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Handicapping the 2020 NBA Playoffs

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Aug/06/2020

The 2020 NBA Playoffs are right around the corner, and as we get ready to bet on the most important part of the season, it's critical that bettors have a full picture of what they can expect. It's been so far, so good for the NBA's restart, and as demonstrated, players found no trouble acclimating to the new environment.

In the early going, bettors were trying to handicap the unprecedented atmosphere that players were experiencing. But perhaps those same bettors forgot that professional basketball players make their money by adapting to the sport, no matter the circumstances.

Rather than trying to handicap the historical volatility that we expect to see, it's much more important to key in on the teams as if it was any other season, awkward and different digs or not. 

Here are the takes you need to know when headed for NBA playoff betting. 

Play-in Games 

Under the new NBA play-in rules, eighth seeds with fewer than a four-game lead on the ninth seed will have to play a play-in against the ninth seed in a best-of-three showdown.

The eighth seed is automatically given a 1-0 lead over the eighth seed, so, if the eighth seed wins the first play-in game, that's it. They clinch the eighth seed and play the top-seeded squad in the conference, which would be the Bucks in the East and the Lakers in the West.

However, if the ninth seed wins back-to-back play-in games, the ninth seed clinches the eighth playoff spot.

Confused yet? Are you ready to win more by paying for picks

It's not as complicated as it sounds, and in the East, with the Magic having a seven-game lead over the lowly Wizards, unless they seriously choke things away, the Magic will likely clinch their eighth-seed finish.

Where things could get interesting is with the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers. 

With Memphis holding only a slim lead over the Blazers, we very well could see a play-in showdown between the Grizzlies and Blazers. In that instance, we actually like the Blazers to pull things off and get the job done. 

While we don't like any eighth seed to triumph over the Bucks or Lakers, keep an eye on those seedings as things play out as they very well could be a deciding factor for those individual squads. Without a doubt, the Blazers will be favored in their series. 

Top-Heavy Season 

This season, as with the NBA since the 2012 "Heatles" came together, be prepared for very top-heavy outcomes. 

The Lakers in the West and the Bucks in the East, while both heavily favored and rightfully so, are likely to run through their opponents.

It's seen as a "sharp" play to fade these top seeds in their opening rounds against desperate 8th seeds, but without a doubt, we like them to run through easily when making our free NBA picks.

So, fair warning to anyone that likes to go "dog hunting," do not try and be a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian.

You will lose money fading these teams.

Instead, play the closer 4-5 seed matchups, as if you have a good angle on those contests, you could win with a tighter line.

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