Betting on Underdogs in the NBA Conference Semifinals Doc’s Sports

The opening round of this year’s NBA playoffs was one of the most competitive series of games in recent memory. It took 50 of a potential 56 games to decide the eight conference quarterfinal matchups. There were five Game 7s this past Saturday and Sunday.

Looking back at scores and betting results for the games, you would find that the underdog went 23-27 straight up in the 50 games with a profitable record against the spread of 33-15-2. That translates to a net gain of $1,650 on a $100 wager if you would have bet the underdog in every game of all eight series. The cream rose to the top at the end with the favorite winning four of the five Game 7’s SU while going 3-2 ATS. You have to ask yourself for this next round of games if the positive betting trends on the underdog will continue.

The playoffs resume this Monday night with the start of two of the four series in the NBA Conference Semifinals. The Washington Wizards could be the most intriguing underdog in the East with a date against Indiana in the next round. They stunned Chicago in five games in the opening round while going 4-1 ATS.

The momentum heading into this series is certainly in their favor, especially when you consider that No. 1 Indiana needed seven games to get past No. 8 Atlanta after falling behind 3-2 in that series. The Pacers went 3-4 ATS in the seven games, but going all the way back to the final regular season game in February they are a costly 9-24 ATS in their last 33 contests. I would say that your best bet is to continue to ride the underdog in the first few games of this series, especially if the Wizards open as underdogs at home.

The second series in the East pits No. 6 Brooklyn verse No. 2 Miami starting this Tuesday night with Game 1 of this best-of-seven conference clash. The Nets needed seven games to get past Toronto, and while they were slight series’ favorites going into that matchup, they won Game 7 as three-point underdogs on the road.

Brooklyn will undoubtedly be heavy underdogs against the defending champs and for good reason. Miami rolled over Charlotte in four-straight games in the opening round with a 3-1 record ATS behind double-digit victories in three of the four games. Miami went against the grain in these playoffs in a big way, and I am not about to start betting against this team right now. Brooklyn should be able to give The Big Three a battle with some wiley old veterans of its own, so I am going with a “wait and see” status for this series.

Shifting gears to the Western Conference, the first matchup on the board pits the embattled Los Angeles Clippers against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who had their own share of problems in their opening round. Both teams needed seven games to advance to this round, but the Clippers had the rougher road amidst all the negative distractions caused by team owner Donald Sterling off of the court. The Thunders’ problems were self-inflicted on the court when they went down 3-2 in the series against Memphis.

The Clippers came together as a team as a result of their adversity with a couple of big wins on their home court, but their record ATS in the series against Golden State was 2-5. They will now switch to the role of underdog against Oklahoma City, especially for the first two games on the road. The Thunder rallied with two stirring performances to end the series against the pesky Grizzlies, but I still think they are a prime team to go against in the first two games of this matchup as home favorites.

The final series in the NBA Conference Semifinals is the Portland Trail Blazers as the fifth seed in the West going against top-seeded San Antonio. Portland served notice that it is serious about making a deep run in the postseason by eliminating favored Houston in six games. The Spurs got off to a slow start against Dallas by falling behind 2-1 in the series before rallying with three SU victories in the last four games. The Trail Blazers went 4-2 ATS against the Rockets, while the Spurs failed to cover in the first six games against the Mavericks. I would continue to ride this trend through the first few games of this series until we see how things are going to shake out.

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