Marc Lawrence

Marc Lawrence has authored thousands of articles expounding on the three primary forms of sports handicapping: Fundamental, Statistical and Technical. To be a successful handicapper, blending all three forms of analysis into the handicapping equation. Marc relies heavily on a proprietary powerful database of scores, stats and results of games played since 1980, both College and Pro Football and College and Pro Basketball.

Marc has been handicapping sports professionally since 1975, having won more documented Top 10 Handicapping Achievement awards than any handicapper in the nation. He won the 2005 STARDUST FOOTBALL INVITATIONAL Contest and was a SEMI-FINALIST in the 2006 $100,000 LEROYS' MONEY TALKS Contest last season. He finished the 2006 season as the No. 1 handicapper in the NFL as documented by SPORTS WATCH in Las Vegas. Marc also finished No. 1 in the nation in College Football win percentage in 2005 as documented by both the SPORTS MONITOR in Oklahoma and SPORTS WATCH in Las Vegas. He was named HANDICAPPER OF THE YEAR in 2005 by FOOTBALL NEWS.

In 2008, he finished No. 1 in NFL win percentage according to SPORTS WATCH and also captured 1st place honors in the 2008 PLAYBOOK WISE GUYS CONTEST.

Marc has hosted a national radio show "MARC LAWRENCE AGAINST THE SPREAD" for each of the last 16 years on over 100 stations syndicated in the USA. He is a tireless handicapper who works a minimum 60-hour week during the football and basketball seasons. As a handicapper he firmly believes that three things can happen when you bet an underdog, and two of them are good. He enjoys helping others to become better informed.

Marc married his high school sweetheart 40 years ago and has one son, Marc Jr., who works with him in the industry. Aside from publishing the PLAYBOOK Football Yearbook magazine and Weekly Newsletters, Marc enjoys golf and horse racing.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

NBA PLAYOFF PRIMER Opening Round Betting Strategies

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…


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.


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.


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.


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.

Written by Marc Lawrence

Marc Lawrence can also be found at - One Click Handicapping
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