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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, May 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Last week I suggested I’d come back early in the new week to discuss the dynamics of handicapping the second round of the NBA Playoffs. What happened this weekend made it clear that I need to do just that. We have situations in all the matchups that bear very close watching when action resumes.

 

FIRST: FATIGUE

All four second round meetings will have at least some element of fatigue in play. Consider:

*Miami is MUCH better rested than Brooklyn

*Portland is MUCH better rested than San Antonio

*Washington is better rested than Indiana

*Oklahoma City is slightly better rested than the LA Clippers

The mainstream media has picked up on this. But, they’re missing the boat to some degree. Too many are assuming that fatigue is going to be extremely important right away, but then it will disappear once each series gets into a rhythm. History makes it very clear that fatigue is much more subtle and dynamic. You just saw this past weekend that teams like Atlanta, Memphis and Dallas simply ran out of gas at the end of their series. It’s possible that Brooklyn or San Antonio won’t feel the true effects of fatigue until later on…when it all kind of hits them at once.

Do you best as students of my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping to monitor energy levels of all eight teams moving forward. Study hustle stats. Study body language. I can assure you that fatigue is definitely going to matter in at least two of these matchups. I won’t tell you here when or how that’s going to manifest itself. I owe it to my paying customers to keep that out of the public domain.

 

SECOND: CHESS

If you thought X’s and O’s were important in the first round, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Some of the worst chess players are no longer on the sidelines in the 2014 playoffs (I’m looking at you Kevin McHale!). Many of the best are still there. But, we don’t have eight coaching geniuses. This is going to become a very important story later in each matchup when pace slows down and every possession matters.

I’m not going to get very specific here in the coursework because my personal selections will be very strongly influenced by this angle. But, I want each of you to spend some time today thinking about the head coaching matchups. Think of each team has having a “six-man” starting lineup with the head coach as the sixth man. I think THAT is a very helpful exercise…and that’s all I’m going to say about this issue for now!

 

THIRD: PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS

I always emphasize the importance of this factor to you. It’s often step one in the serious process for handicapping any sport. One could argue that the latter rounds of the NBA Playoffs is where it’s more important than at any other time. This is a league that revolves around superstars. And, the league revolves around superstars because that’s who determines where banners are hung in the rafters.

All that I ask today is that you go beyond the obvious. Don’t just bet the teams whose stars appear in the most TV commercials. Ask yourself the following:

*Which players can take over a game in the final minutes with their point production?

*Which point guards can truly take command of the offense when every possession matters?

*Which teams have a three-point threat that’s a proven commodity in crunch time?

*Which teams have a stopper who’s a “defensive” playmaker on the other end of the floor?

When it comes time to win an important NBA series, you’ll be surprised how few players actually touch the ball with the intent of scoring. Isolate those players. Learn what they can and can’t do. Make smart bets based on your evaluations.

I talked last week about how badly oddsmakers were struggling in the first round. I do expect them to improve…but not so much that our edges are taken away. If you follow the guidelines I’ve set out above, I’m very confident that YOU will do well with your second round bets over these next two weeks. If you’d like additional assistance, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. If you have any questions about packages that take you through the rest of the NBA Playoffs, talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.

I’ll continue to read and react on these pages through the month of May. That could mean we switch to a developing baseball story in our next class time later this week. Or, maybe something amazing will happen between now and then on the hardwood that deserves additional attention. THE DEAN OF SPORTS HANDICAPPING greatly appreciates your attention and all the hard work you’re putting forth in the coursework. Do your best to avoid fatigue…make some smart chess moves…and YOU will become a PLAYMAKER who turns his plays into BIG MONEY in the NBA Playoffs!

See you again before the weekend.

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