April 11, 2023, 5:15 am
All right guys and gals it’s time to jump into the water. I’ve been waiting to put all the work I’ve been doing in my normal season long process… to actual work.
If you don’t know I’m basically on the injured reserve with repetitive stress injury after years of typing at an ungodly rate and not knowing the dangers of such a thing. At any rate, I’ve been dealing with this for about five years now and I can more or less keep up with the knowledge flow throughout the year and put together a couple of content things — focusing on the big items that put cash in the pockets for all of us.
Anyway, I feel pretty good going into the postseason. I don’t even wanna say it but we’ve won every time I’ve stepped into a wagering role here…I’m happy to say conditions are good again this year. We’re going to be targeting 30% ROI in the playoff futures market with our pre-flop Finals plays. Overall, we want to see if we can top last year’s 30 unit gain in side/total betting and 30 unit gain on futures. That’s right… a 60 unit gain and we could’ve gone for more but decided to hedge on the future side in the last contest.
(Last Year’s Playoff Betting Journal link: Here)
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To set this article up — this journal is my playoff betting journey, minus the game to game plays. So futures bets and series bets. It’s the type of thing that might have a different strategy from year to year. But before we dive into strategy let’s quickly acknowledge that playing a postseason in this manner is a constantly changing chessboard. Investing in the teams that you like and having early success, especially on underdogs that the public hasn’t caught up on yet, can give you ways to hedge into guaranteed profit or even leverage the guaranteed returns into huge upside in future plays.
This year, I’m going to be able to fade two championship contenders and win 30-60% on the rest. I even got some early plays on the Kings when we formally announced the journal with a Twitter-only play a few weeks ago.
Before we go team by team here let’s talk a bit about how I am handling units and overall strategy. Typically units mean whatever your roll is for the season. Here, it’s a target for how much we want to spend on this journey (choose your own adventure). Because we could either experience an accelerated betting strategy as the playoffs progress — one where we want to hit the gas on how much cash we put in the furnace, or conversely one where small bets actually make more sense, whether in profit or loss scenarios, we have to remain flexible on that front.
So I set a target unit distribution for each stage of the playoffs, and my first step here was to figure out what percentage of my roll I wanted to spend on the pre-flop action. As you can see, I have five teams I’m willing to invest in (six if you count Sacramento and more on that later). Any team that has a puncher’s chance that I’m not investing in pre-flop I have listed as ‘out’ off to the right side. Basically if any of those teams keeps advancing toward an NBA championship, we’re going to have to hedge and otherwise recover later on down the road, probably at a loss.
Running these numbers and seeing that this group of five teams — most of which I like a lot — is going to bring back 30 to 60% ROI … seems like an amazing time to push units into the middle. In other words, I want a higher distribution of my units to fire off early because I like the equation. It might not be as good when the market catches up.
In the chart below you will see that I have 400 units I am targeting to play with and 175 of them going in pre-flop on futures. Another 175 units will be planned for the rest of the journal on futures plays, and 50 units for some series betting which I’ve found to be a pretty low volume marketplace. Down at the bottom I show this distribution of what I’m targeting to play in each stage of the playoffs, as well as the series plays, and then I show you at the bottom what the total investment would be based on the size of unit you’re playing. We’ll jot down the new bets as we go. Again, this is a journal of what I will be playing.
I’ve also shown what the ROI for your total investment would be in a segment (i.e. Finals futures, West futures, etc.) based on how much your units are worth ($1, $5, $10, $25).
I will update this journal throughout the playoffs and try to be as explanatory as possible but be warned the document can get kind of long and fairly messy. Apologies in advance and best of luck to all of us!
Team-by-Team Notes and Analysis:
Starting with the two teams that we aren’t backing that have more than a 1% chance, it’s certainly not comfortable to be going against Joel Embiid or the CP3-Booker-Durant-Ayton Suns.
Embiid, when he doesn’t settle, is on the shortlist of truly dominant players in the NBA. James Harden is at about 80 to 90% effectiveness of his best Houston days and though there are many concerns he still very good. Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton to go with Tobias Harris is formidable, full stop. Unfortunately for Philly, they will have to beat both Boston and Milwaukee on their way to a potential chip. Al Horford, Robert Williams and Brook Lopez can keep Embiid from going nuclear and then the advantages start to pile up in Boston and Milwaukee’s favor real quick. Boston can play Embiid straight up and shut everybody else off. Philly doesn’t have an answer for pretty much anybody defensively in that matchup and against Milwaukee they have no shot at containing Giannis Antetokounmpo. Similarly, Lopez can play Embiid straight up and similarly they can also shut everybody else off. And just like with Boston, Philly won’t have the defense to stop Milwaukee’s offense.
