NBA Playoffs Betting Tip: How to Follow Sharp Over/Under Money
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson
- When the line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages, this is called reverse line movement and reveals which bets sharps are making.
- Using Bet Labs, we share a profitable over/under system that follows reverse line movement for the NBA playoffs.
The Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets ranked first and second, respectively, in offensive efficiency during the regular season. James Harden (36.1 ppg), Stephen Curry (27.3 ppg) and Kevin Durant (26.0 ppg) were in the top 10 in scoring. With all of that fire power, oddsmakers and bettors expected Warriors-Rockets Game 1 to be a shootout.
The over/under for the first game of their Western Conference semifinal matchup closed at 224 and 68% of tickets were placed on the over. To the public’s disappointment, the teams combined to score 204 points and the under hit with ease.
To casual observers the result might have been surprising, but not to shrewd gamblers. While a majority of bets were on the over, the total had decreased from 225.5 to 224. When the line moves in the opposite direction of the betting percentages, this is called reverse line movement and is an indication of sharp money.
In the postseason, it has been profitable to follow over/under reverse line movement:
This strategy works for two reasons:
- It is easier for an under to hit in a game with a high total — that just makes sense.
- Oddsmakers frequently inflate the line because casual bettors love cheering for points and the over.
So, when we see a line decrease in the playoffs we can be confident that sharp money is driving the action. Bettors shouldn’t be worried about getting the worst of the line. As the line decreases, the profitability of unders increases.
Since 2005, in high-total games when the line drops by one or more points, the under has gone 86-58-1 (59.7%) in the playoffs per Bet Labs.
When evaluating playoff over/unders remember to check for reverse line movement. Betting percentages and line movement can tell us how the pros are betting the total and point us in the right direction.
- Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers (Monday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
- Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets (Tuesday, 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT)