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How To Bet On The NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs are the culmination of the NBA season where the eight best teams from each conference meet in an elimination format tournament.

Can Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers defend their NBA title this season? Will the Golden State Warriors make up for last season’s disappointment? Or can an unlikely contender come from the pack cause an upset? So many questions that will be answered through the months of April and May leading up to the NBA Finals in June.

In our detailed How To Bet On The NBA Playoffs guide, we will show you how to bet on this great tournament, which markets are available and how you can find betting value in NBA playoffs odds. 

What You Will Find In This Guide

NBA Playoffs Dates

 The NBA season is one of the longest in professional sports, with the season starting in late October and progressing all the way to June of the following year.

 NBA playoffs dates are rarely set in stone, as the length of individual playoff series’ can sometimes lead to the schedule being revised.  

 If you’re wondering when the NBA playoffs begin, provisional NBA Playoffs dates are as follows:

NBA Playoffs Schedule 2019

DatePlayoff Round
 April, 2019 How to bet on NBA playoffs NBA Playoffs Opening Round Begins
May, 2019  How to bet on NBA playoffs NBA Conference Semi Finals Begin
May, 2019 How to bet on NBA playoffs NBA Conference Finals Begin
June, 2019 How to bet on NBA playoffs NBA Finals Begin

NBA Playoffs Format

The NBA Playoffs format has changed a number of times during the course of the league's history.

The NBA Playoffs format, currently consists of eight teams from each conference with each team ranked according to their regular season win-loss records.

Eight teams from each conference feature in the NBA playoffs, making a total of sixteen teams competing for the NBA title over four rounds of play.

The NBA Playoffs Schedule is as follows:

  1. Opening Round
  2. Conference Semi Finals
  3. Conference Finals
  4. NBA Finals

Matchups in each round of the NBA playoffs schedule are best-of-seven series, meaning that the team to reach four wins first, wins the series and progresses to the next round.

NBA Playoffs Home Court Advantage

Home court advantage in each NBA playoff matchup is determined by regular season win-loss records. The NBA playoffs schedule for each series based on regular season win-loss records is as follows:

The sixteen playoff teams play through each of the four rounds, with the champions of each conference meeting in the NBA Finals to determine that season’s champions.

NBA Playoffs Odds

There are a number of ways you can bet on NBA playoffs odds. Let’s take a look at the most popular NBA playoffs betting markets..

Individual Game Betting

This is betting on an individual NBA playoff game, just like you would bet on a NBA game through the regular season. The most popular NBA playoffs odds for individual game betting are:

To learn more about these individual markets, please read our detailed NBA betting guide.

Series Betting

Series betting is placing a bet on the result across an individual NBA playoff series. The most popular NBA playoffs odds for series betting are:

Series Winner Betting

Series winner is fairly self explanatory. You are betting on which team you think will win a given seven game series.

Series Correct Score Betting

Series correct score is betting on the exact series result. For example, you could bet on Cleveland to defeat Boston 4-2 in a given playoff series.

Many punters like series correct score betting because it not only offers larger odds than series winner, but it also adds an extra level of intrigue..

Many NBA bettors also like to bet on a number of correct score outcomes. For example, if you think a series is bound to be tight and likely to come down to a seventh and final game, you could bet on Cleveland 4-3 as well as Boston 4-3.

Or if you think Cleveland will win the series easily, you could bet on them to win 4-0 and also 4-1. As you can see, series correct score betting offers a deeper level of strategy than mere series winner betting.

Series Total Games Betting

Total games betting is fairly simple. In this market you can bet on the number of games that will be played during a given NBA playoffs series. Which team wins the series is irrelevant. All that matters is that you pick the total number of games to be played in a series

Many bettors like to mix and match their total games bets with their series correct score bets. For example, you could bet on Cleveland 4-3 and the series to go to 7 games.

Conference Championship Betting

Conference winner betting is simple. You bet on who you think will win a particular conference, either the Eastern Conference or the Western Conference. If the team you select wins their conference, your bet is a winner.

Conference Championship betting are popular NBA playoffs odds to bet on, but not quite as popular as NBA title winner betting odds.

Bet On NBA Championship

While each round of the NBA playoffs receives great interest from NBA bettors, it’s the NBA Finals that everyone wants to bet on.

You can bet on NBA Championship odds at every bookmaker including bookmakers such as William Hill and Betfair Sportsbook.

List Of Recent NBA Champions

YearChampionsRunners UpSeries Score
1997 Chicago Utah 4-2
1998 Chicago Utah 4-2
1999 San Antonio New York 4-1
2000 LA Lakers Indiana 4-2
2001 LA Lakers Philadelphia 4-1
2002 LA Lakers New Jersey 4-0
2003 San Antonio New Jersey 4-2
2004 Detroit LA Lakers 4-1
2005 San Antonio Detroit 4-3
2006 Miami Dallas 4-2
2007 San Antonio Cleveland 4-0
2008 Boston LA Lakers 4-2
2009 LA Lakers Orlando 4-1
2010 LA Lakers Boston 4-3
2011 Dallas Miami 4-2
2012 Miami Oklahoma City 4-1
2013 Miami San Antonio 4-3
2014 San Antonio Miami 4-1
2015 Golden State Cleveland 4-2
2016 Cleveland Golden State 4-3
2017 Golden State Cleveland 4-1
2018 Golden State Cleveland 4-0

So how can you bet on Championship winner NBA playoffs odds? Most bookmakers will refer to this market as NBA Championship Winner Betting Odds or something similar with the market typically listed under NBA Futures 2016/17.

Most bookmakers will offer Win Only for this market which means to win your bet, the team you bet on has to win the NBA Championship.

Some bookmakers will however offer an each-way bet on NBA Championship winner odds, meaning that if your team does not win the  NBA Championship but at least reaches the NBA Finals, you will receive a reduced return.

Where To Bet On NBA Playoffs

There are a number of options when it comes to where to bet on NBA playoffs odds for individual playoff games, series and both conference and league championships.

While we certainly recommend any of our top 10 bookmakers, we have selected our top 3 bookmakers for NBA playoffs odds and betting. Also be sure to check our list of current bookmaker free bets and promotions throughout the NBA playoffs.

William Hill

NBA playoffs oddsThey might be one of the biggest bookmakers in the UK, but when it comes to US sports, William Hill has plenty to offer. If you’re looking forward to betting on this season’s NBA playoffs, sign up with William Hill today and take advantage of their new customer bonus bets offer.

Bet on the NBA Playoffs at William Hill Now


NBA playoffs oddsWhen it comes to basketball, Unibet are a popular choice among bettors. Unibet offers odds on a diverse range of basketball leagues and tournaments, including of course, both NBA regular season and NBA playoffs odds. Sign up with Unibet today, take advantage of their new customer free bet offer and start betting on the NBA playoffs now.

Bet on the NBA Playoffs at Unibet Now

NBA Playoffs Watch Online

If you don’t have access to satellite or the NBA League Pass package available through, you may be wondering where you can watch the NBA Playoffs online.

The great news is that a number of bookmakers offer virtually free live streaming of NBA games right through the NBA playoffs. Which bookmakers are offering virtually free NBA playoff action direct to your computer or mobile device?

To learn more about bookmaker live streams, read our detailed guide to bookmaker live streaming.

Here’s our best bookmakers for live streaming NBA playoffs. 

nba playoffs watch online
nba playoffs watch online
nba playoffs watch online
nba playoffs watch online
nba playoffs watch online

Detailed Bookmaker Reviews

To find the best bookmakers for NBA playoffs odds and markets, please refer to our detailed bookmaker reviews.

NBA Tips And Predictions

So who will win this year’s NBA championship? Will there be an upset or will the favourites come through and claim the title?

If you’re looking for NBA playoff tips and predictions, you’ve come to the right place. Without doubt some of the best NBA tipsters post their tips at bettingexpert, and this will be no different through this season’s NBA playoffs.

Free NBA Playoffs Betting Tips

You can see the latest tips by visiting the bettingexpert NBA tips page. Every tip posted is free and all tips are verified so you can easily determine which are our best NBA tipsters.

See All Current NBA Betting Tips Now

And if you’re not sure which tips to follow, below are our most profitable NBA tipsters for the previous three NBA seasons.

See the top tipsters here

Sign up with bettingexpert

How To Bet On NBA Playoffs

What are the best NBA playoffs betting strategies? How is betting on the NBA playoffs different to betting on the regular season? Here we discuss the best ways to enhance your chances of making money and how to bet on NBA playoffs.

How To Bet On NBA Playoffs and Win

  1. Isolate Each Team’s Weakness
  2. Determine Who Can Win A War of Attrition
  3. Determine Who’s Best Equipped to Win a Game’s Last Two Minutes
  4. Monitor the Evolving Impact of Three Point Volume

Defence wins championships. Clean offensive execution is vital. In short, if you’re trying to pick who’s going to win a championship, you need to know who’s best at doing what it takes to win a championship.

So let's start with a pair of factors, factors that are so intrinsically tied together for purposes of betting the NBA Playoffs that we should link them together right off the bat.

1. Isolate Each Team’s Weakness

This is the nuts and bolts of NBA Playoff betting because every series is stretched out into a best four-games-out-of-seven format. Championship contenders find their opponent’s biggest weakness, and they make them pay. Over and over again until the series has finished.

Favourites with a match-up advantage will try to get their series over with as quickly as possible.

At the other end of the spectrum, an underdog can’t “luck” their way to a series upset. Do achieve this, dogs need to have a skill set that matches up well against a weakness of the opposing favourite.

This happens!

And, the market is often slow to react to dangerous dogs because NBA playoffs odds are so heavily influenced by regular season results and overall stats rather than matchup-specific dynamics.

If you want to beat the market in the NBA Playoffs, you need to evaluate the individual chess pieces for each team and the big picture strengths and weaknesses. Look at the following:

Determine which offences have versatility, and which are too one-dimensional, weighted on the shoulders of one or two key scorers. When watching first action in a series, keep a particular eye out for a weak defensive link that can't be hidden.

If you don’t have a clear sense of these elements entering a series, the best head coaches will literally announce them to you by the way they attack opposing defences in the second half of the first two games. You’ll still have time to profit before the series ends if you can crack the strategic code.

2. Determine Who Can Win A War of Attrition

The gruelling schedule of the NBA Playoffs creates a kind of war of attrition that adds an extra dimension to the challenge of making a profit. And, this really matters if the relative skill sets of two teams in a series are so even that they basically cancel out.

In recent seasons, you’ve seen sideline reports “in the huddle” on TV showing the head coaches trying to inspire their players to keep their energy high, to not give up. Sure it’s still a chess match but it’s an exhausting chess match where the power pieces can’t afford any respite.

As bettors, it’s best not to try and guess which teams have more “guts” or “grit” than the others. But, you can evaluate which teams have more depth, which teams are in better health, which teams might wear down quickly within a series that plays every other day rather than one with more calendar spacing.

And, if you trust your reads from past playoffs in this area, you can certainly apply those to veteran teams with stable rosters.

Keep in mind that picking late-series point-spread winners in the first round often involves recognising when non-contenders are ready to throw in the towel, while picking point-spread winners in the deeper rounds can be influenced by recognising the impact of cumulative wear-and-tear.

Many absent-minded handicappers become bothered by media emphasis on clichés like “who wants it more” and “who’s hungrier.” If coaches thought that stuff was irrelevant they wouldn’t talk about it so much in the heat of battle! You’re trying to pick who’s going to win a series of battles.

3. Determine Who’s Best Equipped to Win a Game’s Last Two Minutes

So many NBA Playoff games are decided in the final moments of action (both for straight up purposes and in determining the point-spread winner) that handicappers will be well-served evaluating team skill sets offensively and defensively in this area.

For many years, the stathead community saw late game results as mostly influenced by “luck” rather than skill sets.

But, more recent studies have shown that passing the ball around for an open look is much more effective than “hero ball” where one star holds the ball by himself and tries to score on a last second guarded shot. Successful defences are also more sophisticated in how they handle late game rotations. Luck is still a factor of course. There are skill sets in play.

See what you can learn from regular season strategies and stars for the teams involved in the playoffs.

And, watch tight finishes in the early rounds very closely to develop a sense of how coaches are handling pressure situations. You should enter the playoffs up front knowing that there are going to be several late game pick-em situations where profit or loss is determined by team execution.

4. Monitor the Evolving Impact of Three Point Volume

In recent seasons we have seen the evolution of the three-point offence. If you’ve been reading box scores, you know that good teams are shooting more from long range than they used to. Breakthroughs in analytics have shown the increased efficiency of this approach.

Many teams are taking it to heart. We're not suggesting that teams didn’t shoot the trey before. But, attempt totals are up and quick pass offences are more aggressively trying to create deep open looks rather than settling for the hope that a rim attacker can bully his way inside.

That means strategies you found success with in the past might get trumped by teams going 15 of 35 on three-pointers. Hot long range shooting can make up for a few weaknesses.

And, if you run into a series where both teams are going to attempt 25-35 treys per night, then who wins and loses may come down to who makes more of those shots rather than some of the more traditional indicators.

The world of sports doesn’t stand still. Smart bettors need to stay on top of evolutionary elements as best as possible.

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