There is no feeling that compares to betting on the NBA playoffs. The Association’s springtime bracket is often considered predictable and short on surprises, but with all the star power in the league, not to mention the sheer appeal of trying to figure out if anyone can beat the Golden State Warriors or Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s a wild ride—one that all sportsbettors should at least be willing to test. One of the benefits of the NBA’s playoff betting, especially as the rounds progress, is the amount of time you have to prepare for different games.

If you’re following along with one series and investing all your time, energy and money in its outcome, you’ll typically have the lines for the next game as soon as the most recent tilt wraps up. That gives you ample time to do some extra research and get ahead of the curve.

Playoff betting also provides the unique opportunity to bet on series outcomes. Whereas the NFL and NCAA only give you one game to figure things out, the NBA plays host to a vast array of seven game series. You can place bets on which team you think will win before the series even tips off, or you can wait a game or two before making your final decision.

Waiting will harm your odds, as the most bettor friendly lines are availalbe prior to a matchup’s inception. But if you don’t mind the trade off in returns, or if you’re merely interested in the opportunity to change course on a bet that looks bad midway through the series, those mid matchup packages are a godsend.

These are the all the upcoming NBA playoff lines. You can see game start times, moneylines, spreads, overs and unders—everything you need to start and finish the betting process. [-]

Though the amount of time in between games during the postseason is a luxury, it also gives the initial lines ample opportunity to move before tip off. So always make sure you’re coming back here to double check the odds before placing your official wager. There is no need for you to be surprised at the sportsbooks.

For the record, the possibility of lines shifting shouldn’t rush you into a decision if you’re waiting on important information, most notably the status of injured players.

Injuries have a heavier impact on game lines during the playoffs, depending on severity. They can shift the odds on an entire series. There are fewer games to play, and thus less time for a team to adjust and successfully account for any key absences. 

Should everyone on the teams involved in the game or series you’re betting on be healthy and ready to rock, that’s great. Bet early. Capitalize on those initial lines. 

But if there is even the slightest hint of uncertainty emanating out of one side, regardless of whether it has to do with a player’s potential absence or return, wait out the flow of information. You can always place your bet right before tip off. And if you miss the deadline, oh well. It’s better to not make a bet at all than to place an uninformed wager.

NBA Playoff Standings Right Now

Say hello to your NBA playoff standings. These shouldn’t have a huge bearing on the way you bet on games or series, but it will help you direct your background research. [-]

Scenario: You see that the San Antonio Spurs are 3-0 in the playoffs. Clearly, it’s the first round, and they’re one win away from completing the sweep and advancing through to the second round. And you know that there has never been a team to successfully erase a 3-0 deficit. Ergo, you know to bank on the Spurs advancing.

Conversely, these standings also let you spot underdogs. If you see a team that’s trailing in their best of seven set, and you firmly believe they can or, preferably, will come back to win the whole darn thing, find a sportsbook that’s taking mid-series bets.

The returns on these types of wagers can be lucrative, but they are also tricky. Teams that fall behind 2-0, 3-1, 3-2 and even 2-1 don’t usually win the series. You need to place your bets knowing this. Don’t go cycling through your whole sportsbook purse on a whim. Invest in underdogs with restraint. This way, if you’re wrong, it’s no big deal. And if you’re right, it’s still a big enough deal.

How To Win At NBA Playoff Betting

When betting on NBA playoff action, do your absolute best to stay away from length dependent wagers. Do not invest a cent in, say, the Golden State Warriors beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games. That’s a long shot wager that won’t offer much more of a return than if you were just to pick the Warriors outright.

If you are looking for some long shot action, roll with mid-series bets in which you lay money down on the underdog. Scatter a few of these bets throughout the landscape, round by round, and see if any of them land.

Betting in this volume will demand you put down small amounts of cash, because again, you’re going against the grain. You could, perhaps inevitably will, miss more than you’ll hit. Do not throw out sums of cash that you’re uncomfortable losing—not even if you truly, totally, wholly believe that a certain team will successfully negate the series hole in which it has fallen.

Also try not to place stock in Conference Finals and NBA Finals plays when the playoffs are already underway. It’s definitely okay to invest in the actual series and its games once the postseason schedule gets there, but futures odds are seriously watered down once the playoffs start, largely because such bets aren’t really futures anymore. The outcomes are imminent, bilking the entire wager of its inherent curb appeal.

Remember to be on the lookout for mid-series underdogs as well. If the Warriors fall behind in a best-of-seven set 1-0, 2-1, 2-0 or something similar, don’t be afraid to bet on them to win the matchup outright, provided you still believe they have the talent to do so.

Betting on a team that’s down 3-1, or even 3-0, isn’t the most terrible idea, either. You just have to make sure you are wagering in super small increments, so that you won’t feel a loss. You will feel a win no matter what, because erasing such extreme deficits is either super rare (3-1 hole) or unprecedented (3-0 grave).

And finally, when betting on the playoffs, don’t fall victim to the sport-old adage that the pace and scoring totals plummet. That does happen, but it’s a series-specific effect. More physical and defense-oriented teams will embrace those slogs, and they will try driving down the speed of play and controlling possession time. However, teams like the Cavaliers and Warriors, among others, will continue to launch threes and try to get up and down the floor.

All of which means you shouldn’t be afraid to bet some overs. If a squad was an offensive juggernaut during the regular season, there’s a strong chance that won’t change in the playoffs. Be mindful of the participants you are betting on, but also don’t let the outdated postseason cliches dictate your aggregative view of every series and team.