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BETTING

NBA Playoffs Handicapping: The Most Common Mistakes Bettors Make

Learn to avoid common NBA playoff betting mistakes like overvaluing player props, ignoring home court advantage, focusing solely on star players, and overreacting to market moves. Gain valuable insights for successful handicapping.

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The NBA playoffs are the most exciting time in the basketball season and everybody wants to be a part of the action. Here are some rookie mistakes to avoid when betting on the NBA playoffs at top-rated sportsbooks

Avoid making these four rookie mistakes to become a profitable NBA playoff handicapper.


Betting on Too Many Player Prop Overs


Many bettors prefer the world of player props to that of full-game betting. Gamblers will take their bankroll from betting player prop overs during the regular season into the postseason and think that that strategy will continue to work. However, pace and scoring drastically decline during the postseason.

So, while you might have been profitable taking the best player on a team to go over on his points, rebounds and assists night after night during the regular season, that strategy will fail during the playoffs. A slower pace and fewer shot attempts give players less chance to go over on their prop numbers. Conversely, the series format allows coaches to scheme their defenses towards specific players much more intensely than they do during the regular season.

During the regular season, the prevalence of back-to-back games and the grueling nature of the schedule allows for minimal strategic preparation by coaches. During the playoffs, the coaches spend an immense amount of time studying and preparing for their specific opponent. This can mean lesser production, especially from the stars that coaches like to target when creating defensive schemes.

Be careful not to play too many player prop overs during the postseason. This can be a risky proposition, and in this case, discretion is the better part of valor.


Not Factoring in Home Court Advantage


Oftentimes, the home team will jump out to an easy 2-0 lead in the NBA playoffs. The convincing nature of the first two wins will convince rookie bettors that a sweep is likely. However, back on the home court, the lesser seed oftentimes evens the series and definitely is a live wager to cover the spread. Even though a team might not be as good, do not automatically bet against them at home. Teams down 2-0 are excellent against the spread in their first game at home. Take this into consideration. The better team doesn’t always win, especially on the road.

LeBron James Los Angeles Lakers Illinois


Thinking the Best Player Will Always Win


Basketball is a team sport. Just because you have the best player on the floor does not mean that you will get the win. We have seen many times where a cohesive team unit full of lesser players defeats a team top-loaded with stars. Look at the team’s depth, the pieces of each team and how they work together.

A lot of today’s NBA greats only focus on one side of the ball, the offensive end. These players put up great stats and fool you into thinking that they are unbeatable. However, they lack ability on the defensive end. This means that this player’s team cannot get the stops they need in order to win a close playoff game.

Proper strategy and depth are important in the playoffs. Even the most elite NBA players cannot overcome a well coached team with better ancillary players who execute their role correctly. ESPN and major media markets will convince you that it’s all about two top players squaring off, when in reality it is two top teams! Don’t be fooled by the media marketing machine, basketball is still a team sport.

Individual players are great to back during the regular season, during the playoffs it’s time to back the best team.

Below, you will find the NBA odds for the 2024 NBA Championship.

The Elite The Contenders The Longshots The Underdogs
Celtics +110 Timberwolves +500 Mavericks +900 Pacers +5500
Nuggets +450 Thunder + 800 Knicks +1000 Cavaliers +7000

Overreacting to Market Moves


The NBA playoff market is much more casual than the regular season market. As a result of this public influx of money, market moves are not always as sharp as they would be during the regular season when a majority of sharp bettors are moving the lines overnight. During the playoffs, the influx of casual betting means that the market might move off public money, not necessarily the knowledge of the sharpest handicappers.

A majority of bettors in the NBA regular season are well versed in handicapping the sport. They pay attention to it all year long, even when the NFL is in full swing and during the college basketball season. Therefore, these market moves early in the season are much more indicative of a true market correction. Market moves during the playoffs are just an estimation of where the public will place their money.

Be wary of steam chasing, or copying the market moves as the influx of public money makes the market much less rigid when it comes to factoring in the line moves. There are a variety of reasons for what the market is moving on during the postseason, so do your handicap correctly and don’t be worried if the line moves against you.

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