The only scenario I’m worried about with Philadelphia is Embiid going nuclear and both of the top two teams in the East have that covered as well as anybody could hope for.
As for Phoenix, we all know why they have a shot. I even like some of their depth, which also carries a decent amount of risk that they can’t hold down the fort. Josh Okogie can defend and is much better on offense than folks know and Terrence Ross can still get buckets. Is that enough? This is about the four top end players and nothing else. Can they do what practically no team has ever done, which is come together in this short amount of time and pull it off? Can Chris Paul not have some critical flaw that ruins an otherwise good performance, or just as important, can he be more than slightly above average. If he can and the other answers pan out well for Phoenix, we could be in some trouble but we will deal with that as we go and again, we are betting against the unprecedented happening here.
Last year I spent a decent amount of time on some of the mid tier teams that could theoretically threaten for a chip … but a lot of the parity in the league dissipated about halfway through this season and that saves us a bit of mental energy. New Orleans has too much weird stuff going on with Zion and losing Jose Alvarado was low-key important. They haven’t played smart when it has mattered and Denver has Aaron Gordon if they make it into Round 1. So while I think there is something way better than what we are seeing — hiding inside of whatever New Orleans is right now — but betting on it to go all the way? I see no need to erode our ROI at this point.
I’m higher on New York, Miami and Cleveland than either of the Lakers, Clippers or the aforementioned Phoenix and Philadelphia squads. The pricing is right on Philly but as I explained I don’t see a path to a win. Phoenix could certainly hurt me but the price isn’t right. LeBron and Anthony Davis are very underwater in the name value versus actual value discussion and then the problems start to mount after that. The Clippers might not lose as much value with Paul George being out as it may seem, but they are still relying on too many average or below average players in relation to these other contending teams.
While I think New York matches up well with Cleveland and has some bodies they can throw at Milwaukee, we have to start talking about teams getting injured and them not playing dumb before we could seriously consider them. Miami has most of its core that made the Finals run but both of their point guards are falling apart and even if everybody played well they don’t have enough to get over the top. Cleveland just doesn’t have enough pop or experience to get there. The unnamed teams are even worse off and have no chance.
OK let’s get onto the teams with a chance that we are investing in. And actually, let’s just talk about the Kings real quick.
They really got unlucky getting the Warriors. I’m not going to say that they can’t win this series and if I was putting odds on this series I would probably say it’s something like Warriors -130 to -150, citing the defensive issues that the Warriors are likely to exploit in the form of the Domantas Sabonis, the experience matchup, Stephen Curry and then the fact that Golden State has plenty of experience in the read and react game which should help them level up a bit against the Sacramento offense.
It kind of takes the thunder out of what really could be a much better situation for us, though we did get the Kings at +10,000 for the title and +4000 for the West when we kicked the journal off on Twitter. You can still get them at +6500 and +2500, respectively. If they can advance we can hedge against those big numbers. The conference odds are actually achievable as Denver and Memphis are beatable for them. I would blind bet them to win against either Los Angeles team and then I think they have puncher’s chances or better against any Western Conference team, but the outlooks get dramatically worse for them as they line up against teams that are smart in attacking weaknesses — and specifically Sabonis in the pick and roll. More on that later when I make a series play on the Kings (and in lower confidence, in murky waters, predict GSW loses to Boston in the Finals).
If they were getting the isolation heavy Kawhi Leonard show, or LeBron and A.D. drifting too far from the rim and resorting to things they like to do versus things they need to do — they would be great values with practical guarantees to get to the second round where at minimum you could hedge off the value you were getting with tremendous upside after that for more.
As for the rest, the sheer talent of Memphis is undeniable and while nobody is going to put them up for a leadership award they are all in on an us against the world mentality, maybe even playing with house money at this point. The idea that they go on a heater with the talent they have is not hard to see. At a price of +2400 they are being priced as a team with no chance and that’s simply not the case.
Golden State isn’t going to be a prohibitive favorite against anybody and they have real issues/problems, so any confidence I’m projecting there definitely has all of that in mind. But they match up well against all four of the top seeds. Kevon Looney will struggle but he won’t fold all the way against Nikola Jokić, Gary Payton will be a huge boost if he can stay healthy, Andrew Wiggins was competing at elite levels a year ago and if you cancel out the superstars the Warriors have the advantage. Against Phoenix it will be familiarity versus championship pedigree. Against Memphis we’ve seen this play out, albeit with a few different pieces. They are the sweet spot of my strategy in terms of likelihood and upside, and when I discuss that series that against Sacramento you will see that I’m going to hedge a bit while taking advantage of some of that pricing disparity I’ve referenced above.
And then of course Denver, Boston and Milwaukee are all legitimate contenders… I have Boston as my favorite for the championship heading into the playoffs but it’s tight between they and Milwaukee. I am having to invest more in Milwaukee then I am in Boston but I wanna make sure we get at least 30% out of this pre-flop action and that’s just the way the odds cookie crumbles.
Here is the breakdown of the units and the plays — including ROI based on what you plan to spend pre-flop.
*Odds provided by Vegas Insider.
Screen Recording 2023-04-11 at 12.55.52 AM
Sacramento +230 * 5 units
Any smart team that has basic control of what they do and the ability to exploit pick and rolls should be able to topple the Kings. The defense will crumble and Sabonis will have to expend energy while being in a disadvantaged position for rebounding and also dealing with foul issues — not to mention how it will test his mental toughness to be beat repeatedly. It will test Sacramento’s toughness to not have things come apart at the seams in that scenario. Everybody over helping and constantly pulling the ball out of the net.
They don’t have much experience, and for whatever the experience equation is worth they get Stephen Curry to pick things apart and a squad that just won it all to test all of these assumptions.
Sacramento is likely to blitz the pick and roll with Sabonis until they get torched by Kevon Looney or Draymond Green winning the four on three game, and Mike Brown would be wise to continue mixing these coverages as a part of the defensive roulette. He would also be wise to stay home on Klay Thompson and force Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins to beat them.
They need to hoping in Sacramento that Gary Payton is not healthy enough to play at his normal levels because athletic teams or defenders take away the easy offense available almost every night for De’Aaron Fox.
It’s baked into the equation that Sacramento is going to score. But unless the refs allow for clutching and grabbing that simultaneously allows Sabonis outlier recovery times in all of these actions — while also allowing Sacramento to slow down the split and off ball actions in the timing game — they’re going to need Golden State to fall apart a little bit as they have all season.
If I didn’t have exposure on Golden State eye would probably make this play for about 3 to 4 units if I wanted to be aggressive and I think it’s worth at least one or two units based on the market being much too low on Sacramento.
New York +180 * 2 units
While Jarrett Allen provides size he is the only Cleveland player that isn’t staring at a strength and athleticism disadvantage, and in that department New York certainly have him covered with Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hartenstein. Evan Mobley is very talented but his center of gravity is very high against two players in Julius Randle and RJ Barrett who are going to be able to push him around. The same goes for Jalen Brunson against Darius Garland. New York wins the depth contest almost anyway you slice it. If Cleveland wins here it’s because Donovan Mitchell went nuclear.
Clippers +390 * 1 unit
This is basically a Kawhi Leonard play and a Phoenix wearing name tags in the first round play at its core. Paul George is pretty duplicative so his absence, while very important, is priced too aggressively. There’s a lot of experience on the Los Angeles side and they are also playing with house money. Yes there are plenty of issues for them but one unit isn’t breaking the bank here and the price is right.
NET RESULTS: -2.4
Sacramento +750 * 5 units to win the West.
As mentioned in a few places they can punch with anybody in the West and might just flat out be the best team in the conference at this point. Memphis has issues, Phoenix has a number of different ways they can lose despite their big for being dominant at times, and then Denver makes you wonder if they are a cut above or right on par with the Sacramento squad. I certainly wouldn’t be eating the chalk in a theoretic series. We already have a massive position in Sacramento but the logic still applies… If you can build an argument for taking them straight up against any of these squads you definitely need to take this kind of plus money and after they beat Golden State there will be plenty of hedging opportunities, and will tackle that strategy as we get more information
NET RESULTS: ON SPREADSHEET
This update was big enough to justify another image showing the positions. We are basically extending the positions that we had entering the playoffs with some minor tweaks here and there.
BOS +275 * 20 units
MIL +400 * 20 units
GSW +950 * 9 units
DEN +950 * 3 units
I’m tempted to go heavier on Golden State because we are so protected with the Sacramento play and I like either of those teams to advance past either of Los Angeles or Memphis. I like both of these teams against Phoenix, though obviously that is the threat to our strategy here and they are definitely a heavy. We are getting a whole lot of profit on Denver … we cut into our position on Memphis, who increasingly looks like dead money … there’s nothing we can do to hurt our Sacramento position and we are actually adding there in the Western Conference bets you’ll see in a second here. Overall this was the last best chance to expand our positions as nothing has surprised us here early on and if anything all we have done is improved through the first round.
We used a similar script in the West where you can still get an absurd price on Sacramento … so we’re obligated to do it … but overall the belief that either of Golden State or Sacramento can get by in the next round and also do well against Phoenix is behind the continuation bets here.
Boston -155 (Fanduel) to win the East * 10 units
I could’ve gone with less units because we do really well if Boston wins but I didn’t want this play to be anything less than substantial. I just feel really good about the outcome likelihood. They match up well with all of the remaining teams and aside from a slow start against Philadelphia, which would pump up the number for Boston, it’s much more likely that the number doesn’t get much better than this … in all likelihood this is the high water mark. My quick thoughts to support all this is that Al Horford and Time Lord are as good as it’s gonna get versus Joel Embiid … the rest of the Boston squad can cover their Philadelphia counterparts and they can’t say the same thing. Boston will outclass the other side of the bracket even if those matchups aren’t just gimmes.
Denver +460 * 5 units (FD)
Phoenix +900 * 12 units (FD/Ceasars)
NY +3300 * 4 units (BetMGM)
Right off the top we are making our move on Phoenix at the last possible moment. Yes, you can wait for a theoretic 3–0 deficit but betting on them at that point is mostly fruitless. The other angle here is the Chris Paul situation and of course the biggest angle is that Denver is simply better than them. And that’s the other play here… We’re talking about the top team in the West by record up two games to zero and again, there’s the Chris Paul situation. Denver is on the verge of a tough Western Conference finals and then in the east it’s not like Boston has played well. Seems like a good time to get in on some additional units and it sets us up for 50+ units on Boston, Golden State and Denver. It’s also a good time to sprinkle some cash on New York and then between they and Phoenix we have covered enough ground to be able to hedge and not lose our shirts if the unthinkable happens. It seems pretty likely that New York takes game too so we can wait until that happens before trying to cover our position on Miami, and this is no small point. With Boston playing low IQ basketball and the first year coach we do need to be covering teams like Miami and New York because the gap in the east has gotten smaller. With Philadelphia taking a game, we also have to look at them but now is not the right time to make a play. Let’s wait until Boston at least evens the series up or we can look at taking on bad money if Philadelphia somehow takes both games in Boston. I’d rather wait and see at this point knowing I don’t really like them to win it all anyway.
Miami +2800 (Fanduel) * 4 units – NBA Title
I mostly just want to get a position here as I’m still a mostly iffy on their ability to win the whole thing but I don’t wanna wait to do that after they advance, theoretically.
Boston -130 (DK) * 2.6 units
Miami +950 (Caesars) * 1.5 units
New York +750 * 1.5 units
I figure I have enough going for me with Boston that in this configuration I can lose one unit while also getting an upside position of about 7 to 10 units for the other side of the bracket in this cluster of bets. Of course this fades Philadelphia which I have done to date, but it does so only at a risk of 5.6 units so I get to build some upside in for some of these underdogs and I like the risk part of the equation. We will be dealing with Philadelphia at some point soon and hopefully after Boston can take control of the series and bump the return up.
Things turned suddenly south for us a few days ago but then bounced back so it’s been a bit of a roller coaster lately. We are getting our last best chance is to protect against downside with Philly and Los Angeles but the opportunities here lie with Golden State, and to a much greater degree, Miami. Both, but talking directly about the latter, they can punch with anybody and the fact that they’re returning this much is an opportunity for us because they are very likely to advance and if we need to protect against the Philadelphia position we can use our position on Miami, which is now a big one, to protect against a Philadelphia championship.
