NBA Betting Tip: When to Follow Line Movement in the NBA Playoffs

NBA Betting Tip: When to Follow Line Movement in the NBA Playoffs article feature image
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Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard

  • The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers have become bigger favorites in their Game 5 matchups on Tuesday.
  • Using Bet Labs, we analyze what is causing the line movement and when it is profitable to follow these moves.

NBA playoff betting lines are moving on Tuesday’s slate. The Toronto Raptors have been bet up from 11- to 11.5-point favorites against the Orlando Magic (7 p.m. ET on NBATV), while the Philadelphia 76ers went from 8- to 8.5-point favorites in their matchup with the Brooklyn Nets (8 p.m. ET on TNT).

There has also been lopsided betting action on both these contests. More than 70% of spread tickets are on both favorites. Is this what has caused the line movement? No. Sharp bettors have forced adjustments by the bookmakers.

One way to tell which wagers the pros have made is comparing money percentages to ticket percentages. If there are more dollars than tickets on a game, that is an indication of smart money.

According to The Action Network’s live odds page, there is a higher percentage of dollars than tickets on the Raptors and Sixers. This means that bigger wagers, often from respected bettors, have been placed on the favorites, which has caused oddsmakers to adjusted their lines.

Professional bettors don’t always win, but being on the same side as the smart money is advantageous. In the NBA Playoffs, it has been profitable to follow the money when betting the spread.

Since the 2015-16 postseason when we began tracking spread dollars, the team that received a higher percentage of money than tickets has gone 159-124-1 (56.2%) against the spread (ATS) according to Bet Labs. Following the money works best with favorites.

Over the past four playoffs, favorites receiving a higher percentage of dollars than betting tickets have gone 97-50-1 (66.0%) ATS. A $100 bettor following this system would have returned a profit of $4,234.

Money won’t solve all of your problems, but it can help you identify sharp action and win an NBA playoff bet. So, remember to follow the money in the postseason to cash tickets.

Tuesday matches:

  • Toronto Raptors -11.5 vs. Orlando Magic (7 p.m. ET, NBATV)
  • Philadelphia 76ers -8.5 vs. Brooklyn Nets (8 p.m. ET, TNT)

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