Whenever an underdog is pitted against a heavy favorite, we tend to think of David vs. Goliath. In the other three North American leagues (NHL, NFL, MLB), upsets tend to happen more often. However, when it comes to the NBA, upsets don’t happen nearly as often, especially not long-shot underdogs. In this article, we’ll take a look at the four keys to picking an underdog to win a series.
Playing Styles Of Both Teams
An underdog could be a good value bet if the playing style of the underdog is especially suited to countering the playing style of the favored team. This requires the bettor to watch the games of these two teams closely to determine this information. For example, trends such as the following may provide an edge to the underdog when matched up against the favorite:
– The underdog is especially good at defending the three-point line and the favorite relies heavily on made three-pointers;
– The underdog is especially good at transition defense and the favorite loves to get out and run;
– The underdog is especially good at contesting shots without fouling and the favorite has the tendency to try and lure susceptible teams into fouling.
While the above are just a few examples, these are the factors that you should be focusing on.
Home Court Advantage
While this rarely happens, a team may be an underdog even though this team has the better record during the regular season, and thus, home court advantage. Since home court advantage tends to play a big factor, especially when it comes to playoff games, this is something that you should definitely take into account if the scenario ever arises.
Battle Of Superstar Players On Each Team
In the playoffs, the ability of a superstar player to carry his team can mean the difference between winning or losing a series. This is certainly something that you should look out for when an underdog is matched up against a favorite. If superstar player on the underdog team is better than the superstar player on the favorite team, this could be a very ripe formula for an upset. If there is a substantial performance discrepancy between the two superstar players, which ends up favoring the superstar playing from the underdog team, the underdog team could find itself in a good position to pull off an upset.
Makeup Of Rotations
In the playoffs, teams tend to cut down on their rotations, typically going from a 10-man rotation during the regular season to an eight-man rotation in the playoffs. In this case, some teams during the regular season may thrive with a 10-man rotation whereas other teams are merely implementing a 10-man rotation simply to take the workload off their other more important players. When an underdog is matched up against a favorite, if the favorite team has thrived during the regular season with a larger rotation and is forced to shorten up their rotation in the playoffs, this may not work to their benefit. Concurrently, if the underdog team also had a larger rotation in the regular season but are able to benefit from cutting down their rotation for the playoffs, this could serve as a big advantage for the underdog team, especially if these two things happen at the same time.