Wayne Root: Opening Weekend Shockers?



If last year is any indication, the answer is...ONE!

You regular readers know that I'm THE KING OF LAS VEGAS because I'm THE KING OF UPSETS. I'm always looking for situations and matchups that offer the chance to make a really big score with an underdog who can cover the spread AND win outright and earn a nice profit on the moneyline.

The first game...of a first round playoff series is NOT the ideal stomping ground for that kind of approach. Upsets are possible. They do happen. But, you have to be very careful and disciplined when trying to find them because the best upset indicators aren't in play.

  • I like betting against favorites who are likely to be lacking intensity and emotion. In the first game of the postseason...favorites are generally focused and fired up.
  • I like betting against tired favorites who are coming off a taxing period in their schedule. In the first game of the postseason...everyone's been off for at least two days. Many favorites have been resting their starters for a long time just to get ready for the playoffs. Nobody's tired!
  • I like taking underdogs who have an "us against the world" chip on their shoulder. Some playoff dogs already know they're going to get embarrassed, and have lost the series before it's even started. There WILL be some dogs in position to make a statement. Maybe I'll be on one this weekend. Or, maybe it's better to wait until deeper in the series.
  • I like taking underdogs who have a clear matchup advantage they can exploit. This just isn't common in the first round of the NBA playoffs because so many pretenders are on the floor against real championship contenders. We might have one or two of those situations this season. In later rounds, you'll have higher quality dogs.

Look at the pointspreads and results from last year's Opening Weekend. Only one underdog covered in the East. The dog who scored an upset out West was the only straight up winner in eight playoff chances.

Cleveland (-11.5) beat Chicago 96-83
Boston (-4.5) beat Miami 85-76
Atlanta (-8.5) beat Milwaukee 102-92
Orlando (-10) beat Charlotte 98-89 (dog covers)

Denver (-5.5) beat Utah 126-113
LA Lakers (-7.5) beat Oklahoma City 87-79
Dallas (-4) beat San Antonio 100-94
Portland (+8) beat Phoenix 105-100 (dog wins outright)

Not exactly a drama filled weekend. Most of the victory margins were comfortable. Portland scored the only upset. The other dog cover barely got there at a very high spread. Does this suggest to you that a SHOCK THE SYSTEM upset is likely this time around?

Many of you longtime NBA fans are probably thinking that GAME TWO is the time to step in with an upset call. Favorites might be flat after a big win. The underdogs will rise to the occasion with their backs to the wall and play much better. Sound theory. Let's see what happened last year. I'll run the matchups in the same order

Cleveland (-10.5) beat Chicago 112-102 (dog covers)
Boston (-1) beat Miami 106-77
Atlanta (-7.5) beat Milwaukee 96-86
Orlando (-9) beat Charlotte 92-77

Utah (+6) beat Denver 114-111 (dog wins outright)
LA Lakers (-6) beat Oklahoma City 95-92 (dog covers)
San Antonio (+3) beat Dallas 102-88 (dog wins outright)
Phoenix (-8.5) beat Portland 119-90

Dogs did better to be sure. But, they only lifted from 2-6 ATS to 4-4 ATS. Instead of one dog pulling an upset, we had two dogs scoring SHOCKERS. So, yes, I will be looking to step out more on the dogs in the rematches next Monday through Wednesday. I still recognize though that I have to pick my spots carefully. Quality teams take care of business once championships are on the line. You just don't make money betting against fired up quality teams who are focused.

My task this weekend will be to find the teams, dogs or favorites, best positioned to beat oddsmaker expectations. I can tell you right now that I HAVE DONE THAT, and will have at least one major release each day Saturday and Sunday. Maybe I'll be asking a big favorite to win by 15-20. Maybe I'll be asking a dog to stay close or score a surprise. The only way to find out is to sign up for my service!

You can do that online with your credit card right here at the website. Be sure to finish your transaction early because we have 1 p.m. ET tipoffs both days (that's 10 a.m. out here in Vegas!). I will have bonus baseball available too for everyone who wants additional action. Note that full playoff rates are available, and offer the most bang for your buck. If you have any questions, call my office at 1-877-766-8946.

For 25 years I've been helping my clients navigate the challenges of NBA playoff handicapping. I know exactly when to make a move...and how hard to make it. That means it's time for YOU to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!


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