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2016 NBA Playoffs Betting Primer

LeBron James

The NBA Playoffs start on Saturday, and if you're thinking about placing a bet on futures, a series or individual games, don't even think about it without reading this first because you won't stand a chance otherwise. Well, that's probably an exaggeration, but here's some research we did that will help you make some educated decisions on what bets to make, and probably more importantly, what bets not to make.

The Number of Times Each Seed has won over last 50 years
Seed #NBA FinalsEastern ConferenceWestern Conference
1332629
291610
3657
4122
5000
6102
7000
8010
Quick Summary of Seed championship history:
  • If you're thinking of getting fancy, DON'T!
  • Over the last 50 years, only three teams seeded lower than No. 4 have won their conference, and only one has won the Finals.
  • Teams seeded lower than No. 2 have only won their conference in 19 of 100 chances over the last 50 years.
  • Only eight times out of 50 has a team seeded lower than #2 won the Finals.

No. 1 vs No. 8 Notes

Cavaliers vs Pistons: 

The Pistons went 3-1 SU and ATS against the Cavaliers this season, most recently beating them on April 13. However, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith all sat out that game. The Cavs have been a No. 1 seed twice before — in 2009 they lost in the conference finals and in 2010 they lost in the second round.

Warriors vs Rockets

Golden State swept the three-game season series with the Rockets, winning by a margin of nine points, and covering the spread twice. Looking at a bigger sample size, the Warriors have won nine out of 10 games against the Rockets, covering six spreads in that span. The Warriors have been a No. 1 seed eight times — they won the Finals three of those times, lost in the finals three times, and went out in the conference finals and first round once.

  • Over the last 20 years, only four No. 8 seeds have upset a No. 1 seed.
  • There have been 13 sweeps in this series over the last 20 years, including nine since 2003 when the first round became a best of seven series.

No. 2 vs No. 7 Notes

Raptors vs Pacers

The Raptors haven't advanced past the first round since 2001. They went 3-1 SU and ATS against the Pacers this season, most recently winning 111-98 on April 8. These teams have never met in a playoff series.

Spurs vs Grizzlies

The Spurs swept the Grizzlies this season, going 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS. They had an average win margin of 10 points. The teams have met in the playoffs three times, with the Spurs recording two sweeps in those series, but losing in the first round in 2011 as a No. 1 seed.

  • The last time a No. 2 seed lost to a No. 7 was in 2010.
  • No. 7 seeds have only won two opening round series in the last 20 years.
  • There have been 12 sweeps in this series over the last 20 years.

No. 3 vs No. 6 Notes

Heat vs Hornets

These teams split their season series and each covered two games. Their two most recent contests were each decided by three points. They previously met in the first round in the 2014 playoffs, where the Heat recorded a sweep.

Thunder vs Mavericks

OKC was a perfect 4-0 SU against Dallas this season, but only covered the spread in two of those games. Three of those four game went OVER. The Thunder swept the Mavs in the first round in 2012, while Dallas handed OKC a conference finals loss in five games in 2011.

  • Over the last 20 years, No. 3 seeds are 30-10 against No. 6 seeds.
  • There have been seven sweeps in this series over the last 20 years, but just two since 2003 when the first round became a best of seven series.

No. 4 vs No. 5 Notes

Hawks vs Celtics

Atlanta won three of four over Boston this season, covering the spread in all three of their wins. Two of the wins came by double-digits, most recently winning 118-107 on April 9. The teams met in the first round in 2012 and 2008, with the Celtics winning both times.

Clippers vs Trail Blazers

The Clippers went 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS against the Blazers this season, most recently beating them by two points on March 24. They went UNDER in three of the four games. These teams have never met in a playoff series.

  • Both No. 4 seeds have not won in the same year since 2008.
  • Over the last 20 years, each seed has won the series 20 times.
  • There have been five sweeps in this series over the last 20 years.

 

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