Can Bettors Profit From Fatigue in the NBA Playoffs?

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Pictured: Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

“He looked a little tired to me,” said Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue about LeBron James.

When asked if he was fatigued, LeBron responded, “I think everybody at this point is tired or worn down.” James has played 98 games this season, two shy of his career high set in 2010-11.

The NBA season is long, with 82 games that include back-to-backs and road trips crisscrossing the country. There is no reset button when the playoffs tip off, and all those games take a toll on the players, even LeBron.

 

As player exhaustion becomes a storyline in the postseason it also creates a gambling opportunity. How can bettors profit from fatigue in the NBA playoffs? I’ve identified a winning betting system with a match for Cavaliers-Celtics Game 6 (Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET).

Since 2005, 50% or more of bets are on the over in 90% of NBA postseason games. Unfortunately for square bettors who love cheering for points, the over has gone 558-588-17 (48.7%), costing a $100 bettor $5,310.

Betting the under in the playoffs has been the sharp play, and there is a clear difference in value between games early and late in a series:

As a series progresses, teams become more familiar with each other. Defensive adjustments are made and player fatigue becomes an issue, which leads to less scoring.

In the last 13 postseasons, betting the under in Games 6 and 7 of a series has gone 92-65 (58.6%). Bettors have experienced only two losing seasons during that span and would have returned a profit of $2,179 wagering a $100 on each game.

Under for the win

There are a pair of Game 6s being played this weekend. I’ll be targeting the under in each matchup.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics (8:30 p.m. ET): At Pinnacle, the total opened 202 and has been bet down to 201.5. If the total decreases or stays the same, the under has gone 64-42 (60.4%) following this system.

Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets (9 p.m. ET): The total opened 213.5 and more than 60% of bets are on the over (see live odds page for updates). If the majority of bets come down on the over, the under improves to 84-54 (60.9%).

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