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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.


Why the Warriors Won't Win the NBA Title

Stephen Curry Golden State Warriors

There’s no questioning the greatness of the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors. The Warriors made history on Wednesday by setting a new precedent of regular season performance, topping the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ win record thanks to a home win over the Memphis Grizzlies — their 73rd of the campaign.

They're deep, they possess one of the greatest shooters the NBA has ever seen and they’re incredibly well coached. But that doesn’t mean a second NBA championship is guaranteed for this group.


NBA Futures Markets Are Ruined

Let’s face it: NBA futures markets are ruined. 

The Golden State Warriors are -135 and mostly much worse than that to win it all at many books and you’re looking at -200 juice for them to win the West, give or take a handful. 

All of that would be just fine if the Warriors weren’t going to win. But, sorry Charles Barkley, that’s what they are going to do. Barring major injuries or an act of God, you are going to have a hard time convincing me this 73-win team is stoppable. 

So what do you do? 


Tigers, Pirates Scoring Runs, Going OVER

The Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates have brought the big bats when they face one another, as the past six meetings between the two teams have gone OVER. The Tigers and Pirates have averaged a combined 10.7 runs per game in that span, which dates back to June 2015.

Jordan Zimmermann will take the mound for the Tigers after he had a terrific debut with the club in his first start of the season. Zimmermann went seven innings strong while allowing just two hits and no runs in his against the New York Yankees last week. J.D. Martinez has been swinging a big bat against the Pirates this series, as the right fielder has gone 8-for-13 with one home run and four RBIs.

The Pirates will give the ball to Gerrit Cole after a rocky first start of the year. Cole, who admitted that he was a little rusty after the first game, went just 4.2 innings while allowing three runs in his first start against the Cincinnati Reds last Saturday.

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David vs. Goliath as Flyers Meet Caps

Braden Holtby Washington Capitals Claude Giroux Philadelphia Flyers NHL

After finishing the regular season with the most points and clinching the Presidents’ Trophy, it’s time for the Washington Capitals to put up or shut up as they open their Stanley Cup quest versus the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday evening.

Shark Bites
  • The visiting team has gone 5-12 SU in the last 17 games in this matchup.
  • The Flyers are 5-2 SU in their last seven games versus teams with winning records.
  • The Capitals have gone 22-8 in their last 30 games at home.

Online shop Bovada is presently offering the Caps at -240 in moneyline markets while the Flyers are being offered at +190. As far as the total is concerned, OVER 5 goals is presently -120 while UNDER 5 goals is -110.

The Caps finished a stellar regular season with 120 points – 11 more than anyone else in the league and 24 more than their opening round opponent. The Capitals have won the Presidents’ Trophy before, but with less-than-stellar results. They captured the trophy in 2009-10 with a whopping 121 points, but were eliminated by the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round.

The Flyers won’t need any extra motivation but that little tidbit will certainly be good bulletin board material prior to the puck dropping. A second-half surge propelled the Flyers up the standings and enabled them to clinch the eighth seed in the East and a date with the Caps.

The clubs split four meetings during the regular season and it was the Flyers that took the most recent. Philly skated to a 2-1 shootout victory when the clubs last met on March 30 and have actually gone 8-3 SU the last 11 times these two have met.

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Huge Total When Rockies Host Giants

The highest of totals in the MLB are almost exclusively reserved for Coors Field with the thin Colorado air making home runs a frequent occurrence. Baseball bettors are used to seeing closing totals in the double-digits routinely in Colorado Rockies home games, but are these massive totals worth looking at?

Since the start of the 2012 MLB season, there have been 21 games with a closing total of 11.5 or higher. Those 21 games have seen the OVER cash on 14 occasions with teams combining for 13.7 runs per game.


Quick was Futile in Starts Versus Sharks

Joe Pavelski San Jose Sharks Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings NHL

Many feel like the Los Angeles Kings have a good shot at hoisting another Stanley Cup this season. While that might be true, netminder Jonathan Quick will have to step up his game against the San Jose Sharks if they hope to escape the first round. The puck drops on this all-California matchup Thursday night at Staples Center.

Shark Bites
  • The Kings are 11-4 SU in their last 15 games at home.
  • The Sharks are 7-2 SU in their last nine games versus teams with a winning record.
  • The Sharks are 4-12 SU in their last 16 games in Los Angeles.

