Power Rankings Important



I often hear handicappers say that Power Ratings don't matter during the NBA Playoffs. You're supposed to 'go with the flow' in a series, which usually means betting on whoever lost the last game to bounce back and play well in the next game.

I think that's a big mistake. For one thing, losing teams don't always bounce back! Sometimes the biggest edges come from knowing how the teams really rate rather than hoping every series is a back and forth war.

Look at the Orlando/Cleveland series from last year. This may be the best example ever. And it's one you should remember very clearly.

Game One: Orlando (+8.5) beat Cleveland 99-89
The line was inflated here because oddsmakers knew the public wanted to bet Cleveland. The Cavaliers seemed invincible at the time. There was at least a 1-2 point tax factored into the line. If you were using quality power ratings, you would have known the line should have been smaller. You may not have called for an outright win. But, you would have been comfortable taking a shot on Orlando.

Game Two: Orlando (+9) lost to Cleveland 96-95
This was the game where LeBron hit that amazing three-pointer to win it. Note how the Game One loser didn't bounce back all the way to the very high spread. It should have been clear now to anyone using Power Ratings that Cleveland wasn't much better than Orlando. They should have been down 0-2 at home! The Vegas lines here were out of synch with reality. It's the job of handicappers to have Power Ratings that reflect reality.

Game Three: Orlando (-1.5) beat Cleveland 99-89
If you have the teams about even in your Power Ratings, than this line is too low. Orlando is going to make sense at -1.5 at home given the fact that they were almost up 2-0 on the road.

Game Four: Orlando (+1.5) beat Cleveland 116-114 in overtime
The line moved three points because Cleveland was in the bounce back spot. As we saw in the transition from Game One to Game Two, they DID improve, but not enough to get back to the Vegas line.

Game Five: Cleveland (-7.5) beat Orlando 112-102
Finally a cover for the Cavs, in a must-win game down 3-1 in the series. Guys focusing on value bets with Power Ratings take a loss to fall to 4-1 with their Nevada betting.

Game Six: Orlando (-2) beat Cleveland 103-90
A decisive victory to wrap up the series.

Cleveland was the public team in this series, and went 1-5 ATS because the lines would have been bad even without the tax! Guys with accurate Power Ratings would have gone 5-1 ATS on Orlando. Guys who made the proper adjustments after Game One when it was clear little separated the teams still had time to adjust and make a profit.

The market DOES make mistakes. You're better suited to find those mistakes if you have quality numbers you can compare to the market prices.

Also, you know how much is being allotted for home court advantage in each game (maybe the market is making mistakes in that element as well); you know how many points are being allotted for the bounce backs (which won't matter if the prior loser doesn't have any workable options against a superior foe); and can see improvement from teams who take awhile to get their footing within the pressure of playoff action.

Keep your own power ratings, or sign up with somebody who does!


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