Are you a devoted NBA bettor who prefers to “keep it simple” by consistently placing your money on the favorite? Are your plans to end the evening with just supporting the squad that you believe to be the “better” ballclub? If so, you should be aware that handicapping and profiting from favorites during the NBA playoffs is more difficult than it may seem. However, by following a few basic guidelines, you may improve your odds of making money early and frequently.

When the 2018 NBA playoffs begin in less than two weeks, you’ll be able to increase your odds of profiting from favorites because of the NBA playoff betting tips you’re about to receive from yours truly and the bettor-friendly management. Alright, enough about that, let’s get going.

Here’s A Closer Look At The Basketball Betting Strategy Playing Favorites

It’s All About Expectations

It is important to understand that NBA favorites vary in their ability to cover the spread, primarily due to the high expectations placed on them.

Consider the Toronto Raptors (43-35-1 ATS) and Cleveland Cavaliers (35-40-3 ATS). As you can see, LeBron and the Cavs have a losing ATS record this year, while the Raptors are sitting fifth in the ATS standings after having a winning record.

As the defending champions and favorites, the Cavaliers have considerably higher expectations, thus the first thing you need to realize is that even though the Raptors aren’t a stronger team than them, they have faced far better odds in their games. Choose favorites with reasonable expectations and betting lines to increase your chances of winning more often.

Are They Covering Consistently?

To put it simply, you want to find favorites who have a respectable track record of covering the spread throughout the regular season. Although Cleveland and Golden State (38-38-3 ATS) seem destined for their third consecutive NBA Finals meeting, you should be wary of placing postseason bets on either club because neither has produced particularly strong results this year.

On the other hand, playoff clubs like Oklahoma City (43-34-1 ATS), Toronto, and Houston (42-36 ATS) that have performed well in the regular season appear to be able to carry over their strong performance into the postseason.

In the end, several favorites are excellent choices for straight-up victories but may not cover the spread due to a variety of factors, such as a lack of concentration towards the end of the game or insufficient offensive or defensive production. Find out if the favorite you want to bet on has a history of covering the spread or if they have had difficulty doing so.

Home Away From Home!

While some of their favorites handle the spread like it’s no big deal at home, others find it difficult to do so when traveling. However, depending on where they play, certain strong teams are able to consistently cover the spread. Compile your ATS “homework” and determine which favorites perform well on the road and which ones cover the spread everywhere.

Good or Bad Matchup?

Ever saw a favorite team that is just in a “bad matchup”?

This indicates that the lineup and playing style of the preferred teams ideally complement those of the underdogs, making the battle far more balanced than it initially seemed.

I’ll use the Villanova Wildcats of college basketball and their victory over North Carolina in the 2016 national championship game as an example. Although the Wildcats were the underdogs in that game, their superior backcourt totally neutralized Carolina’s, and their unparalleled long-range shooting regularly forced Carolina’s highly anticipated big men away from the basket.

In retrospect, it’s clear that North Carolina was never going to cover the spread in this game, even though they were a 2-point favorite. It was just a poor matchup for them. Make sure you evaluate each encounter to determine whether the favorite team has a strong advantage and modify your bets accordingly.

By the Numbers

Finally, but just as importantly, familiarize yourself with your ATS statistics prior to placing any postseason bets. It’s important for you to be aware, for example, that although favorites have won 66.6 percent of their games this season, they have only covered the spread 49.0 percent of the time. While away favorites have only covered the betting line 47.2% of the time, home favorites have covered the spread in 51.0 percent of their games.