By Marc Lawrence
With help from our trusted well-oiled database, let’s examine four key time-tested proven theories that have lined our pockets during the opening round of playoffs since 1991. Here’s what the machine has to say as we head into the 2018 postseason.
For the most part, No. 8 seeds in the NBA playoffs are teams that likely scratched and clawed their way into the post-season. Simply put, they are not good enough to be seriously considered threats against top-seeded opponents, as they were just barely better than the dregs of the league.
Rest assured, their life expectancy is not long at all, as they’ve lost over 72% of time (58-154 SU) in games against No. 1 seeds since 1996. In fact, only the 1996 New York Knicks, the 2007 Golden State Warriors and the 2012 Philadelphia 76ers were good enough to pull the rug on top-seeded foes and advance to Round Two of the playoff.
And you can virtually write them off in games against No. 1 seeds that are off consecutive SU and ATS wins. These guys scratch out of the match with alarming regularity, going 4-30 SU and 10-24 ATS, including 0-18 SU and 3-15 ATS whenever the 8-ballers are off a spread loss of 4 or more points in their last game. Be aware.
Yes, you read that right… it’s not an oxymoron. Instead, it’s a powerful handicapping edge. It occurs whenever a team was upset as a favorite in an opening round game and is at home in the game immediately thereafter.
That’s confirmed by the fact that they are 97-26 SU and 72-47-4 ATS, a rock solid number 60.5 winning spread angle. And if these upset victims happen to be a No. 1, 2, or 3 seed they are a jaw-dropping 67-11 SU and 50-26-2 ATS in these follow-up affairs, including 27-3 SU and 22-6 ATS when facing a division rival.
Don’t be afraid of these chalkbusters. That’s because they don’t lose their composure. Instead, they almost always dig down deep and respond with aplomb in games after being embarrassed.
Surprisingly, in the right role, double-digit underdogs do well in opening round contests, especially when playing off a playoff loss. These overweight puppies are 35-22-2 ATS in this role.
And if these same guys lost as a double-digit dog in their last game they zoom to 26-13-1 ATS, including 18-6 ATS against non-division foes.
Granted, these dogs are not exactly pedigree puppies but the fact of the matter is they tend to come up big against disinterested favorites not capable of chopping heavy lumber.
And Down Goes Frazier
The psyche of teams that are not playing well comes immediately to the surface during the opening round of the NBA playoffs. That’s evidenced by the fact that teams riding a 0-3 loss-skein in this round are wobbly and oftentimes one punch away from being counted out.
With glass-like jaws, these swirling 0-3 teams are just 28-48 SU and 25-45-4 ATS away from home this round.
Worst of all, 0-3 road dogs of more than four points are 4-28 SU and 8-24 ATS on their way to the canvas.
Defending champions (the Golden State Warriors in this case) are 82-34 SU and 63-48-5 ATS overall in opening round games the next season, including 18-8 SU and 16-9-1 ATS in Game One of Round One the following season.
Furthermore, these champs are 13-3-1 ATS when coming off a double-digit loss during the first round, including a spotless 6-0 SUATS when facing a sub .590 foe.
Enjoy the opening round of the 2018 NBA playoffs.