NBA Finals Betting
The NBA Finals is the pinnacle of the NBA Playoffs, when the top squad from the Eastern Conference meets the Western Conference's top team. Not surprisingly, this is also the pinnacle of pro basketball betting, with punters wagering heavily on this best-of-seven series.
The great thing about NBA Finals betting is that there's no shortage of excitement. These games are as high profile as they come, which makes your wagering experience that much more intense. On the downside, it's far tougher to find a soft line during the Finals because sportsbooks put so much effort into creating balanced lines.
So does this mean that you should pack it in when the Finals roll around and save your bets for the next NBA regular season? Absolutely not! It's still possible to win money with NBA Finals betting if you have a solid understanding of this series. That said, let's look at a few important points about wagering on the Finals.
Big Adjustments lead to Surprising Scores
If you've ever watched an entire NBA Finals series, then you've probably witnessed some big swings from one game to the next. This merely represents the typical nature of a best-of-seven series, where coaching adjustments can have a huge impact on how the next game turns out.
One of the best instances of this could be seen in the 2013 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs. You merely need to look at the game scores to understand our point:
Game 1 – San Antonio 92, Miami 88
Game 2 – San Antonio 84, Miami 103
Game 3 – Miami 77, San Antonio 113
Game 4 – Miami 109, San Antonio 93
Game 5 – Miami 104, San Antonio 114
Game 6 – San Antonio 100, Miami 103(OT)
Game 7 – San Antonio 88, Miami 95
You can especially tell a big difference in the first five scores, where three out of the five games were major blowouts. Both coaches did an excellent job of evaluating each contest and changing their offensive and defensive philosophies accordingly. The end result was that bettors had a very difficult time predicting which way the line would go from one game to the next.
It always helps when trying to make a winning wager if you think like a coach. Going further, consider what adjustments need to be made from the last game and how these changes could affect the outcome. Sure you won't always be right when predicting adjustments, however, this is one practice that can definitely help you make a decision with a tight line.
Consider what the Public thinks, then bet Accordingly
As we mentioned in the introduction, it's really tough finding much leeway with an NBA Finals betting line. Sportsbooks are very dialed in on the various factors that the public thinks about when wagering on these games. So one big key is to consider what factors the public will study in each contest, then adjust your betting strategy accordingly. Here are a few things that the public always seems to overvalue when wagering on the Finals:
- Teams needing to win an elimination game
- Trends from previous games in the Finals
- Star power on one team or the other (Spurs vs. Heat was fairly even in this regard)
- Coaching resumes
- Which team is more tired
- Regular season meetings
Obviously all of these factors are important and should be accounted for with your bet. But they're also things that the public may obsess about, to the point where they overlook other critical aspects of a Finals game. A few less-emphasized factors that you'll find value in include individual matchups between role players, defensive shooting percentages, rebounding margin, Finals experience (if any), road performances in previous playoff games, and each team's ability to adjust from game to game.
Take It Easy with Prop Bets
One more topic that we'd like to cover is NBA Finals prop bets, which are in abundance, to say the least. Because the Finals is one of the world's most-watched sporting events, online sportsbooks know they can get more action on prop bets. So you'll see lines on everything from who will make the most three-pointers to who will win the Game 1 opening tip-off.
Some prop bets are even more obscure than the tip-off one and can be really difficult to research. These are definitely wagers that you want to avoid wasting your time with, unless you're only risking a small amount of money for fun. Even for the bets that you can research, it's a good idea to limit yourself to 1-2 prop bets a game for bankroll management purposes. The same goes for NBA Finals live wagering, which gives bettors an opportunity to place a wide variety of wagers while the game is happening. A couple of these bets are alright, but you shouldn't get too carried away.
From an overall standpoint, it always helps your NBA Finals betting efforts if you watch playoff games leading up to this point. So when the Playoffs start, check out as many games as you can and start trying to figure out the top teams' strengths and weaknesses so that you're ready when the Finals begin in early June.