NBA Playoffs First Round Betting Tips

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP

On Saturday, 16 teams will start the journey towards becoming this year’s NBA champion.

Some will have a far better chance than others, but if you are talking about game-by-game wagering, that levels the playing field. Here are some helpful hints to utilize for the opening round of NBA Playoffs.

Avoid Series Betting

Other than a possible 4/5 series matchup, the NBA odds are so large on the favorite, that the potential risk is hardly worth the reward. And, not that upsets don’t happen, but those are more noticeable in the first round after a game has been played, not so much before the series.

Traits of Winning Teams

In head-to-head matchups, one comparison that has to be made going into the series is: does a team have a top scorer, a strong second scorer, and a reliable third player? When comparing the two clubs, which has the stronger group? This will typically matter if that club is home or later in a series.

Having a deep team is less important in the playoffs because with the days off between battles, if you have eight players who can contribute, that is usually as many as you need.

Learn More: Making NBA Computer Picks as Part of a Handicapping Strategy

Also, understand how the season series played out and what has happened over the last two or three seasons if the general makeup of the two clubs is similar. If one team has been more dominant, find the stats that point to having such outcomes.

If the stats are relatively the same and the ATS record is about even compared to a one-sided SU mark, sportsbooks’ betting odds might shade the favorite, providing value on the underdog on a game-by-game basis.

Solid Early Games Betting Strategy

Almost every Game 1 home favorite, especially if they are seeded 1, 2 or 3, is possibly vulnerable to start a series. In each instance, the fave is figuring they will advance and might only have a B or C-rated effort to start a series. The underdog with the right circumstance is worth utilizing in this spot.

If the favorite blew out the underdog and shot a high percentage in the series opener, this could be the time to back the pooch if they are catching even more points. Chances are the losing team and the coaching staff will make various adjustments and be geared up to redeem themselves.

Learn More: What’s a Unit in Sports Betting, How to Use It?

The favorite might be satisfied after a sterling showing and have the attitude of “flipping the switch” when needed. If you normally bet one unit and lose, a modest bump to 1.5 units is not a bad betting strategy.

If a squad is going home down 0-2, Game 3 is their season. As long as they are a short favorite or underdog at sites like, this is another good chance to back the hungrier team early in the playoff season.

Understand The Playoffs are Different and Coaching Matters

It’s a cliché to say – the postseason is different – yet it is entirely true. When a coaching staff can place their full effort into preparing for one opponent they can truly cover every aspect of the opposing team.

This filters down to the players and with almost always having at least a day between contests, film sessions can find tendencies not seen as often during the regular season.

Learn More: How to Bet NBA Player Props

Coaches that can effectively find the weaknesses of their opponent don’t have the smartest coach of all time, just the one whose club has found they can score in the pick-n-roll at the rim or find a wide-open jump shot when they need a basket and convert 60 percent or more of the time.

Also, some players either have the ability to step up when called upon, like Robert Horry of the Rockets or Lakers when he was on those championship teams, known as “Big Shot Bob.” Others find the moment too big or don’t want the ball at crunch time. Know which teams have which players.

Money Management Strategy

Winning in the playoffs is an annual obstacle, there is nothing easy about it. Long-time NBA bettors will always have a source of pride just pulling off a profit, let alone thinking about dominating.

That’s why flat betting or coming as close as possible to it is the best betting method.

That would mean betting every game with the basically same amount. If you normally bet $100 a game, stick with that unless you are in a situation as I mentioned previously, where $125 to $150 is not overdoing it.

Learn More: NBA Betting Guide for Beginners: Tips to Give Yourself an Edge

If you want to go higher, we would not do more than double your original $100 wager, and you better know you are going to win and not be hoping.

As is our mantra, enjoy the NBA Playoffs, have fun while wagering and remember to check back for more betting strategy at the OddsTrader blog. Happy betting! is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

Site Footer