NBA Playoffs Betting Tips, Strategies & Trends to Consider

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NBA Playoffs Betting Tips, Strategies & Trends to Consider

The much anticipated 2020/21 NBA playoffs tipped off on Tuesday, May 18th. Whilst there won’t be nearly as many spectators in attendance due to the pandemic, that doesn’t mean fans won’t be watching. There will be plenty of people taking in the action on their televisions and on streaming services like the ones you’ll find at top-rated online sportsbooks. Speaking of top bookmakers, here is a quick look at Paddy Power’s odds to win this year’s NBA Championship as of May 19th, 2021.

Paddy Power’s odds to win this year’s NBA Championship

Brooklyn Nets21/10
L.A. Lakers9/2
Utah Jazz11/2
L.A. Clippers11/2
Milwaukee Bucks15/2
Philadelphia 76ers15/2
Phoenix Suns20/1
Miami Heat25/1
Denver Nuggets33/1
Dallas Mavericks35/1
Portland Trail Blazers50/1
Atlanta Hawks90/1
New York Knicks100/1
Boston Celtics100/1
Memphis Grizzlies225/1
Washington Wizards275/1

With more teams in the mix than usual, basketball punters have never had so many potential wagering opportunities to choose from. There’s been no time like the present for punters to experiment with a new NBA playoff betting system. But before you put your NBA playoff strategy to the test, you need to know that the tournament format is a lot different from the traditional setup.

NBA betting reaches the playoffs.

20 Teams to Think About Instead of 16

The biggest difference is that 20 teams qualify for the post-season which is four more than we normally see. The first round of the tournament is a play-in. With the first through sixth-place teams in each conference having secured their playoff berths, the 7th through 10th place teams will battle it out in a single-knockout play-in for the final two spots. The seventh-place team will go up against the eighth-place team whilst the ninth and tenth-placed teams face off. The losers will be sent packing whilst the winners will face each other to decide their playoff-round seedings. The winner of that match will play the conference’s number one seed whilst the loser will face the second seed. Confused? Don’t worry. Once the play-in round is over with, things will resume in the traditional manner with a nice and square 16-team format that should commence on May 22nd or 23rd.

NBA Playoff Brackets

The first round of the NBA playoffs will have the first-place team in both conferences going up against the loser of the play-in finals. The second-place team will face the winner of the play-ins. Then you’ll have the third-place team taking on the sixth-place team whilst the fourth-place team matches up against the fifth-place team. In the next round, the highest remaining seed will play the lowest remaining seed and the middle seeds will clash

This will bring us to the Conference Finals where the top remaining seed will hold the home-court advantage. Then it will all come down to two teams who will battle it out for the big prize. The team with the best regular-season record will host the opener and have the home-court advantage. If the teams had the same record, it then comes down to the team who won the regular-season series between the two.

NBA Playoff Betting Trends to Consider

If you are thinking about trying out a new NBA playoff betting system, you might want to think about a few promising NBA playoff betting trends that have emerged over the past few years. Even though it’s not a great idea to wager based only on trends, some of these look very solid.

NBA Playoff Betting Trends to Consider

Favourites have been money when they have a chance to end a series. Between 2008 and 2017, excluding game sevens in which both teams can close out, favourites were 118-58 straight up and 98-77 against the spread when given the chance to move on to the next round.

If you look deeper into those 176 non-game seven matches, you’ll find some more intriguing NBA playoff betting trends. Road favourites looking to end a series went 39-13 SU and a stunning 36-16 ATS. This shatters the myth of home dogs being a good bet in the playoffs. At least over the past decade or so. On the flip side, home favourites trying to clinch a series win went a lop-sided 53-14 SU. However, they were only 35-32 ATS.

Back Home Favourites in Games 1, 5, and 7

In a seven-game series, the first, fifth, and seventh matches are the most important ones to win. Winning game 1 gets a team out of the gate with an early lead. In a game 5, the series will either be 3-1 or knotted at two. Of course, it’s winner-take-all in game 7. Between 2008 and 2017, home favourites were very profitable in game 5s when the series was tied at two games each. They were an astonishing 45-10 SU and a money-making 34-21 ATS.

Home favourites weren’t too bad in series openers either. They compiled a record of 89-34 SU and 71-52 ATS. As for home favourites in those do-or-die game 7s? Well, they went 25-8 SU and 19-14 ATS.

What should all of this tell you? If you want to make favourites a part of your NBA playoff betting system, you might want to think about betting on them in games 1, 5, and 7, especially when they are at home, and especially when they are in a closeout situation.

What Teams Have Home-Court Advantage in the First Round?

