NBA Handicapping: 4 Teams to Bet on in the Playoffs

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NBA Handicapping: 4 Teams to Bet on in the Playoffs
Sue Ogrocki

Game 1 of this year’s opening round of playoffs in the NBA is in the books, and the underdogs were out in full force with a straight up record of 5-3 and a profitable 6-2 mark against the spread in the first eight games.

It remains to be seen whether or not this trend will continue when the action resumes tonight, but using Covers’ NBA results ATS this season, the following is a look at four teams to keep in mind when betting on the games in the eight best-of-seven conference quarterfinals matchups.

The team at the top of my list is the Charlotte Bobcats, even though they failed to cover as 10-point road underdogs in Sunday’s 99-88 loss to Miami in Game 1 of that series. They had the best overall record ATS on any of the 16 NBA teams in the postseason at 47-32-3, and they closed out the regular season on a 6-3 run ATS in their final nine games. Miami was ranked 24th in the league ATS at 37-43-2.

Charlotte has been a solid road team to wager on during the regular season with a 23-16-2 ATS record in 41 games. The good news with this team is that it has been slightly more profitable at home with a 24-16-1 mark ATS. The Bobcats have been opened as 10.5-point road underdogs for Wednesday night’s contest against the Heat, according to Doc’s Sports NBA odds.

The next team on the list also suffered a SU and ATS loss in its series opener, but I remain high on Toronto as a solid team to bet on, based on its season-long trends. The Raptors are the No. 3 seed in the East, but they drew a tough matchup against No. 6 Brooklyn in the opening round.

Going into Saturday’s Game 1 as three-point home favorites, they came up short against the Nets in a 94-87 loss. They are now just 3-5-1 ATS in their last nine games, but they remain the second-best overall NBA playoff team ATS at 46-33-3. In contrast, Brooklyn went 42-40 ATS, while going 44-38 SU.

Toronto posted a 21-18-2 record ATS at home this season, but the team’s real betting strength was on the road with a 25-15-1 mark ATS. The Raptors have been opened as 4.5-point home favorites for Tuesday night’s Game 2, but you might want to hold off until the next two games of this series, which will be played in Brooklyn later this week.

San Antonio earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference after going on a perfect 19-0 SU run from the end of February to early April. During this winning streak they were a highly profitable 15-4 ATS. While they cooled a bit to close out the regular season with a 3-3 ATS record in their final six games, the Spurs’ overall record ATS in the regular season stands at 45-37, including a 25-16 ATS record on the road.

They opened the playoffs with a tight 90-85 victory over the Southwest Division rival Mavericks but failed to cover as 9.5-point home favorites. Game 2 of this series is slated for Wednesday night before it shifts to Dallas for the next two games. Given San Antonio’s ability to win and cover on the road, this could be another team to play later in this series.

My final NBA playoff team with some profitable results ATS is the Oklahoma City Thunder. They finished the regular season with an ATS record of 43-37-2 overall and a 23-16-2 ATS record at home. The Thunder were just one of two favorites to win their first playoff game this past weekend both SU and ATS with a 100-86 victory over Memphis on Saturday as eight-point favorites at home.

They have been opened as seven-point home favorites for Monday night’s Game 2 against the Grizzlies. Looking back at Oklahoma City’s last seven home games, it has gone 5-1-1 ATS while winning all the games SU.

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