NBA Finals Betting

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Betting The NBA Finals
By Tom Wilkinson

The NBA finals are the most popular time for bettors that really like NBA basketball and they present some good opportunities for those that love to bet the NBA. Teams from the Western Conference have dominated the NBA finals recently. The Lakers and Spurs have won the last five NBA titles and right now the power resides in the West. When betting the NBA finals we start and usually end with the Western Conference.

As we begin our look at betting the NBA finals we want to consider first looking at betting the series price for the NBA finals. With the recent dominance of the Western Conference it is very difficult to make a case for taking a team from the East. Until that trend changes I would first look to take the West when playing the series. Game by game we may be able to make a case for the East since they will be getting generous points, but for the series we will stick with the West for now. When it comes to winning the NBA finals the trends seem to be very streaky. Before winning the last 5 years the Western Conference really struggled losing 8 of 10 years. That period of time was during the Chicago Bull’s run with the great Michael Jordan. The East will eventually break back into the win column but right now it is safer to stick to the West.

As we look to bet on the NBA Finals on an individual game basis we want to consider the zig-zag theory. That is the betting theory that has us taking the loser of each of the previous games. Obviously we have no play in game one, but after that we just take the losing team in the next game. In the last seven years the zig-zag angle has produced a solid 17-13-1 record in the NBA Finals. Over the past 20 years the record is just as good at 51-40-1. You can always look for the losing team in the NBA Finals to really put forth an extreme effort after a loss because they know that losing two straight in the finals is almost the kiss of death. Another advantage to taking the losing team in the next game is that almost all of the time we get added value. If a team gets blown out in the first game, the line usually moves toward the winning team a little bit as the public overreacts to the score. In high profile games such as the ones that you see in the NBA Finals, the media can really get down on a team in a hurry and that increases the line value that we will get. I am known to go against the public in many instances and when a team plays very poorly they usually bounce back, especially if they hear all the negative publicity.

Another option when betting the NBA Finals is to go against the home team. Nearly every time the home team in the NBA Finals is overpriced and very often over-hyped. The value lies with the road team and it applies even more in the second game if they lost the first one. The public is ready to jump all over a dominant home team after they win game one and that gives us very good line value. Home teams straight up since 1984 have a winning record but not the dominant record you might think. They are up around 58% and that seems low considering the power teams we have had in the NBA Finals. The Bulls, Lakers, and Spurs have really dominated the NBA Finals over the past 15 yrs but they have not been as dominant at home as you might expect. If we look at the home dominance in other rounds we see that home teams win at over 65 percent all the way through the Conference Finals. We get added value on the road team in the NBA Finals and also get the opportunity to take them on the moneyline as well. We get some nice returns at big money prices on road teams in the Finals. It doesn’t take much to profit in the NBA Finals if just once or twice the road team wins straight up. Another angle to consider is to bet the totals to go under. Nearly every time the public and media is ready to see points scored and they almost always bet the over. It is just human nature to want to see points scored in the Finals and the value almost always lies with the under. Once again it shows that if you go against the public your chances of winning are always much better.

When we bet the NBA Finals it is good to keep in mind the basic handicapping principles we have discussed. The NBA Finals are a time to look to the road team and to look hard at any team off a loss. If we keep these two things in mind we are more likely to profit from the NBA’s most exciting time.

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Jay has been watching and following sports since he could walk and turned to betting in his late teens. His favorite sport is MLB and has been producing winners on UltimateCapper for over 15 years. Follow Jay's free sports picks and enjoy the winners.