With the play-in round still underway as of this writing, we don’t yet know who the number one and number two seeds in each conference will be playing. However, we do know that they will have a home-court advantage. In the Western Conference, the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets, and Los Angeles Clippers will have home-court advantage. In the Eastern Conference, it will be Philadelphia, the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, and the Brooklyn Nets. This opens up some interesting possibilities. Before getting any further, Let’s go back to Paddy Power and check out the odds to win the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

Odds to Win the Eastern Conference Championship

There’s no doubt as to which team is the overwhelming favourite even though they finished second in the conference, but if you’re into this whole backing the home favourite thing as part of your NBA playoff betting system, and you can’t resist a good long-shot, then one team in particular might grab your attention. Listed at 35/1 to win the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks will enjoy home-court advantage in the first round against Atlanta.

The Dark Horse

The Knicks are 8-2 SU and 8-1-1 ATS versus the Hawks since the start of the 2018/19 season. That includes a record of 3-0 SU and ATS this year. In short, New York makes for a tempting bet to make it out of the first round even though the series odds are very even. The point of all this? With a few lucky bounces and a lot of help from the gambling gods, 35/1 might be worth a go. Getting near-even money on them to win the first round certainly is. Of course, it’s the 76ers, and Brooklyn to a lesser extent, who best fit the home-favourite NBA playoff betting system in the East.

Odds to Win the Western Conference Championship

Brooklyn Nets1/1
Philadelphia 76ers13/5
Milwaukee Bucks10/3
Miami Heat12/1
Atlanta Hawks25/1
New York Knicks35/1
Boston Celtics45/1
Washington Wizards175/1

In the Western Conference, it appears that oddsmakers are partial to the Lakers, Clippers, and Jazz although Phoenix is getting a bit of respect too. Of those four teams, the Los Angeles Lakers are the only team that won’t be opening their series at home. In fact, they will not enjoy home-court advantage in an opener no matter how far they go.

Phoenix and Utah are both intriguing propositions. The Jazz compiled a home record of 31-5 SU and 23-12-1 ATS. Meanwhile, the Suns were 27-9 SU and 23-13 ATS on their home turf. Those teams are tough to beat at home. The Clippers are also in the mix with a home record of 26-10 SU and 21-15 ATS. Whilst the Lakers, who won’t have home-court advantage this year, were decent on the road this year with an SU record of 21-15, they were only 18-17-1 ATS.

The Dark Horse

One of the wild cards in the loaded deck that is the Western Conference is the Denver Nuggets who are currently listed at 11/1 to win the conference. Their 25-11 SU home record was pretty impressive. Their 16-20 ATS record not so much. However, you advance to the next round by winning, not by beating the spread. And Denver has shown that they know how to win, especially at home where they will start their series against Portland as a small favourite.

Dating back to the start of the 2019 regular season, the Nuggets have fared well against the Blazers going 5-2 SU including their 2-1 SU record against them this season. They also happen to have a record of 10-3 SU against Portland over their last 13 home games. Even though the Blazers were one of the best road teams this year, the Nuggets are a team with betting value. It’s a long-shot, but they could have home-court advantage though the playoffs if things go their way. Even if they don’t, their season road record of 22-14 shows that they are serious road warriors. They definitely have value as a near-coin-flip to win their round one series as well as at 11/1 to win the conference.

NBA Playoffs Betting Tips

The NBA playoffs are an exciting time for basketball punters. They will have plenty of live and pre-match betting options to choose from as well as a nice selection of futures and other propositions. This leads us to one of the most important betting tips for NBA playoff of all:

Don’t get too crazy!

The urge to take on more gambling action is hard to resist when you have so many things to bet on. Between the pre-match and in-play wagering opportunities, it’s easy to go overboard. If you are making pre-game wagers, try to narrow your focus. That will increase your chances of making level-headed bets and a profit. If you want to place live wagers, anticipate certain scenarios and pounce on them only if they present themselves. And whatever you do, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.

Do Your Homework

You could flip a coin, throw a dart, or read tea leaves to help you pick a winning bet. But that isn’t a sound NBA playoff betting strategy. If you want to give yourself the best chance of making an informed bet that wins, you need to study each game closely. There are so many different angles to look at that we couldn’t possibly list them all here. You need to study the individual players, head-to-head histories, offences, defences, team strategies, and on and on.

You might not come to a conclusion as to which team will cover the spread or if the game will go over or under the posted total, but you may pick up on something else. Perhaps you’ll notice that a certain player does particularly well against a certain team. You won’t have a tough time finding a prop bet to match your discovery.

Don’t be Afraid to Bet on Underdogs

Even though you may have an NBA playoff betting system that revolves around favourites, you shouldn’t shy away from pulling the trigger on an underdog if you’ve done your homework and feel that it’s the right pick. Underdogs come through and they can be quite profitable.

