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How Blowouts Are Hurting Prop Bettors This NBA Postseason

How Blowouts Are Hurting Prop Bettors This NBA Postseason article feature image
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Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Ime Udoka (left) and Jayson Tatum (right).

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That’s how bettor Kenny McAndress describes the betting market for props this postseason.

McAndress drops his prop parlays that offer huge returns, called moonshots, into his discord, and — mostly thanks to blowouts — things have been a bit rough.

“With all these blowouts, the number of minutes guys are going to get are so questionable,” McAndress said.

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In the last 10 days, there have been 11 NBA playoff games. The average margin of victory? 21.5 points. And what’s even more absurd is each team has had a blowout of its own.

  • The Celtics won Thursday night’s game by 25.
  • The Mavericks beat the Suns in Game 6 by 27.
  • The Grizzlies beat the Warriors in Game 5 by 39.
  • The Heat beat the 76ers in Game 5 by 35.
  • The Suns beat the Mavericks in Game 5 by 30.

Solo prop bets have hit here and there, even in the blowouts. On Thursday night, three of the top five most popular props on DraftKings hit even in the Celtics’ 25-point victory over the Heat.

  • Jimmy Butler over 26.5 points
  • Tyler Herro over 2.5 assists
  • Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler 25+ points each

But try combining them with three or four combinations of player props for big returns, and it has become a fruitless exercise.

“You are supposed to have more confidence in the playoffs,” McAndress said. “The teams are better, the margins are tighter, the blowouts shouldn’t happen.”

But that’s actually not what has happened.

“Contrary to opinion, we expected to see a larger deviation in margin of victory in the playoffs versus the regular season,” PointsBet trader Sam Garriock said.

Garriock told Action Network that the book has a different model it runs with for the playoffs versus the regular season and that that model actually runs around coach tendencies.

“You can’t just use time and score as factors,” Garriock said. “Our model depends on what we’ve learned from the tendency of each coach, whose rotation strategy is more predictable in the playoffs as opposed to the regular season.”

It’s a busy setup behind the scenes at PointsBet since the sportsbook now offers live props that shift.

Garriock says the odds are generated by first predicting how many minutes a player will play in a given game by using an algorithm and manually imputing data such as when a player is in foul trouble.

Brandon Anderson, Action’s Network’s resident NBA props specialist, says the public has missed on props because they’re too reliant on playing it like a square.

“Blowouts are only disastrous if you’re going to play what people like to play — the top stars and the overs,” Anderson said. “That’s when blowouts can hurt you.”

In Thursday night’s blowout, Tatum played only 32 minutes, his fewest minutes in the Celtics’ 13 postseason games this year. It can also flip to the other side, when coaches rest stars when they’re getting blown out. Butler also played only 32 minutes for Miami.

Said Anderson: “If your props are tied to the third or fourth guy, he’s not coming out. The Heat have to play Max Strus.”

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