Playoff Value Bets

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
NBA Playoffs – Second Round Value Bets. Odds courtesy of

The first round of the NBA Playoffs is in the books. Golden State is still the team to beat as the Warriors have a 38.4% chance to win the championship.

The Dubs are the favorites but is there any value in backing Stephen Curry to win the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy?

Below we look for value in the NBA Playoff odds as the postseason moves to the conference semifinals. We utilize our updated NBA Playoff Probabilities to find the likelihood of a given team advancing and winning the title.

To determine if a team has value we look at what their current odds are to win the championship and compare that to our projected odds. For example, Golden State is listed at 11/10 to win the title, in order for us to feel comfortable wagering on the Warriors they would need to capture the championship 47.6% of the time (which is 10/(11 + 10)) of the time. We project Golden State to win it all 38.4% of the time, meaning there is no value in placing a bet at 11/10 odds.

Los Angeles Clippers
Championship Odds: 7/1, Implied Chance: 12.5%, Projected Chance: 16.6%

Chris Paul banked a shot over Tim Duncan with one second left to give Los Angeles a 111-109 victory in Game 7. The win propelled the Clippers into the second round and sent the defending champion Spurs home.

Before the playoffs began we projected that the winner of the Clippers/Spurs series would become our second most likely champion following the first round. Los Angeles won and now has the second best chance to win the championship.

However, in the victory against the Spurs, Paul suffered a left hamstring injury. His status for Game 1 of the team's Western Conference semifinal against the Houston Rockets is in doubt. If Paul misses the series, the Rockets would become the projected series winner.

As the second round starts, the Clippers with 7/1 championship odds provide the only value bet opportunity but with the status of Chris Paul up in the air this is one bet I would not make.

2015 NBA Playoffs – Odds to win Championship

Team Odds Odds Needed Proj. Chance
Golden State Warriors 11/10 47.6% 38.4%
Cleveland Cavaliers 7/2 22.2% 15.7%
Chicago Bulls 7/1 12.5% 8.2%
Los Angeles Clippers 7/1 12.5% 16.6%
Houston Rockets 9/1 10.0% 7.1%
Atlanta Hawks 12/1 7.7% 7.4%
Memphis Grizzlies 20/1 4.8% 4.6%
Washington Wizards 33/1 2.9% 2.0%