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NBA and NHL Playoff Betting Trends

4/19/11

Looking for post season betting trends in either the NHL or the NBA? In the NHL we saw the favorites and the under get off to a fast start, including the "Grand Salami", which is the total of all games that day, which started 3-1 to the under. But things have since evened out. So far in the NHL, the underdogs are 10-13 straight up and +$35 based on $100 wagers. Meanwhile, the favorites are 13-10 and - $225.

It's a short sample of games, but a nice example of why betting on favorites long term, is a losing proposition. Doesn't mean you should ignore favorites completely. But it does mean you should look very hard at underdogs and should throw out the high priced favorites automatically. If you're betting on hockey or baseball and laying more than -130 on a regular basis, odds are, you're a losing sports bettor.

The totals in the NHL have also evened out. After a fast start for the unders, which you might expect in an NHL playoff game, the overs have come flying back. The overs are now 10-9-4 and the Grand Salami is 3-3.

Over in the NBA we've seen a bit of a surprise. The NBA has long been known as the league of home team domination. Especially the higher seeded teams. The Spurs and the Bulls were the best home teams all year, both with 36-5 records. Yet, the Spurs lost game 1 outright! Wow. In fact, the home teams are a pathetic 2-8 against the spread so far in the NBA playoffs.

We'd expect that 2-8 mark to start to trend back towards the favorites. But be careful. In many instances, you'll pay the price for backing them. For example, the Spurs closed as a 6.5 point favorite in game 1 against the Grizzlies. For Game 2, you're paying a 2 point premium to back the Spurs as they are currently -8.5 point favs.

Certainly, the odds of the Grizzlies winning 2 straight in San Antonio are astronomical. We're talking a 36-5 home team against a 16-25 road team. But whether they come out and destroy the Grizzlies by a comfortable margin is another story.

What's the moral of this story? In the short term, keep an eye on the NBA home favorites and the NHL underdogs. But pick your spots carefully!

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