It seems as if the second round of the NBA playoffs is a broken ATM machine with a never-ending shower of $100 bills spitting out. It would seem all basketball bettors need to do is bet the favorite and the Over to start making money.
Heading into Thursday’s action, favorites are 12-5-1 ATS (70.5 percent) and the Over is 13-5 (72 percent) in the conference semifinals, including the Boston Celtics covering the -4 and topping the total with a 123-101 win over the Washington Wizards Wednesday. For the postseason, NBA favorites are 34-27-1 against the spread (55 percent) while the Over is 35-25-1 (58 percent).
The favorite and Over combo is a poisonous pill oddsmakers struggle swallowing and, fortunately for NBA bettors, they’re doing a lot of that in this year’s NBA Playoffs.
The high cover rate for favorites can be explained by the lack of any upsets in the first round and the ass kicking Golden State and Cleveland did against their opposition in the second round. Throw in the fact the home team is 4-0 ATS and SU in the Boston-Washington series and you’ve got all the makings of a favorite-heavy tally.
The Over record is a different matter altogether. The Under was the story of the 2016 NBA Playoffs, cashing in 52 of 86 games – good for a 60 percent win rate. This year, the Over is covering at a 58 percent clip. Game 5 of Spurs-Rockets would have gone Under if not for overtime but that was only the third overtime game in these playoffs.
Sizing up the second round scoring, there’s a noticeable uptick in 3-point attempts per game and 3-pointers made this postseason compared to last spring. Teams are shooting 35.7 percent on 56.4 attempts per game from beyond the arc in the playoffs. Teams shot 35.4 percent on 51.5 attempts last year and 34.4 percent on 51.1 attempts per game the year before.
The pace of games is also up compared to 2016. According to Pace Factor (Hollinger stat on ESPN), teams are averaging 96.9 possessions per game up from last year’s mark at 95.3.
The total for Thursday’s Game 6 between the Spurs and Rockets was set at 214. Oddsmakers have the visiting Spurs getting seven points. San Antonio all-star Kawhi Leonard, who sat out the overtime in Game 5 with a bad ankle, is listed as questionable for Game 6. Game ended with 189 points, victory of Spurs 114 over Rockets 75. Good timing for a low score, now it’s up to you to make your predicitons for the remainder of the season.
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