Take Full Advantage of Sportsbook Bonuses and Promotions

Taking advantage of bonuses and participating in promotions should be a part of any punter’s wagering strategy. There are countless reputable bookmakers that offer a variety of incentives such as bonus bets, boosted odds, cashback, and bonus cash. Even though a £5 bonus bet may seem like small potatoes, claiming a bunch of them can turn those bland spuds into a prime rib feast with all the trimmings. You may even be lucky enough to find a no-deposit bonus. Claiming bonuses can be the difference between losing money and turning a profit.

Wager at a Site that Offers Live Streaming

Live betting has exploded in popularity over the past several years. Not only is it very exciting, but it also creates unique and potentially profitable betting opportunities. If you want to give yourself the best chance to find success in live bet situations, following the action in real-time on a live stream is immensely helpful. You can get a better feel for the match’s flow, a team’s form, and a better overall sense of what’s going on. Many bookmaker live streams also provide punters with informative insight related to betting. Live betting and live streams go hand-in-hand.

Keep a Level Head and Keep it Fun

You’ll win some, and you’ll lose some. The important thing about betting on NBA playoffs or any other sport is that you have fun doing it. Remember that betting should be merely seen as a form of entertainment. Sure, you should relish your victories, but you should also be able to shrug off a loss. Don’t go on tilt and start chasing your losses. That’s a sure-fire way to zero out your betting account.


The cashout feature has become a standard fixture at the world’s top bookmakers. Simply put, this allows punters to close their bets before the end of a match. Like most other gambling-related things, there are pros and cons to using cashout. If your team is winning, but they look like they are about to collapse, using the cashout feature will ensure your bet wins. You might not make quite as much profit, but it’s guaranteed cash.

Alternatively, if the team you bet on is losing, and things keep getting worse, you can use the cashout feature to at least get a portion of your stake back. It probably won’t be much, but it’s better than nothing.

Get the Best Odds

Why would you risk £10 to win £9 when you could wager that same £10 on the same bet to win £9.50? Whilst the difference doesn’t seem like much, it can really add up over time. Shopping around for the best odds is an essential part of any successful NBA playoff betting system. Doing so will ensure you win more money when you win your bets whilst minimizing your losses when things don’t go your way. Be sure to take advantage of odds boost promotions too.

NBA Punters are in for a Wild Ride

The start of the NBA playoffs is a great time for basketball punters to test their NBA playoff betting strategies. It also presents a prime opportunity to try new online bookmakers and get in on some wonderful welcome bonuses, reload bonuses, and ongoing promotions. With incentives like bonus bets, putting your wagering innovations into practice won’t cost you anything if you fail. Bonus cash, enhanced odds, acca insurance, and cashback offer also go a long way toward making your NBA playoff punting more profitable.

NBA Playoffs: Round 1 Betting Preview

Milwaukee Bucks (4/11) vs. Miami Heat (12/5)

With a season record of 46-26, the Bucks weren’t quite as dominant as many punters thought they would be. Still, Milwaukee is a heavy favourite to get past the Miami Heat who went 40-32. This series will be a rematch of last year’s semi-finals that Miami surprisingly took in five games en route to their appearance in the finals. Revenge is definitely on Milwaukee’s mind.

These two teams faced each other three times during the regular season. The Bucks rolled to 144-97 win in the first matchup, shattering the 6-point spread. The Bucks went on to take the season series 2-1. If you expect big things out of Giannis Antetokounmpo, you might want to consider the fact that Bam Adebayo and the Heat did a great job of containing the two-time MVP this season as they did in last year’s playoffs. The Heat are a live dog in this series.

Los Angeles Clippers (1/4) vs. Dallas Mavericks (16/5)

These two teams went up against each other in the first round of last year’s playoffs. The Clippers won that series 4-2 before falling to the Nuggets in the semi-finals. Once again, the Clippers are expected to have a good playoff run after finishing the season with an impressive 47-25 record. However, it won’t be easy getting past a team that won the season series 2-1.

One of the main points of interest will be Doncic vs. Leonard. Paul George and Hardaway Jr. will also play huge roles for their respective teams. This series should be a lot closer than the odds would indicate. The first-round playoff bracket features a few live dogs, and the Mavs are one of them.

Portland Trail Blazers (9/10) vs. Denver Nuggets (19/20)

Whilst this is a showdown between a #3 seed and a #6 seed, this has the potential to be a real barn burner. The Nuggets have had Portland’s number over the past couple of years. They won two of three this year and have won five of the last seven meetings overall. The thing is that Portland covered the spread in all three meetings this year.

