Don’t Be Misled When Handicapping the NBA Finals

Don’t be misled when handicapping the NBA finals.

Key Points

– Bettors are too easily misled by factors that don’t matter when handicapping the NBA finals.

– Handicapping the NBA finals should take into account a variety of betting factors.

Don’t Be Misled When Handicapping the NBA Finals

When handicapping the NBA finals, cappers rush to determine how the teams match up, who has the advantage, and where the value is. They look for value in futures bets and individual game lines once the NBA finals are determined. 

This requires expert NBA bettors to examine every element of both teams’ histories that contributed to their current positions. It is a useful technique, but if bettors aren’t diligent and analytical, it’s easy for them to be misled by what they observe. 

When assessing an NBA Finals matchup, there are five characteristics that are prone to being misinterpreted. Make sure you understand each before placing a bet.

Regular Season Record

The only aspect of an NBA team’s regular season record that matters at this point is whether or not they won enough games to qualify for the playoffs. Beyond that, nothing else is important. 

Too many bettors will use the fact that one team won a disproportionate number of games over the other as evidence that they were superior. This isn’t always the case. 

One basketball team might compete in a division or conference that is weaker than the other. A team might also have had to deal with the long-term absence of their best player due to injury or might have made a key trade deadline acquisition. Players changing teams often change how to bet the NBA after the trade deadline.

Whatever the cause, the regular season record has a lot more potential to deceive than it does to give the serious NBA bettor relevant information. 


Handicapping the NBA Finals – Regular Season

Bettors frequently pay great attention to the games played between the opponents during the regular season. Too often, bettors make conclusions based upon these games alone. 

There are a number of reasons why the regular season series might not have any influence at all on the NBA finals. Rest is a big factor. One team could have played on back-to-back nights while the other was well-rested. Injuries are another factor. Don’t forget about motivation. One team might not necessarily need to win and is less motivated than the other.

A season series is often meaningless when handicapping the NBA finals. That’s not to say there is no value in looking at the season series. Just be careful and don’t put too much emphasis on it.

Playoff Success 

It can be easy to become enthused about a team that does very well in the postseason. Getting to the NBA finals requires 12 wins. There are times when a team makes the finals having only played 13 or 14 games. That can give the impression that a team is pretty dominant. 

Again, that success can be misleading. A higher seed ends up playing a team that qualified for the playoffs via the play-in tournament. The higher seed ends up winning a second-round series 4-0. 

In the next series, that team falls to a team that had to go a full seven games in its previous series. The challenges of playing under pressure of elimination made that team stronger in the postseason. 

The bottom line is to not judge a team based on its playoff success alone. Just because a team swept its first-round opponent, that doesn’t mean they will sweep their second-round opponent too.

Public Handicapping the NBA Finals

The betting public almost always deceives bettors. Teams that are popular, from a large basketball market, or have superstar players often draw more bets from casual bettors. These public bettors will wager on teams like the Celtics and Lakers no matter what. That isn’t always the smartest bet. It might be why you are a losing sports bettor.

It’s often the case that smart bettors will bet against the public. Remember, the sportsbook wins more often than not. That’s why they are still in business. Bettors should always look at how the public is betting the NBA finals before placing their bets.

Media Coverage

Ultimately, the media’s objective is to reach as many viewers, readers, or listeners as they can. The media makes money getting subscriptions, generating clicks, etc.

The media is interested in generating a buzz. They focus on topics and viewpoints that will draw the largest audience. Bettors that pay too much attention to these types of stories can easily be misled. 

These are the stories that the betting public will pay attention to before they place their bets. That can be used to the smart bettor’s advantage. Again, savvy bettors will factor this into their handicapping the NBA finals and bet against the public from time to time.