It’s never too early or late to prepare for the playoffs. Like preparing for a marathon, it’s best to put ourselves into the best possible condition we can as we make a season ending dash for the cash.

With help from our trusted database, let’s examine four time-tested proven theories that have lined our pocket during the opening round of playoffs since 1991. Here’s what the machine has to say…

NO. 8 SEEDS ARE BEHIND THE 8-BALL

For the most part, No. 8 seeds in the NBA playoffs are teams that likely scratched and clawed their way into the post-season. Not good enough to be seriously considered threats against top-seeded opponents but just barely better than the dregs of the league.



Rest assured, their life expectancy is not long at all, as they’ve lost nearly 75% of time (33-95 SU) in games against No. 1 seeds since 1996. In fact, only the 1996 New York Knicks and the 2007 Golden State Warriors were good enough to pull the rug on top seeded foes and advance to Round Two of the playoff.

Worse, they are 6-29 SU and 10-22-3 ATS in the post-season with a losing record in opening round games, including 3-11-1 ATS when taking double digits.

And you can virtually write them off in games against No. 1 seeds that are off back-to-back SU and ATS wins. These guys scratch out of the match with alarming regularity, going 2-22 SU and 6-18 ATS, including 0-14 SU and 1-13 ATS whenever the 8-ballers are off a spread loss of more than five points in their last game.

UPSET LOSERS ARE WINNERS

No, it’s not an oxymoron. Instead, it’s a powerful handicapping edge. It occurs whenever a team was upset as a favorite in an opening round game and is at home in the game immediately thereafter.

That’s confirmed by the fact that they are 46-28-2 ATS, a rock solid number. If they were upset at home in this round and return home they improve to 34-19-2 ATS, including 24-10-1 ATS if off a loss of 5 or more points – and 15-3-2 ATS when laying five or more points in this role.

Don’t be afraid of these chalkbusters. That’s because they don’t lose their composure. Instead they almost always elect to dig down deep and respond with aplomb in games after being embarrassed.

DOUBLE DIGIT DOGMA

Surprisingly, in the right role, double-digit underdogs do well in opening round contests, especially when playing off a playoff loss. These overweight puppies are 25-14-1 ATS in this role, including 21-9-1 ATS if they took 8 or more points the previous game.

These same guys are also 17-6 ATS off a playoff loss when taking double digits from a non-division foe, including 15-3 ATS against sub .795 opponents.

Granted, these dogs are not exactly pedigree puppies but the fact of the matter is they tend to come up big against disinterested favorites not capable of chopping heavy lumber.

AND DOWN GOES FRAZIER

The psyche of teams that are not playing well comes immediately to the surface during the opening round of the NBA playoffs. That’s evidenced by the fact that teams riding a three game-exact loss skein are one punch away from being counted out.

With glass-like jaws, these swirling teams are just 4-25 SU and 6-23 ATS away from home. They are also 13-31-2 ATS as dogs on their way to the canvas.

Worst of all, road dogs of more than six points on a three game exact losing skid are 2-18 SU and 3-17 ATS. Last year Detroit was counted out at Cleveland, as well as New Orleans at Denver.

Enjoy the opening round of the 2010 NBA playoffs. I’ll be back soon with additional insight on Round Two.