Online shop Bovada is presently offering the Kings at -145 in moneyline markets for Game 1 while the Sharks come in at +115. The total is tabbed at 5 goals with both OVER and UNDER currently priced at -115.

Quick was lit up by the Sharks this season. In three starts, the Kings’ puck stopper went 0-3 with a 4.40 goals against average and paltry .845 save percentage. Those numbers pale in comparison to his 2.22 GAA and .918 save percentage overall this season.

Joe Pavelski, in particular, was a thorn in L.A.’s side this season. Pavelski scored four goals and had six assists for 10 points in five games versus the Kings during the regular season. The assists and points were his highest against any other team and the goal total was tied with the four he posted versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Bizarrely, the underdog went 5-0 SU in five games during the regular season. Furthermore, the Sharks finished the regular season as a hot bet away from home. In their final eight road games, San Jose went 7-1 SU.

These two Pacific Division rivals have met in the postseason three times before. The Kings won in seven games after going down 3-0 in 2014 and seven games back in 2013. The Sharks eliminated the Kings in six games back in 2011.

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Stars Hot at Home and Against the Wild

Jamie Benn

Deep in the heart of Texas, the American Airlines Center will play host to Game 1 of the first round series matchup between the Stars and Wild. Dallas has won six straight games on their home ice and went 4-1 this season vs the Wild.

Minnesota enters the playoffs struggling, losing five straight games, being outscored 16-6 in that stretch. The Stars, meanwhile, are hot, going 6-1 to close out the season, outscoring their competition 25-14 in those games.

Given their recent history against each other and the way they closed out their seasons, the Stars enter this one the obvious favorite, coming in at -185 at online shop Bodog, with the Wild coming back at +155. Minessota struggled as underdogs this season, going 7-18.

If things weren’t bad enough for the Wild, it’s been announced that their leading goal scorer, Zach Parise, will miss at least the first two games in the series. The Stars got some good news regarding the health of one of their top scorers as Tyler Seguin is available to play, however, he might be rested as his Achilles isn’t completed healed , so be sure to monitor his status as the game approaches.

Regardless if Seguin plays or not, he and Jamie Benn owned the Wild this season, combining for 16 points in five game.

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Panthers Have Been Strong Versus Isles

Florida Panthers New York Islanders NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

The Florida Panthers shocked everyone by putting together an exceptional regular season and winning the Atlantic Division. Now, for just the second time in franchise history, the Panthers will look to win an opening round series when they tangle with the New York Islanders as things get started in Sunrise Thursday evening.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone OVER in eight of the previous 10 meetings between these teams.
  • The Panthers are 11-4 SU in the last 15 games versus the Metropolitan Division.
  • The total has gone OVER in seven of the Panthers’ last eight home games.

The Panthers are presently -140 in moneyline markets at online book Bovada while the Islanders can be had at +120. OVER 5 goals is presently -135 while UNDER 5 goals is +115.

The Panthers won the Atlantic Division with 103 points – six more than the Tampa Bay Lightning. A 12-game winning streak that bridged 2015 and 2016 catapulted the Panthers into the division title conversation and they never looked back.

Florida enters the playoffs as one of the hotter teams in the league as they’ve won five of six and seven of their last nine. They’ve won four of the last five meetings with the Islanders and took two of three from them this season.

The Isles, who have lost back-to-back games entering the playoffs, did win the most recent meeting, however, as they skated to a 3-2 victory on home ice back on March 14.

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Diamondbacks Can’t Get It Done In LA

The Arizona Diamondbacks have not exactly lit the world on fire to start the season and in order to right the ship they will need to reverse some bad history when they continue their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Thursday. The D-Backs are 4-16 in their past 20 games at Dodgers Stadium, which includes a 3-1 loss on Wednesday.

The Diamondbacks have been solid offensively this season, with Jean Segura leading the way. The young second baseman is second in the MLB in hits and has safely reached base at least twice in five consecutive games.

The Dodgers will send Ross Stripling to the mound for the second start of his young career after a tremendous first game. Stripling was pulled after 7.1 innings with a no-hitter in tact, though he was on the hook for a run in that game.

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