We are really exposed if LeBron continues to make a run and after the Warriors took G5 and figured out the Anthony Davis perimeter liability, it gets more likely they’re going to go into Los Angeles and take that game and then bring it home in game seven. Still, it’s a pretty steep climb for Golden State and that actually gave us a chance to expand our position there a bit, but we’re going to have to fight the Los Angeles issue as we go here… No sense in liquidating all potential profit across the board with Boston, Denver and Golden State with so many teams on the board that have legitimate chances against them. It’ll be the same situation with Philadelphia if they continue to advance but after G6 it’s more palatable to simply say we will deal with that as we go, as well. We did get more aggressive backing Los Angeles in our Western Conference plays because we were able to more effectively liquidate our Golden State position while maintaining profit with Denver there, not to mention expanding our position on Denver knowing they have one series to go …they obviously pack enough punch to be happy about where we are at. If Los Angeles advances we can hedge pretty effectively to maintain a profit in that pool.
Also, in terms of fear for our susceptible positions, I’m much more afraid of LeBron James and a nice supporting cast then I am any team with James Harden on it.
GSW +1100 (DK) * 3 units
MIA +2000 (DK) * 10 units
PHI +850 (Caesars) * 3 units
LAL +500 (FD) * 10 units
DEN -135 (FD) * 18 units
LAL +200 (FD) * 20 units
The price for Miami vs. Boston is too good to pass up. I’m not sure we’ll be able to be profitable liquidating it if things start to turn in favor of Boston, but we have a big Miami position that we can leverage against Los Angeles as the only remaining threat on the board (and others).
Miami over Boston – Series +425 * 5 units
NET RESULTS: +21.25
I’m not really buying the Los Angeles adjustments and it’s not going to be a walk in the park, or who knows maybe it will be, but Denver just seems to outclass Los Angeles at every position except maybe LeBron and even then Aaron Gordon has a legit shot at outplaying him. I think Denver is playing like a team and yes they will have their head scratching moments but they have high-end talent, coaching, depth and everybody appears to be on the same page with roles. They are basically Miami with more talent. And that’s what we’re doing here is backing these two teams… I’m not completely out on the Celtics and I respect the threat Los Angeles is to my strategy but I think I can get better money on Boston if I want to shift and then at some point if Los Angeles surges back I’ll need to make some choices… But my hope is that there are better numbers as the series goes and then of course if Denver puts them in a stranglehold we may not have to take any action at all.
Denver +150 * 10 units – Chip
Miami +800 * 5 units – Chip
Miami over Boston – Series +180 * 2 units NET RESULTS: +3.6
Everything came up Milhouse with Miami being the better team as we thought they were in G2 so we have a bunch of different ways to expand our positions. Let’s give ourselves some predictive clearance to get ahead of ourselves, shall we? I’m actually more worried about the Lakers against Miami because Bam can cover AD but it’s gonna take Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin both getting beat quite a bit againbst LeBron just to keep that from hemorrhaging. OR and I would predict seeing this is Kevin Love getting a bunch of run against Anthony Davis and then you see Bam join Butler and Martin in some primary assignments. You will also see the Miami zone and they could also just rely on the luck of the draw with all of the switches, at least until some variables shake out. Against Denver they will be the true underdog regardless of what the odds are but as we have seen it’s just stupid to bet against Jimmy Butler. We have an amazing position here.
We’re gonna take a small bite on Lakers odds just to protect ourselves and of course if they keep winning for whatever reason we’re gonna have to cross the bridge of to protect or not protect against a big loss. The thought process here is asking them to win four games out of five I’m good with slow playing the protection here.
We’re gonna throw some protection at Boston while they conceivably have a chance as stranger things have happened but given our huge Miami position we can liquidate that down the line. I have them with less chance than the Lakers to advance, so we’re only gonna do a little bit here.
Now to make these numbers work we’re gonna have to throw another big bet at Denver but given the similar stranglehold that Miami has and our huge position with them, on the West side of the bracket we can more confidently wait and see if we can get some better odds on Denver — in the event that Los Angeles doesn’t want to go down 3–0. If that happens we will be able to very easily protect our LA risk if we want to or even just let it ride. So we’re gonna wait until the outcome of that game and then if Denver loses, we might get some thing like +130 or +150 and gain about 20 units simply by waiting. The way I look at it a Denver loss gives us 20 extra units with this strategy and it won’t necessarily change my stance of pro Denver and pro Miami …. and if Denver wins it will be 10 less units of profit compared to the number you see below. At the current rate of Denver -110 if they win at all we’re winning 50 units with a pending 30 unit bet. Losing 10 units if Denver wins still has us at a great position of 40 unit profit with a likely opponent of Miami sitting at 120 units profit.
