In sports betting on the NHL and NBA playoffs quirks of scheduling and series that run long means that teams can have short layoffs between one series and the next. They could endure a grueling seven game series only to have to start the next with just a day of rest. A transition like that isn’t easy on a team because of the challenges of moving on from the emotional and physical toll a long series can extract. When a team starts their next series, then, sports handicappers need to be able to assess what impact that last series had and how the team is likely to perform off a short break as a result. Here are seven questions to help sports bettors determine what could happen and make winning picks:
How short is the break between series? – If you’re an avid sports bettor, it probably goes without saying, but the shorter the break between series, the more of an impact it can have on the team. If a team has a few days to recover then a long series isn’t going to be an issue, but if they have to bounce back and refocus after just one day of rest that can be extremely hard – especially if the series ended in a very tough, emotional way.
How different are the styles between two opponents? – When one series ends and the next one starts a team has to adjust between the playing styles of the two opponents. If the teams play reasonably similar styles and don’t offer significant matchup problems then that may not be too much of an issue. If the new opponent is very different than the other, though – like if one is wildly offensive and the other plays relentless defense – then it could be hard for the team to adjust and gameplan in the short time they have, and they could be unprepared for the matchup presented to them in the first game. This can especially be a problem heading into the second round of the NHL playoffs – since teams are reseeded after the first round there are often multiple potential opponents in the second round right up until the last minute, so you can’t even effectively have an assistant coach preparing for an opponent in advance.
How much of a toll did the last series take out of them? – Smart sports handicappers know that if a series went seven games it took a big physical and mental toll no matter what. In some cases, though, that impact can be bigger than others. For example, if the last game was an overtime game it could be harder to bounce back from. If a team narrowly escaped after blowing a bg series lead then they could be emotionally exhausted and lacking intensity when the next series starts. If they were the team that fought back from a big deficit, though, then they could be riding a wave of momentum and confidence.
Is travel an issue? – The league schedules playoff series before they know what teams will be involved. That means that teams can face some crazy travel that they have to deal with along with coping with the end of one series and the quick transition into the next. That’s just one more factor that can weigh on a team in the series opener and that the sports handicapper must take into consideration. The impact can be particularly rough on a team if they not only have to face significant travel, but if they go from one road game to the next without being able to go home in between.
How long has the opponent been off for? – The impact of a short turnaround can be particularly strong when the opponent comes into the series well rested after a nice break and a comparatively easy earlier round. If that opponent has been off too long, though, then they could be impacted by some rust that could offset their advantage.
Will their style of play be impacted by being more tired? – Sports bettors recognize that some teams are much more suited to playing while tired than others. If a team plays a particularly uptempo, high speed game then exhaustion can have a big impact. If they prefer to be much slower and more deliberate and set the tone and control the flow of the game, though, then it may not be as much of an issue. The style of the opponent can have a impact here as well – especially if the opponent is likely to be able to set the tone of the game.
What’s the schedule for the rest of the series like? – Sports handicappers need to understand that a team can deal with short term exhaustion more effectively if they know that relief is in sight. Sometimes a series has to start quickly because of scheduling issues in the host building or TV issues. In those cases the series will often have a more significant break later on. Even a single extra day of rest can make a difference to a team, and if they have that to look forward to reasonably early in the series then they are more likely to be able to play through the pain in the short term.