Monday, 31 August 2020

Unders Begets Unders in Play-Offs

With the Denver Nuggets tying up their play-off series against the Utah Jazz last night, we have our first Game 7 of the 2019-20 NBA season.

With data going back to 2002, the Home team wins 74% of these games, and covers 57% of the time, but with Home and Away merely an administrative technicality in the play-offs this season, we can probably ignore this statistic. For the record, Denver are the "Home" team tomorrow. 

In 'normal' play-off games, Home teams win 64.4% of games, but this season that percentage is down to 55%.

In the First Round of play-offs, the numbers are 65% and 56.4%. The percentage declines from the early rounds to the finals as does the difference between the teams.

When looking at covering the spread, First Round games see the Home team cover 51% of the time, which is not too exciting, but the Totals markets in Game 7s show a tendency for the Overs to be 'over'-valued with Unders the result more than 60% of the time.  

Some of you may know that in a play-off series, a key indicator for Unders is previous matches in the series, an observation that gets stronger the deeper into a series you go.

For example in a Game 4, if the two preceding games both went Under, 53% of games will again go under. In Game 5, this percentage increases to 57%, in Game 6 to 63% and in Game 7s to 80%.

If you are impatient and want to jump in after just one Under, the numbers are 53%, 59%, 60% and 63% respectively. Stake accordingly. 

Unfortunately the Nuggets and Jazz series has gone Over in five of the six games, and the market seems to adjust to an Overs result much more efficiently than to an Unders.  

We may have another Game 7 this week if Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Houston Rockets tonight.

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