How Teams Down 0-3 Perform in Game 4: Will 76ers, Raptors Get Swept?


Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: DeMar DeRozan

No NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit in the playoffs, going 0-for-129. Despite the long odds of completing the ultimate comeback, the Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors — each trailing three games to none — will try to extend their Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday.


Philly (-6.5) is favored at home (6 p.m. ET), while Toronto (+5.5) is an underdog in Cleveland (8:30 p.m. ET). Using Bet Labs, let’s dive into Game 4 playoff trends when the series is sitting at 3-0.

Teams down 0-3 have gone 19-37 straight-up (33.9%) and 23-30-3 against the spread (43.4%) in Game 4 since 2005. Bad news for 76ers and Raptors fans.

This performance stands in stark contrast to teams down 0-2 in Game 3: 66-58 SU (53.2%) and 63-58-3 ATS (52.1%). Teams that fall into an early 2-0 hole still have a chance to win the series, but teams trailing 3-0 are clearly the inferior side. The difference in win percentage suggests that after a team loses three straight it is prone to fold in Game 4.

Since it has not been profitable to bet the team trailing 3-0, what is the optimal strategy for wagering on squads trying to sweep?

Early Is Better

Overall, teams up 3-0 are 30-23-3 (56.6%) ATS. The results improve based on round. Teams trying to sweep have had greater success early in the playoffs, which makes sense, considering the weaker opponents in the first two rounds.

Teams trying to sweep in the first two rounds are 33-15 SU (68.8%) and 27-18-3 ATS (60.0%) since 2005. In the conference finals and NBA Finals, teams up 3-0 are 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS.

It has been profitable to bet teams leading 3-0 in the first and second round of the playoffs whether they are at home (3-0 ATS), on the road (24-18-3 ATS), favored (23-15-2 ATS) or getting points (4-3-1 ATS).

According to The Action Network’s live odds page, a majority of bettors are wagering on the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers to cover in Game 4. Fading the public is usually a smart strategy, but with the Celtics and Cavs trying for a sweep, sharps and squares could end up on the same side.

Pictured: DeMar DeRozan

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