April 15, 2023

2023 NBA Playoffs betting trends on odds, ATS stats, more

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The NBA playoffs tip off Saturday with the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks entering the postseason as the +275 betting favorites. That is tied for the longest odds for the betting favorite entering the postseason since 2000, making this a wide-open playoffs on paper.

The 4-seed Phoenix Suns are favored to win the West, making them the third team seeded fourth or lower to be a conference favorite entering the playoffs, and the first since the 2021 Los Angeles Lakers lost in the first round as a 7-seed against the Suns.

The Golden State Warriors are the second favorites in the West. They are the first six seed to be at least a -200 road favorite in a playoff series in the past 35 seasons.

While the Los Angeles Lakers are seventh in title odds at Caesars Sportsbook (14-1), they are series underdogs against the Memphis Grizzlies. It would be the first time LeBron James has ever closed as a playoff underdog.


Playoff Trends

Unders were 51-34-2 in the playoffs last season, including 21-6 in Games 5-7. Unders are 223-186-10 over the past five postseasons, including 68-49-2 in Games 5-7. Unders in Game 1 are also 35-24-1 over the last four postseasons.

Home teams are 42-33 ATS in Game 1 of playoff series in the last five postseasons. Unders are 42-32-1 in Game 1 in that span (35-24-1 in last four postseasons).

Over the last five postseasons, home teams are 88-61-1 ATS in the first two games of playoff series, including 47-32 ATS in the first round. Road teams are 36-20 ATS in Games 6 and 7 in that span (13-4 ATS in Game 7).

Over the last 11 postseasons, teams favored by at least six points are 227-170-4 ATS (.572). Last postseason, teams favored by at least 8.5 points were 2-8 ATS, while favorites of 6-8 points were 17-3 ATS.


Phoenix Suns (-470) at LA Clippers (+350)

  • This is the widest series price in a 4-5 first-round matchup since 2018 when the Cleveland Cavaliers were -600 against the Indiana Pacers (won in 7 games).

  • The Suns were -200 favorites when they beat the Clippers in the 2021 Western Conference Finals (Clippers +170).

  • The Suns were 2-2 outright and 3-1 ATS against the Clippers during the regular season. Kevin Durant played in none of those games.

  • The Suns were 8-0 outright and 6-2 ATS with Kevin Durant in the lineup. Overs and unders were 4-4.

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Why the Suns provide ‘value’ vs. the Clippers

Doug Kezirian doesn’t expect the Suns-Clippers series to go to sevens games and likes the value he sees in Phoenix.

  • Phoenix is 8-4 ATS in first-round games under Monty Williams.

  • The Clippers were 40-42 ATS this season. They were 28-24 ATS with Kawhi Leonard in the lineup.

  • Clippers road games were 26-15 to the over, while Clippers home games were 26-14-1 to the under.


Philadelphia 76ers (-900) at Brooklyn Nets (+600)

  • The 76ers were 48-34 ATS during the regular season, the best mark in the NBA, and tied with the 2016-17 season for the 76ers’ best mark in the last 30 seasons. Overs were 45-36-1 in 76ers games.

  • The -900 series price is Philadelphia’s second-largest series price as a favorite in the last 35 seasons, only behind the 1st round in 2021 when the 76ers beat the Wizards in five games as -1000 favorites.

  • The Nets were 43-39 ATS during the regular season with unders going 44-38. They were 13-14 ATS since Mikal Bridges’ debuted Feb. 11 (unders: 15-12).

  • The 76ers went 4-0 outright and 3-1 ATS in the regular season against the Nets. Overs were 3-1.

  • Doc Rivers is 16-31 ATS in potential series-clinching games, including 3-14 ATS since leaving the Boston Celtics.

  • Philadelphia was 9-6 ATS when laying at least eight points this season. However, out of the six times they failed to cover, they lost outright five times.

  • A Nets series win would be the largest series upset since the 2020 Western Conference semifinals when the Denver Nuggets (+850) upset the Los Angeles Clippers. The last time a +600 underdog won a playoff series outside of the 2020 pandemic bubble was in the 1st round of 2012 when the Philadelphia 76ers (+900) upset the Chicago Bulls after Derrick Rose got hurt.


Cleveland Cavaliers (-210) at New York Knicks (+175)

  • This is the first time the Cavaliers have been favored in a playoff series without LeBron James on the roster since the first round in 1996, when they lost the series as -185 favorites against the New York Knicks.

  • The Cavaliers were 27-16-1 ATS in the regular season when favored by at least four points and 16-21 ATS in all other games (7-10 ATS as underdogs).

  • Tom Thibodeau is 6-21 outright and 11-16 ATS as a postseason underdog. The Knicks were 1-4 outright and ATS in the playoffs last season under Thibodeau with unders going 4-0-1.

  • The Knicks went 3-1 outright and ATS against the Cavaliers this season, all as an underdog, including winning the last three meetings outright.

  • Knicks overs were 24-16-1 as a favorite this season (18-20 as underdog).


