Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, April 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Last week I outlined some initial homework for preparing for the 2014 NBA Playoffs. I’m back as promised this week to go into further depth for the postseason that starts this Saturday and runs all the way through mid-June. We’ll be talking a lot about the playoffs on a “read-and-react” basis beginning next week. For now, there’s a lot you should be doing to prepare for the challenge.
If you missed last week’s article, the three keys outlined at that time were:
*Reviewing recent records so you’re in touch with recent form
*Evaluating teams on the defensive end of the floor
*Evaluating health and depth
Today let’s discuss a few more keys:
*PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS: 3-POINT SHOOTERS
This is always front and center when KELSO STURGEON is talking about sports handicapping. PLAYMAKERS are your MONEYMAKERS! If you follow pro basketball, you barely have to think about who the key scorers are on the top contenders. Be sure you’ve done enough work to know how relative “off-the-radar” teams like Toronto, Washington, and Charlotte score their points. Have a list ready for all 16 postseason entries, not just the teams you watch on television.
The key to add in this sport right now is three-point specialists. The complex nature of the NBA is such that it’s often a three-point shooter who turns out to be the “tie-breaker” when other factors cancel out. He’s not an individual superstar…but he is the guy who breaks the game open by hitting a few treys (hence, “game-breaker”). Make time this week to study individual player stats for each team, and FIND the guys who can make a three when needed. Teams who DON’T have this are going to be in big trouble in the NBA Playoffs. Three-point shooting is bigger than ever because most teams are emphasizing it within the normal flow of their offense.
*IGNORE THE ZIG-ZAG EXCEPT IN VERY EVEN SERIES
For many years, decades even, old-school handicappers made a lot of money with a very simple strategy. Take whoever lost the last game straight up, and bet them against the number in this game. Sweeps were rare…and even when they did happen, the superior team often wasn’t covering high spreads. The straight up results didn’t “zig-zag,” but the previous straight up loser was covering the next spread even if they kept losing.
In recent years, coaches on the best teams have really started emphasizing playing great early, then getting things over with as quickly as possible. The zig-zag betting approach really only works in very evenly matched series where teams are trading games back and forth after making adjustments on the fly. Don’t YOU plan on trying to take the easy way out and just betting the zig-zag without doing any handicapping. It doesn’t work any more except in special matchups. PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS want to get their rest whenever possible because they know very physically tough wars are waiting for them in the later rounds.
*HEAD COACHES ARE OFTEN THE KEY
It may sound weird to call a head coach a PLAYMAKER. But, you sure could make the case that Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs is just as much the reason for that team’s continuing success as Tim Duncan or Tony Parker. On the other end of the spectrum, inferior head coaches are exposed very quickly in the playoffs. It’s possible to reach the postseason by getting out of the way and letting your stars carry the team on their shoulders. When basketball becomes chess, you have to have a chess player calling the shots.
Spend some time this week reviewing the playoff histories for all 16 head coaches. It will be easy in some cases. Jason Kidd of Brooklyn has never coached a playoff game! For those with small sample sizes, study them in their early games. For everyone else, historical records will likely paint a fairly accurate picture for how 2014 is going to play itself out. I’m not going to talk too much about this right now. My personal analysis of coaching is going to play a big role in determining major releases in the first few days of action.
You regular students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping know I won’t get specific about teams, players, or coaches. I need to protect that information for my paying clients. The Dean of Sports Handicapping is here to teach YOU how to pick winners. If you’d like some additional help, you can always purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions can be answered by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
Remember that the daily schedules are very busy right now with both basketball and baseball on the slate. Longtime bettors know you can make a lot more money betting in the spring and summer than in the Fall with football because your bankroll grows exponentially much quicker.
I’ve currently scheduled a baseball report for later this week. We’ll read and react to both basketball and baseball through the coming weeks and months. The schedule is subject to change when reality dictates. Keep visiting this website often for helpful information. It’s time for you to shine!