2018 NBA Playoffs Betting Numbers – 1st Round Action

Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) is shown against his former team Atlanta Hawks in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

With Cleveland knocking of Indiana to advance to next round this past Sunday, the first round is complete even as the second round has already started.

Because of the disparity in the first round, home teams usually rule and that is precisely what happened in the first round.

Home Teams 35-10 SU

What ended up being a bit surprising is how many spreads they covered at 27-17-1 ATS. That is a larger than normal figure than we find most seasons.

Along those same lines, favorites had even greater success in winning games and were equally impressive at beating the sportsbooks.

Favorites 36-9 SU and 27-17-1 ATS

What caused this to occur? Houston and Golden State largely did their part to get the ball rolling, but in the larger scope, favored teams that were under 10 points more than held up their end of the bargain as you can see below.

Favorites of 5-points or less

18-5 SU and 14-8-1 ATS

Favorites of 5.5 to 9.5 points

12-5 SU and 10-7 ATS

Typically, short favorites do not do this well both in terms of winning and going up against the lines assembled by the sportsbooks. Yet this year they have and the take away is three-point shooting, making free throws and those missed from the charity stripe by underdogs had an impact on the outcomes and in the case the bottom line.

Besides these contests, we also had double digits favorites and not surprisingly these teams are 5-0 SU and to this point are 3-2 ATS. In the two Western Conference series, we expect the Rockets and Warriors to be at or over -10 when playing at home.

Linemakers Spot On For Totals

If the goal of the sportsbooks is to split the action and happily collect the juice, then they are happier than Meghan Markle. Here is what we mean.

Totals in Round One – 22 Over’s – 22 Under’s – 1 Push

It cannot get any tighter than that and just so you know, this is based on the closing line, so there could be a slight variance.

This overall figure is perfectly aligned when we started breaking the numbers down further and into more specific categories. For example; totals that ended up in the 205 to 214.5 range were 10-10-1.

But this is not to say basketball bettors should pass on taking on the sportsbooks when it comes to totals because there have a couple of areas where opportunities could present themselves.

We start with the lower range.

Totals of 204.5 or less  – 6 Over’s and 3 Under’s

Given the four conference semi-final matchups, we are not anticipating many contests to fall into this range other than possibly Boston home games, depending on what happens after Game 1 in Bean-Town.

On the other end of the spectrum are totals of 215 or higher. Here, lower scores have ended up being more popular, particularly as series have gone deeper, with familiarity and a more defensive-minded approach bring taken. Here we have 9 Under’s and 6 Over’s.

We hope this gives you further insight into the second round and you can uncover more winners!


Doug Upstone wrote this for ScoresandStats.com


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