Sacramento Kings (+225) vs. Golden State Warriors (-275)

  • The Kings are the first top-3 seed to be at least a +200 first-round underdog in the last 35 seasons, while the Warriors are the first team seeded 6th or lower to be a -200 series favorite in Round 1 in that span. They are the fourth road team in the last 20 postseasons to be at least a -200 road favorite in the first round.

  • The Warriors are the seventh team in the last 20 seasons to be a road favorite in a first-round playoff series despite being a 6 seed or worse. Five of the previous six actually lost their series as road favorites, including each of the four instances.

  • The Warriors were 11-30 outright on the road this season, the fourth-worst record in the NBA, only ahead of the Spurs, Rockets and Pistons. The Warriors were a league-worst 12-29 ATS on the road, the second-worst mark in the regular season by any team in the last 30 seasons, only ahead of the 2020-21 Cleveland Cavaliers (10-26 ATS in shortened season). However, the Kings were only 18-23 ATS at home.

  • While they struggled on the road, the Warriors were 33-8 at home this season, including a league-best 27-13-1 ATS. They were 5-0 ATS as home underdogs. However, the Kings had the best ATS road record in the NBA at 27-14, including 14-7 ATS as a road favorite and 13-7 ATS as a road underdog.

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Tyler Fulghum sees value in betting the Kings against the Warriors

Tyler Fulghum makes the case for putting some action on the Sacramento Kings in their NBA playoff series against the Warrriors.

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Why the Suns provide ‘value’ vs. the Clippers

Doug Kezirian doesn’t expect the Suns-Clippers series to go to sevens games and likes the value he sees in Phoenix.

  • Both teams also had drastic home-road total splits. Overs were 28-12-1 in Warriors road games, compared to unders going 23-17-1 at home. Kings home games were 25-15-1 to the over, while Kings road games were 25-15-1 to the under.

  • The Kings exceeded expectations this season, becoming the biggest longshot to win any division in the NBA, NFL, MLB or NHL in the last decade, winning the Pacific at 250-1. Their win total was also 34.5, the lowest out of any team to reach the playoffs. They entered the season 350-1 to win the NBA title and 150-1 to win the Western Conference.

  • Mike Brown is 48-34-1 ATS in his postseason career (.585). Steve Kerr is 68-57-2 ATS in his postseason career (.544).

  • The Warriors were 45-35-2 to the over this season, tied for the fourth-highest mark in the NBA.


Boston Celtics (-1000) vs Atlanta Hawks (+650)

  • This is Boston’s largest favorite price in a series since the first round of 2008 when they were -8000 favorites against the Hawks (won in 7 games).

  • The Celtics have won and covered five-straight meetings, including all three meetings this season.

  • Hawks games were 47-36 to the over this season (.566), the third-highest mark in the NBA, including 29-18 as a favorite. Celtics games were 42-39-1 to the over, but 25-15 at home.

  • Unders are 17-5-1 in Hawks playoff games over the past two postseasons, including 5-0 last postseason.

  • The Celtics were 17-15-1 ATS when favored by at least nine points this season. However, they were only 24-9 outright.

  • A Hawks series win would be the largest series upset since the 2020 Western Conference semifinals when the Denver Nuggets (+850) upset the Los Angeles Clippers. The last time a +600 underdog won a playoff series outside of the 2020 pandemic bubble was in the 1st round of 2012 when the Philadelphia 76ers (+900) upset the Chicago Bulls after Derrick Rose got hurt.

  • Play-in tournament winners are 6-3 ATS in their first playoff game.

  • The Hawks have not been more than a 7.5-point favorite this season with Trae Young in the lineup. With Young, the Hawks are 3-3 outright and ATS as at least a four-point underdog, including their win in the play-in tournament as five-point underdogs at the Miami Heat.

  • Two seeds are 99-73 ATS in the last five postseasons. Over the last six postseasons, seven and eight seeds are a combined 44-82-1 ATS.


Memphis Grizzlies (-135) vs Los Angeles Lakers (+115)

  • This is the first time LeBron James has ever been an underdog in a first-round playoff series.

  • This is the third-best line for a 7-seed in a first-round playoff series in the last 35 seasons. The Lakers were -175 road favorites in 2021 against the Suns (lost), while the Celtics swept the Nets last season as -130 favorites. This is just the sixth first-round 2-7 series in the last 35 seasons where the favorite did not have at least -200 odds.

  • Unders are 14-3 in 17 meetings since James joined the Lakers in 2018. The home team won and covered all three meetings this season (the Grizzlies were favored in all three regular-season meetings).

  • Lakers overs were 25-16 on the road compared to 18-24 at home. The Lakers’ final eight regular-season games went over the total, but their play-in game against Minnesota ended 23.5 points under the total despite going to overtime.

  • James’ teams are 3-14 outright and 6-11 ATS in Game 1 of playoff series on the road.

  • James is 148-115-3 ATS in the playoffs (.563).

  • Play-in tournament winners are 6-3 ATS in their first playoff game.

  • Two seeds are 99-73 ATS in the last five postseasons. Over the last six postseasons, seven and eight seeds are a combined 44-82-1 ATS.

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