After an 82 game season that felt like two, the NBA Playoffs are finally here. The Lakers are out and upstarts like the Grizzlies are in. The 7-8-9-10 Play-In format worked as planned, leading to more meaningful games all the way to the end of the season. The Phoenix Suns finished with the league’s best record this year at 64-18 and have the lowest odds to win the championship at around +250. The defending champion, the Milwaukee Bucks, a 3 seed this year sit at +400. The Miami Heat are the number 1 seed in the East. The hottest team in the NBA might be the number 4 seed, the Dallas Mavericks. It honestly feels like as many as six to seven teams could hold up the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.
NBA Playoffs: Defense for the Win
Looking for a key factor when picking your future champ, well its cliché, but defense wins championships. Phrases only become cliches if they are true and this certainly holds true in the NBA. Fifteen of the last twenty-one NBA Finals have featured a match up of teams that finished the regular season in the Top 10 in defensive efficiency. Over the past 25 years, only one NBA champion has had a defensive efficiency worse than 10th in the league – the star laden, super-high scoring 2017 Golden State Warriors, who were 11th.
NBA Playoffs: Totals and Player Props +EV
During the regular season I stick to totals and avoid sides, but during the playoffs, I will play a side here and there if I see an advantage. That said, I will mostly be on totals and Player Props +EV and worth playing. I also may occasionally make a series bet, if I find an advantage. That said, last year’s playoffs were filled with injuries to star players on several teams, which changed the entire complexion of the playoffs, so be cautious when playing those futures. Mostly, I am rooting for a healthy playoffs with some true odds to make some winning plays. Let’s close the NBA season with some extra green in our bankroll.