By Marc Lawrence
With the top seeds having flexed their muscle in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, it's one to Round Two where a series upset or two is always in the realm of possibility.
Tripped out favorites
Teams that take it on the chin three times in a row do not fare well when laying points in Round Two.
That's confirmed by the fact that teams laying points off three consecutive losses that are 3-13 ATS in these games.
Worse, if they dropped their last game straight up as a favorite these teams generally fall off the map and out of the playoffs, going 3-7 SU and 0-10 ATS.
Last year San Antonio and Utah were sent packing in this identical spot.
Thou shall not lay points to a No. 1 seed
One golden rule in this round applies to top seeds, namely: never lay points against No.1 seeds.
That's because inferior teams are just 16-27-1 ATS when playing points into No. 1 seeds since 1996. Worse, if the No. 1 seed is off a SU and ATS loss, lower seeded favorites are just 3-10 ATS.
And if the lower seeded favorite beat the top seed and covered the spread by nine or more points, they dip to 1-10 ATS.
You may not be comfortable changing roles in a relationship, but NBA teams in this round of the playoffs certainly are.
Round Two dogs (or picks) off a straight-up loss as a favorite are a 58% ATS proposition, going 31-21 ATS.
When changing roles off back-to-back SU and ATS losses, these pick-of-the-litter plays bark to the tune of 12-5 ATS, including 11-1 ATS if they own a win percentage of les than .680 on the season.
Running on empty
Home favorites that scored well below their average (77 or less points) in their previous game tend to fuel up the next game in this round.
That's evident by a sparkling 18-9-1 ATS mark by Round Two favorites that tallied 77 or fewer points in their last game.
Put these favorites up against .625 or greater opposition and they top off at 14-3 ATS, including 13-1 when laying four or more points.
There you have it. Four reliable betting theories you can hang your hat on throughout the 2nd round of this year's NBA playoffs.
Use your head and play accordingly.
Good stuff Marc, thank you for this.