Away teams are covering the spread at an astonishing rate in the 2017 NBA playoffs. Check out the trend, series odds, and final results in this first-round betting recap.
Home-court advantage is as strong in the NBA as in any professional sports league, swinging the betting line by 3 to 4 points per game. It is not making much of a difference in the 2017 playoffs, however. With the Jazz-Clippers Game 7 yet to tip off, road teams are 19-24 SU and a surprising 28-15 ATS in the first round. Visitors are covering an average 3.7 line by 1.03 points per game. It’s the most road team spread victories in the opening round in at least the last 15 years, hitting 60 percent (29-19-2 ATS) or better one other time in 2013.
Here’s a quick recap of Round 1 series odds and results in each conference:
#1 Boston Celtics vs. #8 Chicago Bulls
Result: Celtics 4-2
Series Odds: -470
Boston dropped the first two tilts before going on a four-game run to close out the Bulls. The series odds dipped to +160 following the Celtics’ Game 2 defeat. It’s the sixth first-round series win in a row for Boston as the higher seed over their opponent.
#2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. #7 Indiana Pacers
Result: Cavaliers 4-0
Series Odds: -1100
The Cavs appeared somewhat vulnerable headed into their matchup with Indiana, playing .500 basketball since the All-Star break. The series odds were representative of that. Cleveland tipped off -5000 favorites in each of their last two first-round appearances, but went off a bargain -1100 odds this year. “Playoff” LeBron emerged and led the Cavs to their third straight series sweep in Round 1.
#3 Toronto Raptors vs. #6 Milwaukee Bucks
Result: Raptors 4-2
Series Odds: -440
BetOnline reported nearly 66 percent of series bets were on the Bucks (+345) prior to Game 1. It looked like a sharp wager with Milwaukee taking a 2-1 series lead. Like in the Bulls-Celtics matchup, the Raptors crossed over to underdog status (+125) following Game 3. Toronto’s defense came to life late in the matchup, sparking a three-game run to close it out. The Bucks were held to 86.0 points per game on 42.7 percent shooting in the final three games.
#4 Washington Wizards vs. #5 Atlanta Hawks
Result: Wizards 4-2
Series odds: -220
The Wiz are now 12-3 SU and 11-4 ATS since 2013 in the first round. They haven’t made it past the conference semifinals since losing the championship series back in the 1978-79 campaign.Western Conference
#1 Golden State Warriors vs. #8 Portland Trail Blazers
Result: Warriors 4-0
Series Odds: -7000
The only value in wagering the Warriors in this lopsided 1-8 matchup was whether the Final’s favorites would sweep. Odds were -125 prior to Game 1. For the second time in three years, Golden State delivered.
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #7 Memphis Grizzlies
Result: Spurs 4-2
Series Odds: -1100
The Grizz made the series at least a little interesting following it’s 4-0 mauling by the Spurs in last year’s playoff. San Antonio dominated Memphis by 22 points per game minus Mike Conley and Marc Gasol in 2016. The stars were healthy this time around and snatched a pair of home victories. The wins spoiled a popular 3-to-1 bet the Spurs would sweep for the second year in a row.
#3 Houston Rockets vs. #6 Oklahoma City Thunder
Result: Rockets 4-1
Series Odds: -390
This first-round matchup was one of the most anticipated with MVP frontrunners Russell Westbrook and James Harden leading their respective teams. The Rockets’ overall better team talent proved the difference-maker, particularly late in contests. Houston outscored the Thunder 32.2 to 22.2 in the final quarter. It is just the third time the Rockets have progressed to the second round of the NBA playoffs in their last 12 appearances.
#4 Los Angles Clippers vs. #5 Utah Jazz
Result: TBD (3-3)
Series Odds: Clippers (-245)
This Clippers-Jazz series is the only first-round matchup to go to Game 7 this year. They tip off 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday. In the last 15 years, four seeds are 4-2 SU and ATS in Game 7 in Round 1.
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