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NBA Playoffs: Halftime Wagering Tips
by Bryan Leonard - 04/26/2011
There are several advantages to second half wagering. One is that you get a chance to see the action and can make judgments on what you see in the first half that might affect second half play. Injuries are one example, and that is especially true in this particular NBA playoffs, with nagging injuries to star players like Manu Ginobili, Shaq, Chauncey Billups and Amare Stoudamire.
Another is that you can hedge for the second half and perhaps hit a middle, if you have a wager on the side or total for the entire game. Another edge is that you can sometimes find spots where the second half might be lower scoring than the first half. Defense often becomes greater in the playoffs as there’s far more at stake than any regular season game. Sometimes teams can play a wide-open first half, but as players tire out more in the third and fourth quarters, truly strong defensive teams can “turn up the heat.” For instance, in Game 1 of the Nuggets/Thunder series, Denver scored 60 first half points at Oklahoma City, a team that has been very good defensively ever since Kendrick Perkins joined the team. However, the second half was a completely different story as Denver totaled just 42 points, a huge different from the first half. Yes, the first half went over the total, but the defenses shined (as they often do in the postseason) in the second half. So far in the 2011 first round, there have been twice as many unders as overs.
A few years ago in Game 1 of the Pistons/76ers series, Detroit failed to cover the first half number, leading by only two, but then blew the doors off Philly in the second half, 58-39, with a terrific defensive second half. That defense wasn’t there as much in the first half when Philly scored 46 points.
That same season the Nuggets and Spurs met up, two good defensive teams at the time, but you wouldn’t have noticed it in the first half of Game 1 with a 53-52 halftime score. However, both teams turned up the defense in the second half with the game sailing under the second half total easily, with a combined 76 points. This was also evident with another strong defensive team, Chicago. The Bulls were No. 1 in the NBA that season allowing opponents just .422% shooting. After combining for 105 points in the first half of Game 1, Chicago allowed just 42 second half points (92 overall in the second half) against their opponent.
You don’t have to have a microphone in the halftime locker rooms to guess what is going on. You know many NBA coaches that preach and understand the value of defense (Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, George Karl, Rick Carlisle, Phil Jackson) are bringing up the subject of better defense and making adjustments in an effort to shut down the other team. A good bettor can use this knowledge and the availability of second half numbers to make smart wagers to turn a profit or even strike gold by hitting the middle!