Evaluating more NBA Playoff Profiles Including Totals Situations Between Top Teams
The NBA Playoffs continue in the conference semifinals, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are waiting for the conference finals to begin next week following their 4-game sweep over the Toronto Raptors. The Cavs are 8-0 in the playoffs and will have at least another week off before they play the winner of the Boston/Washington series which is tied 2-2.
The Golden State Warriors are dominating in the West, and the Warriors can close out their series with the Utah Jazz Monday as they too go for the sweep and look to remain perfect in the playoffs at 8-0 as well. The Warriors are 4-3 ATS and have been favored by at least 4.5 points in each contest and will lay 8-points in Game 4 at Utah Monday. The Cavaliers are 6-2 ATS with six of the games also going over the total.
Round 2 of the conference semifinals is where home court has shown to be strongest in the NBA playoffs, and the Cavaliers and Warriors continue their dominance. As the playoffs continue, I expect to see stronger defense, as more match-ups with Class A teams will put some proven profiles, situations and match-up analysis to the test. Each year at this time, we profit in the playoffs using situations that have developed further since the NBA playoffs moved to a 7-game format for all series in 2002.
As we evaluate and provide some proven and profitable situations and technical analysis below, note that injuries impact the analysis and match-ups especially when key players like the Raptors Kyle Lowry are injured. He missed games 3 and 4 of the Cleveland series with an ankle injury. Recall last year when the Warriors Stephon Curry and Clippers Chris Paul were injured during the playoffs and missed significant time.
What has proven to be a very positive and profitable situation in the conference semifinals since 2002 should make bettors who like favorites quite pleased.
Conference semifinal home favorites (second round) of -5 or more points have posted better than a 60% ATS mark since 2002. This situation has a solid sample size of greater than 160 games.
The Cavaliers went 2-0 SU/ATS vs. the Raptors in the semi's as a 7-point favorite in each contest, while the Celtics are 1-0 SU/ATS laying at least 5 vs. the Wizards, and Washington is now 2-0 SU/ATS laying at least 5 points vs. the Celtics in this year's semifinals. So in the East, these teams are 5-0 SU/ATS laying at least 5 points.
In the West, the Warriors are 2-0 SU vs. Utah winning each contest by double-digits. But Golden State is 0-2 ATS just missing to cover either contest as a 13-point favorite. San Antonio is 1-1 SU/ATS laying at least 5 points in this year's semifinals vs. Houston, while the Rockets are also 1-1 SU/ATS laying at least 5 points. That's a combined 2-4 ATS for Western Conference home teams laying 5 or more points in the conference semifinals, and 7-4 ATS overall in the semifinals of this year's playoffs.
So that should show you some of the strength of these stronger teams playing at home, especially when the point spreads may be slightly inflated at times on these top-tier home teams.
There are some situational subsets that can make these NBA handicapping profiles even stronger, but the evaluation must always include the match-up analysis along with impact injuries and travel, as both the Warriors and Cavaliers are likely to have much more rest than their opponents heading into the conference finals.
This is also the time of the NBA playoffs when we look to play more games under the total between Class A teams. Games 5, 6 and 7 of playoff series between Class A teams is a very proven profit-producer. That's the case in the San Antonio vs. Houston series, which heads back to San Antonio for Game 5 on Tuesday, May 9. It will continue into the Western conference finals when either of these teams plays Golden State should the Warriors advance with a current 3-0 series lead vs. Utah.
It may be more difficult for NBA bettors to play under the total in these games and Class A situations, especially knowing that 15 teams averaged at least 105 points per game (PPG) this season compared to just 5 teams last season. Scoring is up, but that mean's totals are also posted higher, which should only provide more value to our situational profile analysis favoring under the total in the late games of playoff series between Class A teams.
FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay