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Hot & Not Report
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Who's Hot and Who's Not

Week of April 15th

After a few weeks hiatus for this piece due to just too many different sports going on, with the NHL and NBA playoffs now underway, I thought it was best to bring it back this week as playoff betting – especially on the hardwood – takes center stage.

And with one playoff game in the books already for every single first round NBA matchup, it will be that league that gets the spotlight shone on them here, with Game 2's spread out over the next few days. So let's get right to it, and hopefully these streaks can continue over the coming days and the rest of the NBA playoffs.

Who's Hot

Backing NBA road teams that won Game 1 outright in the Opening Round: 8-3-1 ATS last five seasons

This situation typically goes against the general consensus in the NBA playoffs, but when you really break it down it does make a lot of sense. I say that because in these Game 2 spots where the home team (the one with the better record) slipped up and lost the series opener, almost everyone expects that team to bounce back in a big way in Game 2 to avoid going out on the road down 0-2 in the series. That line of thought has betting markets backing these home teams hand over fist, inflating numbers and betting these lines like they've already got the box scores from tomorrow's newspaper in their hands.

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Yet, that hasn't particularly been the case in recent history, as these road teams that won the series opener don't particularly cool off, at least from an ATS perspective. That 8-3-1 ATS record referenced at the top over the past five seasons is based on closing numbers too, and even in terms of outright results, these road teams are 5-7 SU in those Game 2's. So nearly half the time the past five years we've seen these road teams head home up 2-0 in the series, but if you listen to plenty of talking heads in both the mainstream and sports betting markets, you would never think that was the case. The past two years alone it's been a perfect 5-0 ATS.

With Philadelphia 76ers fans booing their team off the court after Game 1, Toronto Raptors fans saying “it's the same old Raptors” despite the major trade they made last summer, and Denver Nuggets fans chalking up their Game 1 loss to a lack of playoff experience, I hate to say it to fans of those teams, but things may not get any better for you over the next 24-48 hours. We've already seen each point spread on Philly, Toronto, and Denver get bumped up by at least a half-point from open, as the market assumes there is no way these teams don't bounce back.

Yet, don't be afraid to be contrarian in these spots, especially if the spreads keep climbing, and even going out on a limb and taking a piece of the juicy ML odds with Brooklyn, Orlando and/or San Antonio should be considered. Since the start of the 2015 playoffs, these road warriors are 3-4 SU in Game 2's after winning Game 1 outright, and with all the ML prices for those games being upwards of +200 and much higher, that 43% win rate has produced quite a bit of profit.

Who's Not

'Over' bettors are 0-8 in 2019 NBA playoffs

A two-day sample size isn't anything to be concerned about if you got burned on an 'over' or two this weekend in the NBA, but basketball playoffs are funny in that regard in the sense that referees in playoff games (of any sport) tend to eat their whistles, and that has such a big impact on basketball scoring as it is.

The flurry of 'unders' cashing over the weekend weren't just because of a lack of fouls called, as playoff jitters, talent disparity in the matchups, and teams throwing in the towel for that game when they know it's decided all played a part as well, but looking to go 'under' the total in NBA playoff games in general isn't a bad place to start your handicapping.

Last year's NBA playoffs finished with a 37-45 O/U record for their entirety, and that's just blindly taking the 'under' vs the closing line. If you were tracking numbers prior to the games this weekend you would have noticed plenty of early 'under' money pushing openers down quite a bit and that's probably not going to change as the games roll on. Obviously there comes a point where a move is too big of one and combined with certain situational aspects that a specific game may provide, looking 'over' may be the way to go, but even just looking at some of the box scores from this weekend, you'll see a lot of things that were more of a rarity in regular season play.

For instance, of the 32 quarters played across the eight games on Saturday and Sunday, four of them finished with 39 or fewer points combined, and 14 of them were sub-50 point efforts, including all four quarters in the Indiana/Boston game. Say what you will about how that Celtics/Pacers game looked aesthetically from an offensive perspective, but in a league where totals of at least 210 are the new norm, to have 44% of the quarters played in Game 1's not even combine for 50 points, speaks to the increased effort by everyone on the defensive end in the playoffs.

Guys have little to no interest in playing defense during the regular season in this league because of how grinding the schedule is and that sheer offensive talent alone usually wins on most nights, but dangle a potential championship run in front of them during the playoffs and that all changes. Combine with fewer fouls called and subsequently fewer points from the charity stripe, and looking low throughout the playoffs should be a good starting point.

  
HEADLINES
· David: Tuesday's Playoff Tips
· News: Playoff Betting Results
· News: First Round Series Odds
· Raptors look to finish series with Magic
· Nets minority owner fined $35K for tweet
· First round sorely lacks playoff drama
· Pacers face offseason question marks
· Celtics face tough road after sweep
· Pierce replacing McMillan on USA staff
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