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NBA Playoffs
April 19, 2007

Today's Top 10 List:

1. San Antonio 23-4
2. Dallas 20-4
3. Phoenix 22-6
4. Chicago 20-8
5. Detroit 19-8
6. Toronto 18-9
7. Houston 19-10
7. Cleveland 19-10
9. Miami 18-10
10.Philadelphia 18-11

Can you guess what this list represents? Yes, it's the 10 best post All-Star SU records.

Here's a more valuable Top 10

1. Philadelphia
2. San Antonio
3. Chicago
4. Golden State
5. Miami
6. Toronto
7. New Jersey
8. Charlotte
9. Boston

This list comes from my ranking of the percentage change in each teams pre vs. post All-Star records (I ignore games in which "locked-in" seeds rest multiple starters in both these lists). While bettors are looking to play on "hot" teams, note most teams that make the playoffs already have pretty decent records in the season's second segment. The Sixers are the only non-playoff team in the top 10 and the playoff team with the worst record is Washington at 12-20 which is still #20.

I often find hidden value by using my "pre vs. post" ranking. Unfortunately, this year we have three series between teams both in the top 10; SA/Den, Chi/Mia and NJ/Tor. I do have three "play against" teams though. They are the Lakers, Jazz and Wiz who rank #26, 27 and 28 respectively.

As an aside, these rankings can also give you a heads-up on next year. We might look for the Sixers, Bobcats and Celts to be under-valued coming out of the gate. Meanwhile, I'll be looking for some major off-season moves in Minnesota and Indiana who finished #29 and 30.

To get a spreadsheet with the full rankings, send an email to:

What about each specific series?

New Jersey/Toronto
: A match-up of two hot teams, one with a lot of playoff experience vs. another with very little. Both have identical 17-24 road records, the Raps are 6G better @ H. There is also a significant "IQ" mis-match: #25 vs. 4 @ ACC and #8 vs. 29 in Jersey. "IQ" is stat I keep which is (Turnovers created + Steals)/(Turnovers + Opponent's Steals); the numbers are the team's league ranking. It measures how well a team takes care of the ball.

Miami/Chicago: Another match-up of hot teams. Quite impressive that the Heat were able to post most of their improvement without Wade. The Bulls took Miami to 6 games last year and now have Big Ben to defend Shaq. The fact they gagged their chance to make this series a possible Conference Final makes me wonder that they're still not ready for the big time. Both are committed to playing "D" with points allowed rankings of #2 vs 1 in Chi. and 5 @ 3 in Mia.

Orlando/Detroit: Looks grim for the Magic. The Pistons have my #1 road D and ought to take advantage of their opponent's very low IQ (26 away, 27 home). Oddly, the Pistons missing Ben @ H where they have the league's #29 Off. and #30 Def. rebounding percentages. Perhaps that explains fact they're 1G better on road than home.

Utah/Houston: As noted above, Jazz skidded in with a 15-14 post All-Star record that led to a #27 ranking. Rockets formidable with Mac and Ming. They better smarten up @ H; #28 IQ. Another team where site doesn't seem to matter (28-13 H, 24-17 A).

Washington/Cleveland: Doubt anyone, including the lines-maker giving the Wiz much chance.

LA Lakers/Phoenix: Last year's nail-biting series win should keep Phoenix focused. Lakers have my #23 ranked road and #26 home D's. Not good now that Sun's firepower includes a healthy Stoudemire.

Denver/San Antonio: Nuggets improved, but D wins championships. It's #30 vs 4 in SA and 3 vs 21 in Mile High. Note that in probable Suns-Spurs 2nd-rounder, SA has W 15 of L19 in series.

Golden State/Dallas: Another series edge - even excluding this week's game it's 5 of L6 to... the Warriors! Bombs away for them as they launch the most 3's both away and home and have my #11 and #2 3's percentages. Combine that with their #2 IQ (both A and H), a 31-10 H record and probably some big lines and they are certainly worth at least an ATS look.

Finally, a few noteworthy season-ending streaks (again, I throw out "locked-in" non-starters type games):

Denver 5 Overs
Detroit L L5 ATS @ H
Golden State 5 Overs overall and 6 Overs @ H
Houston L L5 ATS @ H, W L5 SU away
Miami L L5 ATS
Phoenix W L7 SU @ H
San Antonio W L9 SU @H
Washington Under L6

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