I do throw 10 more units at Miami because the market is still ridiculously asleep on them to win it all and +450 allows us to expand our position there, which will give us flexibility down the road.
Lastly, I do throw a little protection at Los Angeles in the west section of this journal. Just five units and that takes a Denver win down to just 23 unit profit but with just a 23 unit loss if Los Angeles wins, there’s plenty of ways to get at that. This is just a small way to remove some downside.
Boston +350 * 5 Units
Miami +450 * 10 Units
LAL +800 * 10 Units
(SOON/PENDING) Denver (currently -110, waiting for G3 result) * 30 Units (bet strategy changed a bit, see below)
LAL +350 * 5 Units
There is a +3000 for the Lakers at Bovada so I’m going to grab that real quick for three units even though the Lakers are cooked. Three units to avoid a catastrophic loss at this stage of the game just seems silly to pass up, especially when we have all sorts of ways to win and win big right now. I’m going to wait and see if I can get something better than -175 for Denver on the 30 unit play that was discussed yesterday. I’m guessing that play will come before the end of Saturday night.
Lakers +3000 * 3 Units
Saturday Night Update:
Miami +500 * 20 Units
Boston +350 * 10 Units
PENDING/ESTIMATED (After G4) Denver -165 * 50 Units
I actually ended up deciding to hold off on the big Denver play because they’re being priced as if they advance and if they drop G4 we might catch an extra few units. We’re still coming back to make a big play of about 50 units, regardless. Then the other thing that grabbed me was Miami still getting +500 at FanDuel. I think Denver is the favorite but not by much in a series between these two and oh by the way Miami is leading two games to nothing heading home and Boston is loaded with issues. So we’re gonna make a pretty big move on Miami (and a not-nothing protection play on Boston) while the Heat number nowhere near reflects a team that needs just six more wins for a title.
Digging deeper into the strategy…the way I look at it we can always liquidate the big Miami position we’re expanding by betting both Denver and Boston at the same time if Boston starts winning. To game that out you’ll see in the updated spreadsheets that I’ve included some slots (BOS/DEN) for ‘what if Miami starts losing.’ I’m guessing if the series gets tied up at 2-2 that Boston might be in the ballpark of +190 to win the chip. Again, assuming Denver advances and for the purposes of these plays I am presuming a 99% chance of that happening …. Denver will have gained public momentum, Boston will have lost a lot of their favorite appeal even if they come roaring back. Somehow that computes to +190 for me lol.
In this hypothetical scenario, subsequent to this big Miami push we’ll make tonight … I’m making a 60 unit play on Boston at that price (projected Boston chip +190) …. and then I toss another 100 units on Denver at a similar price as right now (-165) … pretty much whenever until the east is settled… I can keep my only risk on the board (Boston) within a 20 unit loss and I have plenty of ammunition from Heat series/East bets (~35 units profit) to lean into that, as well.
As for now after these plays that we’re definitely making:
After we make the ~50 unit Denver play as we will after G4, and then if we don’t make another play after tonight’s 20-unit Miami championship bet (10 for Boston) … and then Denver and Miami advance …. We will be able to land between at least a 20 to 185-unit profit on our championship pool. A 20 unit, mitigable risk for all that upside in this given situation is amazing.
Boston loses in either game in Miami we will also have plenty of offramps. We also have profit from Denver in the West to carry into that end of the equation. The other thought I have about throwing 10 units on Boston right now is that though they might lose appeal against Denver … after being the favorite much of the playoffs… They’ve had staying power in the pricing against Miami and a win alone will turn their number the other direction pretty quick.
So we will be back on Monday night to see whatever we gained or lost by waiting on the Denver play and if we need to make any of these hypothetical plays. Time to finish strong!
Denver Chip -280 * 75 Units
We waited on the Denver play and it probably cost us 20 to 40 units but that’s OK. I’ve settled on a 75 unit play at -280 as it felt like the right mixture of downside protection while still reserving some chance of a higher upside scenario in the event Miami takes game one or better. A gamed it out and a game one win for Denver might look like this scenario below and I’ll say it right now I will be tempted to let a protection choice roll into Game 2, as my general sense about this series is that any team can win any game and it might be back-and-forth, creating plus money scenarios to choose from.
