Key to NBA now: Adapt
April 17, 2018 3:00 AM
by Jim Feist
The NBA playoffs are here and I have been asked if betting the playoffs is the same as the regular season. My answer is a simple one, no!
The playoffs are very different. In the regular season many of the coaches and players pace themselves so they avoid injuries and fatigue with the sheer intention of being ready for the playoffs, which are much more important to them.
Based on current odds, the Golden State Warriors are the favorite to win the championship with Houston the second choice.
Because of this pacing and not putting full effort into each game, it’s more difficult to measure the quality of each team based on regular-season play. When those teams met during the regular season, maybe one rested some players or was nursing injuries. There could have been many factors that led to misleading head-to-head results during the season.
I suggest we approach the NBA playoffs cautiously. For example, the Golden State Warriors come into the playoffs a bit banged up as Stephen Curry will not play the first-round games. The Boston Celtics were also banged up entering the playoffs as are the San Antonio Spurs who played the entire season without Kawhi Leonard, their star player. In my opinion, the cautious approach is the best way to go.
Typically, in the NBA playoffs you’ll see much more intensity on the defense end of the court. For example, the San Antonio-Golden State opener saw the total of 211 drop to 206. This was a combination of the defensive oriented Spurs and the Curry-less Warriors.
Toronto is a deeper team than Washington. What Toronto should do is continue to play tough defense and use their bench as they did the regular season to wear down the shorter rotations of the Wizards. I will keep a close eye on this as it could develop into a good betting edge.
There is no way Miami will try to keep pace with Philadelphia. Whichever of these teams wins that pace battle will determine the total and the pointspread cover. You can also expect the same thing will happen with Utah vs. Oklahoma City.
Finally, one popular postseason betting pattern called the “zig-zag” theory says to go against whatever happened in the last game. Because these teams could see each other up to seven times a series, the theory is the oddsmakers will overcompensate for the last result and thus you get an edge going the opposite, or zig-zag, the next game. I personally do not adhere to this theory as I believe it’s old and antiquated, but some people still swear by it.
Betting the postseason is all about adapting. Pay attention and good luck!