Totals Drop During Playoff Crunch Time

Handicapping Tips From Legendary High Roller TONY SALINAS!


We already started seeing it this past weekend, and I expect the trend to continue. Scoring will go DOWN now that we've reached the latter stages of the first round NBA Playoff series.

Now, I'm not saying every single game is going to stay Under. Sometimes a team will shoot lights out from three-point land and drive an Over. Sometimes a rogue ref will want to get his face on TV and call so many fouls that the game has to go Over. There's bound to be an overtime game or two this week. And, we'll probably see some instances of fouling parades in the last two minutes turning an Under into an Over.

But, even with ALL that, you're still probably going to GET THE BEST OF IT by focusing on Unders. Here's why:

  • The games slow down when every possession matters. Think about how tightly played the fourth quarters were this past Saturday in the Orlando/Charlotte and Phoenix/Portland games that came right down to the wire. Dallas/San Antonio was like that the night before in Game Three of that series. When you get deeper in a tight series, it's like the WHOLE GAME is the fourth quarter.
  • Teams are more prone to sit on leads when they get them. The more important the game is, the more focused they are on running clock. Utah did this to Denver in their first win at home. That game never got close to the total even though Utah had a big lead through much of the second half. Now, we did see some other blowouts go Over in garbage time. This becomes less likely when the wins are CRUCIAL. Teams with a lead want to get the game finished rather than pad their stats.
  • Most refs (not all, but most) tend to swallow their whistles later in a series. You still have a few that think the league revolves around them. For the most part, foul calls go down. That means the big guys can play more aggressive defense, and offenses get fewer good looks or cheap points at the line. So, we have the number of possessions going down because the tempo gets slower...AND the success rate going down because defenses are allowed to bang.
  • I talk a lot about tired legs. The wear and tear of a series really grinds on players, especially the older ones. That means jump shots that used to go in now hit the front of the rim and bounce away. Remember that playoff games are MUCH more intense physically than regular season games. Having a day off between games doesn't help as much as you'd expect when you're playing a quality team every time out. Shooting percentages would go down even if the defenses weren't allowed to play so intensely.

Again, not all games will go Under. Odds favor more Unders than Overs, particularly if you're able to isolate the series where the indicators for a slow down are the strongest. This has always been true, and it's not about to change now!

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Oddsmakers always underestimate the scoring reductions late in playoff series. And, the public likes betting Overs so much that the lines can only react so much anyway. Play smart so you'll be GETTING THE BEST OF IT!



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