Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, May 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM
As I’ve been watching, handicapping, and betting the NBA playoffs the past two weeks, one thing has really jumped out at me that we need to incorporate into our Advanced Sports Betting process.
In addition to studying GAMEBREAKERS and THE MOTIVATION FACTOR, we need to place a special emphasis right now on teams who have what I’ve decided to call “The Warrior Mentality.” The Golden State Warriors just finished off a first round upset of the Denver Nuggets with peak effort and intensity, spurred on by a head coach who kept them on point during timeouts. So, that’s a fitting title.
I’m not suggesting that only Golden State has a warrior mentality. You saw it with the Chicago Bulls Thursday Night, even though they ultimately lost and failed to cover against Brooklyn. Racked by injuries and illness, that Bulls team had no right to keep it as close as they did.
TEAMS WITH “WARRIOR MENTALITY” THUS FAR
Miami is a heavy favorite to win the league championship in my view because they combine great talent, smart players, and a warrior mentality along with home court advantage through the postseason and what will likely be periods of extended rest.
Memphis impressed me with their attitude and toughness after falling behind the LA Clippers 2-0 in their first round series. Maybe the Grizzlies have already peaked. But, you know that’s a physical team that has a warrior mentality.
This doesn’t mean those teams are locks to win and cover when they take the floor. Though, Golden State covered all six games against Denver! Miami will be dealing with some high spreads. Everybody’s an injury away from losing some of their mojo. I do believe handicappers should give the benefit of the doubt to the teams listed above when they’re close to or at full strength.
WHERE IT’S BEEN DISAPPOINTINGLY MISSING
Indiana (in their first two road games)
I’m stunned by how Oklahoma City lost its toughness and composure when Russell Westbrook went out. This is not a team that was seen as a bunch of wimps up and down the roster. But, the team stopped playing with swagger, confidence, and fire defensively when they didn’t have Westbrook leading the charge. They can still regroup. But, they sure don’t have the body language of somebody that’s about to win a war.
New York and Brooklyn were both heavy favorites to advance past the first round after winning their series openers in comfortable fashion against Boston and Chicago respectively. I think it’s a big strike against the mental and physical toughness of both Big Apple teams that those series went deep.
Some of you may be wondering why I’ve left San Antonio off the list. Many now see them as the favorites in the West at the moment. Are they warriors or disappointments? To me, it’s neither. San Antonio is a great team of tacticians. They don’t treat basketball as war. This was a problem the last two years in the playoffs, and could be one again soon. They may go on the disappointment list in a couple of weeks. Or, maybe they’ll dig deep and find a fire that takes them to a title.
Handicapping the playoffs is complicated. What we’ve discussed today should be used in combination with other proven strategies to find the best options. I will tell you this. I wouldn’t be laying points right now with any team that isn’t displaying a warrior mentality…unless I was absolutely convinced that their opponent was too beat up or worn down to compete. And, I’m confident that I will find several great underdog spots in coming weeks by focusing on effort and energy.
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Hey, if you’re a horse racing fan, don’t forget that the Kentucky Derby runs Saturday. Look for ads on this website for special offers. I look forward to our next handicapping class early next week when we’ll resume our NBA playoff discussion, or pick up on a developing story in Major League Baseball. Thanks again for all your hard work!