Are you an NBA betting enthusiast that likes to ‘keep it simple’ by backing the favorite more often than not? Do you simply want to back the team perceived to be ‘better’ ballclub and call it a night? Well, if you do, then you should know that handicapping and cashing in on favorites come NBA playoff time isn’t quite that simple, although you can increase your chances of cashing in early and often by sticking to a few simple rules.
Thanks to the NBA playoff betting advice that you’re about to get from the bettor-friendly management and yours truly, you’re going to be able to maximize your chances of cashing in on favorites once the 2018 NBA postseason gets underway in less than two weeks. Okay, with that said, let’s get started.
Here’s A Closer Look At The Basketball Betting Strategy Playing Favorites
It’s All About Expectations
The first thing you need to know about betting on NBA favorites is that not all favorites are created equally when it comes to covering the spread, mostly because of their expectations.
For instance, take the Cleveland Cavaliers (35-40-3 ATS) and Toronto Raptors (43-35-1 ATS). In the case of the Cavs, you can see that LeBron and company have recorded a losing ATS record this season while the Raptors are ranked fifth in the ATS standings with a winning record.
Well, the first thing you need to understand is that, while the Raptors are certainly not a better team than the Cavaliers, they’ve faced much better odds in their games than Cleveland has because the elite Cavs are the defending champs and face much higher expectations. Look for favorites whose expectations – and betting lines – aren’t too high and you’ll almost surely cash in more often.
Are They Covering Consistently?
Simply put, you need to look for favorites that have covered the spread at a decent rate during the regular season. While Cleveland and Golden State (38-38-3 ATS) appear to be headed to their third straight NBA Finals showdown, you may want to use caution with your postseason wagers on the teams since neither has been very impressive when it comes to cashing in this season.
Conversely, playoff teams that have consistently cashed in during the regular season like Oklahoma City (43-34-1 ATS), Toronto and Houston (42-36 ATS) look like they could easily extend their regular season ATS excellence well into the postseason.
The bottom line is that some favorites are great picks to win games outright, but not necessarily cover the spread, for several reasons, whether it’s a lack of focus down the stretch or a lack of either scoring or defense. Find out if the favorite you plan on wagering on has covered the spread consistently or struggled to do so.
Home Away From Home!
Some favorites cover the spread at home like it’s nobody’s business while others struggle to do so on the road. Then again, some elite ballclubs can cover the spread regularly no matter where they play at. Do your ATS ‘homework’ and identify which favorites cover the spread anywhere and which ones struggle when they hit the road.
Good or Bad Matchup?
Have you ever seen a favored team that simply has a ‘bad matchup?’
This means the favored teams’ roster and style of play fit perfectly into the underdogs’ style of play, making the matchup a lot more even than it once appeared.
For reference, I’ll use college basketball’s Villanova Wildcats and their 2016 national championship game win over North Carolina. The Wildcats were underdogs in that game, but their superior backcourt completely neutralized Carolina’s while their unrivaled ability to shoot the rock from distance consistently pulled Carolina’s ballyhooed big men away from the basket.
Looking back, it’s easy to see that this game was simply a bad matchup for North Carolina and one in which they were never going to cover the spread despite being a 2-point favorite. Make sure you’re looking at each matchup and whether it’s a bad one for the favored team and adjust your wagers accordingly.
By the Numbers
Last but certainly not least, make sure you know your ATS statistics before you make your postseason wagers. For instance, you need to know that, while favorites have won 66.6 percent of their games this season, favorites have also only managed to cover the spread 49.0 percent of the time. Home favorites have covered the spread in 51,0 percent of their games while away favorites have managed to cover the betting line in just 47.2 percent of the time.