Denver Chip -210 * 50 Units
Miami Chip +390 * 10 Units
The numbers have suggested this the whole time but seeing the market fear Boston against Denver is pretty amazing. It feels like recent moves have been a bit inefficient on the catching the right number at the right time side of things, but hindsight and all that. A side benefit to the market’s Boston confidence is that we can get just a little bit more position on the Heat. It feels like if Boston wins in G5 that we can get a better number on Denver and then the longer we can hold out and get a chance at a early series win for Miami, the better chances we will have to tap into some of this upside. I already feel dirty about getting just 50 units return on 125 units spent to protect and expand the Denver position, but this was the cost of doing business a few moves ago and better safe than sorry.
What an amazing stretch of days for us here. We were getting the worst of all worlds as Denver got more affordable with each passing Boston win and our Miami position got threatened. Of course, Boston has lost themselves all season long and asking them to not do that over four straight games was a tough ask. So now if we do nothing the least we win on our NBA finals pool is 30 units on Denver. If we let it all ride and Miami wins we win about 150 units. There is no sense in hedging with Denver right now and yes if things get bad quick for Miami we might only end up adding another 10 to 20 units. So we will wait and see if Miami can take a game and get these numbers to be more friendly, and of course the hope would be an immediate G1 win for Miami so we can get a nice hedge with some upside if somehow Miami does the unthinkable twice in a row on the road.
Here is how all of that looks on the sheet:
We can also close out the books on the conference pools for just over 32 units gain. Miami also brought back just about 25 units on series plays that you can see bolded and in green above (+22.45 overall on series plays after –2.4 for 1st Round series plays).
This puts us at about 55 units profit before whatever happens in the NBA Finals pool.
Here are the conference pools that are finalized:
I sat on my side play of Miami +8 all the way till the end and with the Kevin Love move it just emboldened me to think that Miami was willing to cut to the chase and start playing existentially. Jimmy Butler was aggressive and throughout the first half he had that extra elevation you see when he’s good Jimmy, which makes me think the injury stuff is more real rather than less real. I’ve sat the sidelines trying to state definitively whether that’s the case because there are so many mental elements of his game that have overridden the physical aspect. He wasn’t perfectly aggressive but it was enough to pair extremely well with his teammates having what was pretty obviously going to be a regression in the right direction. The refs were a bit of a mess but they allowed a lot of physical play and once Miami got their confidence in the fourth quarter and Denver headed the opposite direction we got exactly what we needed with a Miami win in Denver.
I ran a bunch of scenarios and landed back on my original guess of just playing 23 units on Denver to bring our outcomes to 40 units if Denver wins and 125 units if Miami wins, which of course only reflects where we are right now. Basically, the money is still very bad on Denver and overall I’m still thinking in the ballpark of my original prediction that Denver wins in seven games (said on Koz and Bru Show, not here). It was a real rocky sees the blood on Drago moment but I’m going to be taking Denver on the G3 side both on merit and also because it’s very convenient in the scheme of this betting strategy. It’s still a case of Miami needing more pieces to be above baseline than Denver to win and I think as I mentioned in the WagerPass writeup before tonight’s game …. Denver was due for both of correction and also some humility.
The real question comes back to what we can actually win on Denver because I’m probably on the optimistic side for the case of the Miami Heat. Tonight’s result allowed us to jump from 30 to 40 and we can get to 50 units if Denver is -400 following a win in Miami in G3. 50 units is great. Along with the other 50 units we won throughout the playoffs that’s a 100 unit postseason. We would still have an 85 unit win if we didn’t mess with anything and Miami came back to win. So we finish somewhere between 50 and 85. I think the mixture is right given how bad the money is on Denver still. And we get a little bit more flexibility if Miami goes on a run here.
Denver -240 * 23 Units (Bovada)
You can see in the projected yellow item below for a Denver win that I was way off on what the pricing would be, which is currently around -800. That’s OK and we’re gonna sit G4 out because we can get better pricing if Miami wins and then if Denver wins and goes up 3–1, then we can start getting them on the money line for much better pricing. Either way we will be at the 50 unit floor we’ve been looking at and hopefully we can squeeze out more!
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