Now that sports betting in Massachusetts has been made legal, Boston Celtics fans and NBA fans around the state are getting ready to enjoy playoff action and place a few wagers in the process.
The NBA playoffs offer some of the best action of the spring, and if you’re looking to get involved with NBA playoffs betting, it’s important to have a strategy in place before you place your first wager.
Whether you’re just looking to bet on Celtics games or you’ve got your eyes on games throughout the league, knowing what bets are available and how to place your wagers is the first step to maximizing your potential return.
Here’s a look at some strategies you can use to make the most out of betting on the NBA playoffs this spring. Click here for more betting guides.
Betting on the NBA Playoffs
When you’re looking to bet on the NBA playoffs, you’ve got many of the same wagers available that you’d have during the regular season. You’ll also have one key difference: the same teams will be playing each other multiple times in the span of two weeks. During the regular season, you’re not comparing like matchups because teams constantly travel the country for their own individual schedules, resulting in unbalanced matchups that can give one team a built-in advantage.
That makes betting on individual games much different than betting on regular-season games for two reasons. First, each time the teams take the court, you’re getting new information about how they match up with each other.
They won’t be playing anyone else until one team has eliminated the other, so each time, you’re examining the same matchups that you had in the previous game.
Second, there might be times when one team chooses to wave the white flag on a game in order to save itself for the next one in the series. Each series is best-of-7, so it’s entirely possible for a team to decide that an individual game is lost and focus on coming out strong in the next game.
Third, momentum can and does come into play in a specific matchup. One great example came in the 1995 NBA Finals, when the Orlando Magic had the Houston Rockets down and out in Game 1. But the Magic missed four game-clinching free throws and the Rockets won in overtime, leaving Orlando so shell-shocked that the Rockets won all four games.
Momentum can and does affect how teams play each other, so if you spot teams changing their looks or body language during or after a key game, you might want to use that in your NBA playoffs betting strategy.
NBA Playoffs Betting Trends
For NBA playoff betting, you can find a trend to back up just about any position you want to take. That means you need to be smart about the trends you consider and avoid talking yourself into a position just because you’re looking to cash a huge payday.
One trend that you should definitely keep in mind is that big favorites rarely lose in the NBA postseason. There aren’t wide gaps between playoff teams in the NBA, as these teams are often even enough for the lower seed to have a chance to win a game or two before they bow out. When a team is favored by 8.5 points or more, there’s almost always a great reason for it, and it tends to play out that way on the court.
Over the past 40 matchups in the NBA playoffs where one team was favored by at least 8.5 points, they won the game 39 times and covered 22 times. Before you take an underdog to win an NBA playoff game, you’d better have a really good reason for doing so, because it doesn’t happen often.
When two teams get to a Game 7, you’re usually better off taking the under. That’s because both teams have gotten to know each other very well by that point in the series. When Game 7 is necessary, the teams have played at least nine matchups with each other on the year, and each has won three with the pressure of a playoff series.
That means there are no adjustments left to make on offense, and the defense usually carries the day. Plus, the general public loves to bet overs, and Game 7s always attract casual fans. When casuals get involved, unders become much more valuable. If you see a Game 7, you’re probably going to want to back a low-scoring contest.
Game 7s can also help you in the next series: 61% of teams who win Game 7 turn around and lose Game 1. There are two reasons for this. First, the team that played Game 7 often has to travel for Game 1.
Either they played on the road and get to come home, or they were traveling to their new opponent’s home city. It’s not common for a team to get to play Game 7 of one series and Game 1 of another in the same building, and even when it does happen, the opponent is usually far more rested.
That’s the second reason for this trend: rest matters. When a team has to go from the Game 7 pressure cooker straight into a Game 1, they haven’t had time to rest and haven’t had time to get their minds right. That’s usually a combination that means defeat.
How NBA Playoff Betting Odds Work
For the most part, the odds for betting on the NBA playoffs work the same as betting on the regular season. You’ll have the spread play, which is the amount that the favored team is expected to win the game by at the sportsbook.
Based on how the teams have looked to that point in the series, where the game is played and other factors, the sportsbook will set the expected margin of victory for the game. You can then bet on either the favored team to win by more than the spread or the underdog to either win the game outright or lose by less than the expected number.
Totals bets focus on how many points are scored in the game. You’ll get a number that’s based on how quickly the offenses like to run, how good the defenses are, how tight the officials might call the game and more. You can either go over or under the projected score total, and your bet will get graded based on whether your prediction was correct.
You’ll also see odds for a team to win the series and move on to the next round. Given that the NBA playoffs give teams multiple chances to shake off a defeat in one series, some bettors will price that into their NBA playoffs betting strategy and take a team to win the series rather than betting on individual games.
