We recently took a look at the performance of teams up 2-0 in the playoffs. Now we take the next step and check out how a team does with a 3-0 lead in the postseason.

Our focus is simply on their performance against the spread and total in Game 4. However, it’s worth mentioning that no team has come back to win after losing the first three. Teams up 3-0 are a perfect 119-0 when it comes to who advances. Only three times has a team been able to even force a Game 7. The last time it happened was in 2003.

All of the information in this article can be used to improve your handicapping. If you are looking for more playoff help, check out Zig Zag Theory.

The data in this article dates back to the 2002-03 season.

Performance of Teams Leading 2-0 Overall & By Round in NBA Playoffs


This is quite a bit different to the results we found for those with a 2-0 series lead.  Those clubs only managed to cover the spread at a 44.3% clip in Game 3. With a 3-0 series lead, they are an impressive 34-23-3 (59.6%) ATS.

I personally wasn’t all that surprised to see this result. When you are down 0-2, you still have a realistic chance of making it a series if you can win Game 3.

They are going to put everything they have into that game. If they do that and come out on the losing end, it’s not going to be easy to bounce back with that same kind of effort in Game 4.

You also have to take into consideration that when a team takes a 3-0 lead, they are clearly the better side. They also get a boost of energy knowing they can close things out and rest up before the next round starts.

41-19 (68.3%)34-23-3 (59.6%)30-28-2 (51.7%)

By Round

The overall results were strong enough to blindly bet when up 3-0 in a series. However, I wanted to take a look at a few more factors to see if I could spot anything to make it even stronger.

The first thing I checked was the performance based on the round. As you can see, the key times to take advantage of this is in the first two rounds.

This makes sense if you think about it. There’s a bigger gap in talent in the first two rounds than the Conference Finals or NBA Finals.

125-12 (67.6%)23-14 (62.2%)16-20 (44.4%)
211-3 (78.6%)7-4-3 (63.6%)7-6-1 (53.8%)
34-3 (57.1%)4-3 (57.1%)6-1 (85.7%)
41-1 (50%)0-2 (0%)1-1 (50%)

NBA Postseason Betting: Look at How to Hanidcap Teams Up 3-0

By Seed

Next thing I wanted to look at was the performance by seed in each round. The top two seeds are a respectable 20-6 (76.9%) ATS in round one.

The focus needs to be on #2 seeds. In the 15 times it’s happened, #2 seeds are 15-4-1 (78.9%) ATS when taking a 3-0 series lead.

Opening Round

111-2 (84.6%)8-5 (61.5%)6-6-1 (50%)
29-4 (69.2)9-4 (69.2%)7-6 (53.8%)
32-3 (40.0%)2-3 (40.0%)1-4 (20.0%)
41-3 (25.0%)2-2 (50.0%)1-3 (25.0%)
52-0 (100%)2-0 (100%)1-1 (50.0%)

Conference Quarterfinals

16-2 (75%)2-4-2 (33.3%)3-4-1 (42.9%)
23-1 (75%)3-0-1 (100%)2-2 (50%)
32-0 (100%)2-0 (100%)2-0 (100%)

Conference Championship

11-1 (50%)1-1 (50%)2-0 (100%)
23-1 (75.0%)3-1 (75.0%)3-1 (75.0%)
40-1 (0%)0-1 (0%)1-0 (100%)

NBA Finals

10-1 (0%)0-1 (0%)1-0 (100%)
31-0 (100%)0-1 (0%)0-1 (0%)

Home/Away Splits

The last thing I checked was whether it mattered if the team up 3-0 was playing Game 4 at home or on the road.

Not really anything here. There’s been just six instances where a team has played at home after winning the first 3 games of the series.

Opening Round

Home1-0 (100%)1-0 (100%)1-0 (100%)
Away24-12 (66.7%)22-14 (61.1%)15-20-1 (42.9%)

Conference Quarterfinals

Home1-0 (100%)1-0 (100%)1-0 (100%)
Away10-3 (76.9%)6-4-3 (60%)6-6-1 (50.0%)

Conference Finals

Home2-2 (50.0%)2-2 (50.0%)4-0 (100%)
Away2-1 (66.7%)2-1 (66.7%)2-1 (66.7%)

NBA Finals

Home0-0 (0%)0-0 (0%)0-0 (0%)
Away1-1 (50%)0-2 (0%)1-1 (50%)

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