The Playoffs is one of the most exciting times of the year. Unlike the regular season when clubs take nights off, every contest matters.
In order to win The Finals, teams must eliminate the opposition in the best of seven series. Today I’m going to focus my attention on the rare instances a series goes the distance.
As most of you are aware, Handicapping the NBA is no easy task. Any edge you can get is worth taking into account.
I researched the postseason going back to the 2002-03 season. Here’s a look at the results.
Performance of Home Teams in Game 7 of a NBA Playoffs Series
|1||17-6 (73.9%)||14-9 (60.9%)||12-11 (52.2%)|
|2||12-3 (80.0%)||10-5 (66.7%)||6-9 (40.0%)|
|3||3-1 (75.0%)||3-1 (75.0%)||1-3 (25.0%)|
|4||3-1 (75.0%)||2-2 (50.0%)||0-4 (0%)|
|Overall||35-11 (76.1%)||29-17 (63.0%)||19-27 (41.3%)|
The home team is 35-11 (76.1%) on the money line. It is not overly shocking to see such a favorable advantage.
The playoffs consist of the eight best in each conference. One thing that most of these have in common is they won the majority of their matchups at home.
At the same time, the more elite the team, the less likely they are to lose at home. You also have to factor in the atmosphere. While every playoff contest is electric, these winner take all are on a whole different level.
The other big key here is the side that hosts Game 7 had the better overall record in the regular season. The stronger side should win more times than they lose on their home floor.
Against the Spread
The host team owns an impressive 29-17 (63.0%) ATS record.
Most would expect the spread in these matchups to be just a few points, but that’s not the case. In the data I looked at, the home teams were favored on average by 5.8-points.
What really stands out is the bigger the spread the more likely the team is to cover. Teams who were favored by less than 6 points are just 10-11 ATS. On the flip side of this, teams favored by 6 or more have gone 18-6 (75.0%) ATS.
A lot of times we can get so caught up in who will cover. We forget to even take into consideration the total. That would be a huge mistake.
The UNDER is a rock solid 27-19 (58.7%) in these games. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. The public loves to play the over, so oddsmakers inflate that side of the total. At the same time, these two teams have just played 6 games against each other. Both have a great understanding of what the other wants to do offensively.
Looking at the total by round is critical. As you can see in the table above, the over is actually 12-11 (52.2%) in round 1. If you only focus on the final 3 rounds, the UNDER is 16-7 (69.6%). That includes a perfect 4-0 record in The Finals.
Key Situation to Look For When Betting a Game 7 in the NBA Postseason
The last thing I wanted to look at was the impact on winning/losing Game 6. Keep in mind that the team who lost the previous contest had a chance to close out the series.
What I found is that it’s actually a disadvantage to win the previous contest. Not a huge shock, given how strong the Zig Zag Theory is. Those who lost the prior meeting are 17-10 (63.0%) ATS in Game 7. It’s also worth noting that the UNDER is a profitable 16-11 (59.3%) in this situation.