This can offer a lesser payout for the favorite, because the underdog would have to beat them four times in order to advance. However, if you’re willing to take the underdog and you pick the right team, betting on playoff series outcomes can be a great strategy.
Taking the underdog to win the series means you expect them to come up with at least one road win and possibly more, which can pay at handsome odds.
What Are the Most Popular Types of NBA Playoff Betting?
Much like the regular season, the most popular bets to make on the NBA playoffs include the spread, totals, moneyline plays and player props. When you’re deciding how to bet on the NBA playoffs, you’ll want to look at all of them and decide where your opening might be.
Most bettors like to follow a team or two during the playoffs and get to know how they like to play as part of their betting strategy. Based on the information they gather, they’ll likely either bet the spread or the total, as they can easily spot how a team handles playing against their opponent over the first game or two in the series.
Backing an individual player or an individual matchup can also be a popular move. Especially considering the number of famous NBA players from Massachusetts.
If you know a player always has success against a certain opponent, you can take them to meet and exceed their player props. By contrast, if you know that a player struggles against a specific defense, you can back them under their prop plays.
Boston Celtics NBA Playoff Betting Strategy
If you’re like most Massachusetts basketball fans looking for NBA playoff betting tips, you want to know how to handle betting on games involving the Boston Celtics. The Celtics have the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference for the second year in a row, and they made it all the way to the NBA Finals last season.
Put simply, Massachusetts basketball fans have a lot to be excited about now that they can bet on the Celtics to make a run. You can find more information about Boston Celtics promos and sportsbook offers here.
In the first round, if you’re looking to try to maximize your profits, betting on the Celtics to sweep their first round series could be a great way to play it. Boston’s first-round opponent could become Atlanta or Toronto, and the Celtics have gone a combined 7-0 against those two teams in 2022-23.
Plus, Boston has dominated in the first round over the past four seasons when it’s been the higher seed. The Celtics earned the higher seed in 2019, 2020 and 2022, and they went a combined 12-0 in the first round in those seasons.
Beyond that, Boston’s done a great job of making money for Massachusetts bettors to close down the season.
The Celtics went 8-2 ATS over the final 10 games, and one of those defeats was the one bad performance they’ve turned in over the past three weeks (a 19-point loss at Washington).
If you’re looking to back the Celtics in the postseason, taking them on the spread looks like it could be a great way to get started.
The Celtics are currently priced at to win the NBA title.
What Are the Best Sportsbooks for NBA Playoff Betting?
Some of your best sportsbook options include the biggest names in the sports betting industry: FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook. FanDuel and DraftKings are used to offering player props as part of daily fantasy sports, so you’ll be able to get odds on just about any player to do something in the playoffs.
Click here to find the best MA betting offers.
You’ll also have access to live in-game wagers, so if you like how one team looks in the first few minutes, you can get action on them after watching them perform.
If you know what you’re looking for, watching the game for a few minutes before making your bet can give you a big advantage because you’ll be able to read body language and see how the game develops before you make a play.
Making Smart Bets on the NBA Playoffs
NBA playoffs betting can be a great way to get the most out of watching the Celtics make their run at an NBA Finals appearance. If the Celtics make a run to the title, you can back them the whole way and make some money in the process.
Even on nights when the Celtics aren’t playing, you can get action on each game from the play-in tournament to the last game of the Finals, making for an exciting experience night after night.
If you’re a basketball fan in Massachusetts, now’s the time to plot your NBA playoffs betting strategy and get ready to make the most of the postseason. You can find daily video picks from PickBoss in the NBA playoffs here.
NBA Finals Betting FAQ
Who is favored to win the NBA Finals?
The Milwaukee Bucks are listed as the main favorite to win the NBA title. The Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns are next on the list of favorites, with no other team listed at less than +500 odds for the title.
Check out the current odds:
Can I bet on the NBA Finals?
Yes. You must be 21 years of age or older to bet on the NBA Finals in Massachusetts. As long as you meet that requirement and are located in Massachusetts when you place you‘re bet, you can place a wager on the playoffs.
Where can I bet on the NBA Finals?
You can bet on the NBA Finals at any legitimate sportsbook in Massachusetts from the comfort of your home, a sports bar or anywhere in the Bay State. As long as you‘ve registered with a sportsbook approved by the state, you‘re good to go.
Want To Learn More?
How to Bet on Sports in Massachusetts: MA Sports Betting Guide
Massachusetts Live Sports Betting Guide for 2023
NHL Playoffs Betting in Massachusetts: 2023 Guide
A Guide to the Best Massachusetts Sports Teams
Best Sports Betting Apps in Massachusetts for 2023