Handicapping the NBA's Opening Round

Kelso's Advanced Sports Betting: Handicapping the NBA's Opening Round

The NBA Playoffs begin Saturday, so it's time in my College of Advanced Sports Betting to review the proper principals for picking pointspread winners in first round series. You regulars already know to start with PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on each roster. So, I'm not even going to list that. It's a given. The best players control their destiny in the NBA...PARTICULARLY in the playoffs when they tend to get breaks from officials.

Other keys to remember:

  • The best teams have recently emphasized getting the first round over QUICKLY so they can rest up for the wars that are still ahead. Maybe they'll have one flat game in the first four. It would be a surprise if either #1 seed went six games in the first round. Look for the best teams to maintain their focus...and look for teams who have established some superiority out of the gate to keep going for the jugular. Nobody's pacing themselves any more. It's PLAY HARD, then REST.

This means you should be able to find some GREAT bets on powerhouse teams within the first round. Maybe the lines will be too high at home. On the road, the prices are more affordable and you still have great teams who can name the score when they're on a roll. I may have 100-unit or 200-unit releases within the next 10 days in each conference.

  • The mid-level teams...meaning those generally seeded in the 3-6 range...often play very tight series against each other. You want to emphasize underdogs as a general rule because so many of the games are...in essence...true pick-ems. The only time you step out on a favorite is if they're in a must-win situation right after a loss. I don't endorse the "zig zag theory" that you've heard mentioned in Vegas for years in its entirety. GREAT teams don't zig zag! I will apply it to the mid-level series that look to be going six or seven games.

Look for value bets with road underdogs after a loss. Look for value bets and the occasional monster with home favorites who are playing right after a loss.

  • Those are good general fundamentals to follow as you approach the first round. As the games play themselves out, it's vital that you monitor the body language of the trailing team to determine whether or not they've thrown in the towel. In recent years...this has become one of my single biggest triggers for "Game of the Year" type selections. In particular...if you have a league power trying to get a series over quickly...and an outmatched opponent that realizes they have no hope...the victory margins can blow up to very high levels. Vegas sportsbooks are helpless when a losing team has given up!

I strongly encourage you to:

  • Read the body language of trailing teams
  • Study the defensive stats of trailing teams
  • Study the rebounding stats of trailing teams
  • Watch the offensive ball movement of trailing teams

It will be very clear which series underdogs aren't going to give up without a fight (meaning you can bet them for value), and which have thrown in the towel by the third or fourth game (meaning you can load up against them).

I plan on a few "read and react" articles about the NBA playoffs as storylines develop this year. I'll mix in a few Major League Baseball articles as well. But the most intense focus will be on pro basketball during these tone-setting opening games. I hope you did well during March Madness. I certainly plan on doing very well through the NBA playoffs starting this weekend.

If you'd like some help finding the best plays on the board, you can always purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. I also have a full playoff package that's value priced.

The regular season in the NBA was certainly a long slog this year. Many teams took the past month off to get ready for the playoffs...while many of the bad teams were trying to lose on purpose to improve their draft position. We don't have to worry about that any more. The best players in the league...on the best teams in the league...are now going all out to win a championship. That puts Advanced Handicappers in prime position to score a big profit because the proven fundamentals you've learned from The Dean of Sports Handicappers are extremely likely to get the cash.

I'll see you again early next week for more coursework. Thanks again to all of you who read every lecture and apply the lessons to your individual handicapping process.

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