One of the key questions for Denver is whether they can continue to roll in the absence of Jamal Murray. The fact that they went 13-5 would seem to indicate that they can. But can they do it against a Portland squad that went 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS down the stretch? Talk about a coin toss!

Atlanta Hawks (9/10) vs. New York Knicks (19/20

The New York Knicks compiled a 41-31 record this season and were money against the spread at 45-26-1. They enter this series having won four of their last five. Meanwhile, Atlanta comes in with seven wins over their final eight games and they also sported a 41-31 season record. It’s pretty easy to see why oddsmakers have the odds set so evenly.

The Knicks won the season series 3-0 and they covered all three spreads. One of the reasons for this was Atlanta couldn’t contain Julius Randle. The Hawks will need to find a solution if they are to succeed in this series. They will also need their high-powered offence to click against one of the top defences in the league. Those who believe that defence wins championships will likely be on the Knicks, whilst those who believe the opposite will be taking the Hawks.

Phoenix Suns (18/10) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (4/9)

As many expected, LeBron and the Lakers are in although they didn’t take the easiest route to make it there. Their 43-30 record doesn’t look too bad, but they have been plagued by stretches of inconsistency. They may have closed out the regular season and play-in round with six consecutive victories, but they were a terrible 2-8 SU and a money-draining 2-7-1 ATS in their previous 10 games. In fact, the Lakers are a putrid 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 overall.

Phoenix on the other hand has been hot for most of the season and has gone 15-5 SU over their last 20 games although, like the Lakers, they’ve struggled against the spread. Their 51-21 season record was the second-best in the league, and they beat the Lakers in the season series 2-1. So, what gives? The Suns had the seventh-best offence and sixth-best defence. They also hold home-court advantage against an LA team that is just 8-12 over their last 20 road games. Oh, that’s right…the Lakers have LeBron and Anthony.

Brooklyn Nets (1/18) vs. Boston Celtics (8/1)

The odds for this series say a lot. The Nets, who went 48-24 during the regular season, should roll against a Boston team that barely snuck in via the play-ins with a 36-36 regular-season record. But that doesn’t mean the Nets are a strong bet ATS. They were just 38-34 ATS this year. Boston can’t be trusted either with their 34-38 ATS record this season.

Harden, Durant, and Irving will all be in the lineup to start the series. Game 1 will mark just the ninth time this year that all three have been healthy at the same time. Even if one or more of their superstars are lost to injury, the Nets have the luxury of a deep and talented bench.

The Celtics are lucky to be here, and many would argue that they simply don’t deserve to be. Whilst they’ve been battered by the injury bug, that’s not a good enough excuse for going an abysmal 4-9 down the stretch. Of course, those four wins came against teams that won’t be among the final 16. Even if the Celtics were 100% healthy, they are simply overmatched. Getting out of this series with two wins, let alone one would be an accomplishment.

Philadelphia 76ers (1/12) vs. Washington Wizards (13/2)

After missing the playoffs for two-straight years, the Washington Wizards managed to qualify this year despite finishing the regular season with a record of 34-38. Those who backed them against the spread down the stretch were certainly pleased with their 9-3-1 ATS record. It’s too bad that they have to face the Sixers who went 49-32 during the regular season including a final 12 games in which they went 10-2 SU and 8-4 ATS.

Opening the series in Philly will be an even bigger challenge for Washington as the 76ers won their last seven straight home games going 6-1 ATS. They won all but one of those games by more than 10 points. For their part, the Wizards have played reasonably well on the road despite dropping their last three away from home. Before that, they were on a nice 8-3 SU run in which they went 8-2-1 ATS. However, Philly swept the season series going 2-1 ATS. As the odds indicate, Joel Embiid and company shouldn’t face too much resistance.

Utah Jazz (7/100) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (17/2)

The Grizzlies clawed their way to the final 16 via the play-ins after going 38-34 during the 2020/21 season. Their reward? A first-round matchup against the Utah Jazz who swept the season series and went 52-20 overall. The Jazz had a pretty good stretch run tallying 10 wins over their final 15 games. However, the Grizzlies kicked their level of play up a few notches going 8-2 over their last 10 games.

This series may appear to be a bit lop-sided on paper, especially considering series opens in Utah where the Jazz compiled a league-best home record of 31-5. But the 20-16 road record that Memphis put together shows that they are comfortable away from home. Utah’s high-powered offence versus the Grizzlies’ defence will hopefully provide some entertaining moments, but this series should be short.

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Los Angeles Lakers23/10
Los Angeles Clippers13/5
Utah Jazz11/4
Phoenix Suns7/1
Denver Nuggets11/1
Dallas Mavericks16/1
Portland Trail Blazers16/1
Memphis Grizzlies90/1

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