Submitted by Wayne Root on Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:00 PM
I’m very happy with my 67% start to the 2017 NBA Playoffs. I realize there’s a long way to go…and several potential potholes that sharp handicappers must avoid stepping into. But, for now, we’ve picked up right where we left off from the NCAA Tournament. Nobody handicaps postseason sports like THE KING OF LAS VEGAS, WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
I was expecting more parity in the East than the West, which is what we saw right out of the gate. I had underdog winners on #8 seed Chicago (+) over #1 Boston (outright) and #7 seed Indiana (+) over #2 Cleveland (lost by one while covering easily, missing a game-winner at the buzzer). It’s clear that Boston is one of the worst #1 seeds ever in league history. Some of the analytics types are calling them the WORST because of poor margin differential. They still have time to rally and advance. But, this just isn’t an elite team in terms of raw talent. Cleveland’s defense is so spotty that they would have NO CHANCE if they had to play Golden State right now. Luckily they have a few weeks to remember how to guard people.
I also won with Portland (+) over Golden State. That was more of a line value call. There’s no reason for Golden State to go all out and win by 20 every time out now. The league favorites (-220 over the field at many spots in Las Vegas) want to pace themselves and stay healthy.
Washington (-) was a winner for my clients and I over Atlanta. Atlanta’s a team with very little offense, which is why the Hawks are a dog that doesn’t appeal to me except in ideal circumstances.
I was disappointed in the efforts of Memphis (+) against San Antonio and the LA Clippers (-) vs. Utah. Memphis just ran into a buzzsaw Saturday night. But, the Clippers caught a huge injury break when Rudy Gobert of Utah hurt his knee on the first play of the game. They still let the Jazz control the flow of the evening all night. Still, 4-2 ATS is going to make a lot of money in the gambling capital of the world!
Some thoughts as we transition to Games 2 and 3 this week in all the series…
*I talked last week about how you want offenses who can score for you when asking an underdog to score an outright upset. Normally that means looking at the underdog’s offense. This year, it may be more about looking at the vulnerabilities if the favorite’s defense. A lot of underdogs will be able to score on Cleveland! Boston’s defense isn’t anything special because they’re rebounding is so poor.
Indiana doesn’t have a stellar offense…but it can look stellar vs. the Cavs. Chicago lacks shooters, but can score a lot of second chance points because of their elite rebounding. Moving forward, I will likely be fading disappointing defenses when they’re overpriced. Almost all offenses can score on disappointing defenses.
*Second, I didn’t have a selection in Milwaukee/Toronto, but I have to admit that the Bucks impressed the heck out of me. They looked like a playoff team on both sides of the floor. Some of that is because head coach Jason Kidd has so much playoff experience. The rest is because the Greek Freak is fantastic! I’m now confident whoever wins this Bucks/Raptors series is going to give Cleveland quite a battle in the second round. (If the Cavs get past the Pacers!)
*Finally, the projected Spurs/Rockets series in the second round is going to be fantastic. Obviously both aren’t going to keep looking as omnipotent as they did in their openers. This is the NBA, and nobody wins every game by 30. But, you saw that both teams will challenge opposing defenses with ball movement and shot makers. It’s a shame they have to wear themselves out head-to-head, because the survivor may have nothing left for the Warriors. That may be a series where the zig-zag makes some sense because both are capable of bouncing back of off losses.
I’m not going to be too specific about series-by-series strategies here in my web articles. I don’t want the line to adjust against my plans. Though, based on the market misses in the first set of games, the oddsmakers have a long way to go before they peg these matchups correctly. Only Portland/Golden State and Atlanta/Washington were within a bucket of the line. Milwaukee, Chicago, and Utah covered by 21, 11, and 7 in their upsets. San Antonio and Houston covered by 20 and 24 in their blowouts.
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You regulars know that I’m the only man in the sports betting industry with a star on the “Walk of Fame” here in Las Vegas. I’m always a few steps ahead of the oddsmakers. If an oddsmaker ever gets a star, his will naturally be a few steps behind mine! You were reminded this weekend of how far off the Vegas lines can be in playoff basketball. Full season Power Ratings aren’t enough to really peg what’s going to happen in the postseason spotlight. You have to know the players and the coaches, their strengths and their weaknesses, and the time-proven strategies that cash tickets.
Or, YOU have to know ME! It’s time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!