Astute sports bettors should pay very careful attention to blowouts in the NBA playoffs.
For instance, after losing Game 1 114-101 at home, the Thunder bounced back and topped Memphis, 111-102 the next game, covering as 6-point chalk. The Lakers blew out the Hornets in Game 3, 100-86, then a different New Orleans club showed up the next game, winning straight up as a +5 dog.
A year ago after losing Game 1, the Celtics stunned the Cavaliers in Game 2, 104-86, at Cleveland as an underdog. At one point they led 91-66. A big part of the story was Rasheed Wallace, who had been called out by Coach Doc Rivers after a lousy opener, but added 17 points off the bench.
Incensed, the Cavaliers had a few days to stew about the embarrassing home defeat, then went to Boston for Game 3 and blew out the Celtics, 124-95. It was Boston’s worst home playoff defeat in history and the Cavs shot 59%. The fans booed when Boston left the court at halftime down 65-43.
Series over? No. Boston then won the next three games, including a blowout of their own, 120-88, with Cleveland fans booing their team!
Overall, blowouts are less expected this time of the year. Oddsmakers are anticipating the majority of teams want to be here and will play all out for 48 minutes keeping things relatively close. This year’s Magic/Hawks series was a good example, with four of the six games decided by six, four, three and three points. Two years ago the Celtics/Bulls first round series saw three of the five games going into overtime and four decided by three points or less.
The point is, don’t easily dismiss teams that get routed. If they have talent, are well coached, or have strong leadership, they can bounce back and look like a very different team the next game.