With help from our trusted well-oiled database, let’s examine four time-tested proven theories that have lined our pocket during the opening round of playoffs. All results are since 1991 unless noted otherwise.
Here’s what the machine has to say…
No. 8 Seeds Are Behind The 8-Ball
For the most part, No. 8 seeds in the NBA playoffs are teams that likely scratched and clawed their way into the postseason. Not good enough to be seriously considered threats against top-seeded opponents but just barely better than the dregs of the league.
Rest assured, their life expectancy is not long at all, as they’ve lost over 70% of time (45-114) in games against No. 1 seeds since 1996. In fact, only the 1996 New York Knicks, the 2007 Golden State Warriors and last year’s 2012 Philadelphia 76ers were good enough to pull the rug on top seeded foes and advance to Round Two of the playoffs.
And you can virtually write them off in games against No. 1 seeds that are off back-to-back SU and ATS wins. These guys scratch out of the match with alarming regularity, going 3-23 SU and 7-19 ATS, including 1-13 SU and 2-12 ATS whenever the 8-ballers are off a loss of 14 or more points in their last game.
Upset Losers Are Winners
No, 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 56-35-4 ATS, a rock solid number. If they were upset at home in this round and return home they improve to 52-14 SU and 39-24-3 ATS, including 24-1 SU and 18-6-1 ATS when squaring off against a No. 6 or lower seed.
Don’t be afraid of these chalkbusters. That’s because they don’t lose their composure. Instead they almost always elect to 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 28-16-2 ATS in this role, including 17-8-1 ATS versus a non-division foe.
And if these same guys are involved in a game with the Over/Under total set at 193 or higher they zoom to 15-3 ATS.
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 three game-exact loss skein are wobbly and oftentimes one punch away from being counted out.
With glass-like jaws, these swirling teams are just 6-30 SU and 11-25 ATS away from home this round, including 1-10 SU and 2-9 ATS in lid-lifters.
Worst of all, road dogs of more than six points on a three game exact losing skid are 3-23 SU and 7-19 ATS on their way to the canvas.
The Golden State Warriors are 12-1-1 ATS as dogs or favorites of less than 3 points in the first round of the playoffs, including 8-0 ATS when taking 8 or less points.
Enjoy the opening round of the 2013 NBA playoffs.