going forward. However, for the rest of us, losing a few star players could be a chance to find value on certain totals lines over the next few weeks of basketball. Let's take a closer look at the 2016 postseason totals and figure if any trends have emerged during the first set of games in the playoffs.
2016 NBA Postseason Totals Results
San Antonio/Memphis: 1-3
Boston/Atlanta : 1-4
Golden State/Houston : 1-4
Los Angeles/Portland : 1-4
Toronto/Indiana : 1-4
The NBA game has been revolutionized over the last few seasons with analytics strongly pointing toward the 3-point line and buckets in the paint as the most efficient shots to take. The game is more entertaining and high scoring than it has ever been over the last 25 years, yet only one first-round playoff series managed to produce a winning "over" record-Oklahoma City versus Dallas-while majority of the matchups (six of the eight) trended toward the "under".
These results may come as a shock for Golden State and Los Angeles bettors, as both teams typically score a large amount of points. For Golden State, the team stayed under its total lines by an average of nearly 15 points per game. The Clippers versus Blazers series stood under by nearly 13 points per game and the Boston versus Atlanta series stood under by nearly 10 points. The postseason is known for being more of a grind and a situation that trends toward the under. However, these results seem over the top. If we combine the totals results for every first round the series, the under comes in at 12-26 for a whopping 68 percent win rate.
How To Take Advantage of These Numbers
NBA playoff trends change from round to round. However, since the majority of bettors lean toward the over in most situations, the oddsmakers might not have much incentive to adjust their lines. Teams focus more on defense during the postseason, and the light schedule, particularly during the first and second rounds when teams get two or three days between games, allows coaches to take a more physical and grinding approach.
Every bettor has a different handicapping process and preferences when picking a game. However, leaning toward the under as a default choice during the playoffs could be a profitable way to proceed into June. I am not suggesting that bettors blindly wager on every under but only to factor in stronger defensives and a slower game pace during the postseason. Last year Golden State produced a 5-14-2 totals record during the playoffs, with the under coming in nearly 75 percent of the time. Expect similar numbers this year, and keep an eye out for any solid under totals. Good luck and enjoy the postseason.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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