Put These Playoff-Bound NBA Teams on Slump Alert

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 1:33 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2018 1:33 PM UTC

The NBA playoffs are right around the corner and several potential postseason teams are badly out of form, including the Timberwolves, Pelicans and Wizards. Check out this individual game betting angle fading each as well as a couple of golden rules to follow when placing NBA Finals future wagers.

With the 2017-18 NBA postseason set to begin April 14, there are several postseason-bound franchises (or likely ones) headed in the wrong direction in regards to form. As of April 3, four potential playoff-bound teams owned a negative average scoring margin through their last 15 contests, and two are barely hovering above zero. These include the Bucks (1.3), Warriors (0.3), Timberwolves (-1.0), Pelicans (-1.7) and Wizards (-2.5). The Clippers own a -0.1 differential and sit two games out of the last spot in the West. Altogether, this group is 44-46 SU and 33-57 ATS since game No. 62, the beginning of March for most. Put this bunch on slump alert and follow their progress closely when closing out the year.

Why is slump alert important? Well, in at least the last five years, none of the 17 playoff teams with a negative point differential through their final 20 regular-season contests have won the title. Unless they were one of the two top seeds in their respective conferences, only a pair has advanced past the first round. Futures bettors beware. Here is the list, including the round and SU record in which they were eliminated:

Season Team L20 Point Diff. Seed Rd. Eliminated (SU Record)
2016-17 Bucks -1.65 6 Quarterfinals (2-4)
2016-17 Cavaliers -0.2 2 NBA Finals (1-4)
2016-17 Grizzlies -2.3 7 Quarterfinals (2-4)
2016-17 Hawks -1.1 5 Quarterfinals (2-4)
2015-16 Trail Blazers -0.3 5 Semifinals (1-4)
2015-16 Mavericks -1.4 6 Quarterfinals (1-4)
2015-16 Grizzlies -8 7 Quarterfinals (0-4)
2015-16 Celtics -0.7 5 Quarterfinals 2-4)
2014-15 Nets -0.4 8 Quarterfinals (2-4)
2014-15 Mavericks -2.7 7 Quarterfinals (1-4)
2014-15 Bucks -2 6 Quarterfinals (2-4)
2013-14 Pacers -2.8 1 Conference Finals (2-4)
2012-13 Spurs -2.3 2 NBA Finals (3-4)
2012-13 Hawks -0.1 6 Quarterfinals (2-4)
2012-13 Celtics -1.7 7 Quarterfinals (1-4)
2012-13 Bulls -2.1 5 Semifinals (1-4)
2012-13 Bucks -3.5 8 Semifinals (0-4)

There is a more profitable and common individual game angle worth wagering here in the playoffs. Fade these slumping teams when catching 6 points or more on the NBA oddsboard in any game and in any round. Since 2012, this group is 7-50 SU and an eye-catching 16-40-1 ATS (29 percent) in this situation. They are failing to cover a 9.2 average line by 3.5 points per game. Offense is anemic in this spot, averaging 92.0 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting. Poor form makes it tough to keep games competitive when expected to lose handily.

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The BEST of Ben Simmons during the @sixers current 11-game winning streak! #HereTheyCome pic.twitter.com/O8uMm3jI2e

— NBA (@NBA) April 4, 2018
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Futures Rules to Follow

In addition to avoiding any slump-alert teams to win the title, you had better have a one or a two-seed in your futures wager at SBR's top-rated sportsbooks. Only once in NBA history has a Finals matchup not fielded at least one of the two top spots from either the Eastern or Western Conference (1978). Simple stuff, but it may avoid a bettor from torching his cash when their eyes light up after seeing +10000 odds on a matchup proposition bet dangling a six and seven seed settling the championship. For what it's worth, in the last 37 years over half (21) of the Finals have pit a one or two seed from each conference against one another, including the last six.

Secondly, it's also wise to avoid any five seeds or higher making a run to the championship. In the last 37 years, only three teams ranked this low have reached the final series. In 1999, the Knicks made history as the only eight seed to advance, but lost to the Spurs in five games. The playoff run was fluky, as it came after a lockout-shortened 50-game season. In 1995, the Rockets won it all, becoming just the eighth team in history to win the title in back-to-back years. “Clutch City” was not so clutch at the beginning of the season, making for the lower seed. A trade for Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler at the deadline righted the ship, as he and Finals MVP Hakeem Olajuwon reunited for the first time since their collegiate career at the University of Houston. The Rockets swept the Magic in four. Houston also made an improbable run in 1981 under the guidance of the legendary Moses Malone. They lost to the Celtics 4-2 after reaching the Finals as a six-seed.

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