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NBA Elimination Game Totals: 2021 Playoffs


CTG Big Brother Moderator
Staff member
Playoff basketball brings the the table sudden-death basketball, which is a scenario perfect for the manifestation of Under results - tight players executing deliberate plays isn't the ground upon which liberal scoring is made.

*An elimination game is when at least 1 team faces an end to their post season should they lose the game concerned straight-up.


Since keeping records (based on opening lines) starting with the 03-04 post season, the stats I've accumulated for all Elimination games total results are as follows
(please note: due to the fact last season's playoff games all took place at a single venue which thereby eliminated home court advantage and thus the effect such would otherwise normally exert on the totals outcome of any given elimination game, I have excluded those results from the data base that follows below)...


All Elimination Games: U/O 179-140-5

Elimination Games being game 4 or 5 of a Series: U/O 76-78-2
Elimination Games being game 6 or 7 of a Series: U/O 103-62-3

1st Round of playoffs

All Elimination Games: U/O 102-73-2

Elimination Games being game 4 or 5 of a Series: U/O 53-42-1
Elimination Games being game 6 or 7 of a Series: U/O 49-31-1

2nd Round & onwards of playoffs

All Elimination Games: U/O 77-67-3

Elimination Games being game 4 or 5 of a Series: U/O 23-36-1
Elimination Games being game 6 or 7 of a Series: U/O 54-31-2

Clearly the prime spots to take Unders are in a game 6 or 7 taking place during the 2nd round or beyond (a losing rate of only 35.63%), a time when both teams already have a series win under their belts and have both won at least 2 games in the current series.

The results below will only be integrated with the results noted above at the end of the current post season.

20-21 Elimination game results

Round 1

MIL@MIA - Game 4: Over
PHI@WAS - Game 4: Over
BOS@BKN - Game 5: Over
WAS@PHI - Game 5: Over
ATL@NYK - Game 5: Under
MEM@UTH - Game 5: Over
DEN@POR - Game 6: Over
PHX @LAL - Game 6: Over
LAC@DAL - Game 6: Under
DAL@LAC - Game 7: Over

Round 2

PHX@DEN - Game 4: Over
BKN@MIL - Game 6: Under
PHI@ATL - Game 6: Under
UTH@LAC - Game 6: Over
MIL@BKN - Game 7:
ATL@PHI - Game 7:

Round 3


Round 4

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CTG Big Brother Moderator
Staff member
Thx for the post BetCrimes. So if I am understanding this correctly, you would take the under on the Phi/Was game tonight?
Sorry I wasn't around to reply, but game 4's & 5's in Round 1 are pretty much consider the Over first spots these days. Obviously the pool of historical stats posted above include playoffs from pre-rule changes that have made for a more-offensively aligned NBA. Now obv. the totals lines adjusted with that and the deeper elimination games have pretty much held to their Under-bias despite said changes (teams still play more deliberate/"scared") deep in tight series, but if those rule changes have had any major effect, it's for elim games that come in a series being dominated by the one team (thus are game 4's or 5's, where one team is up 3-0/3-1).

My view is the real Under spots come in a game 6 or 7 when the previous game went Over (the greater the sequence of Overs headed into such games the better) = that means the public has been conditioned to expect one result from the teams concerned/have been given no reason to expect anything different, headed into a classic scoring slowdown spot that isn't otherwise the common knowledge it should be. A game 4 or 5 means one team knows pretty much their season is done, how do they want to play it? Do they fight (put energy into defense) or do they internally say 'fuck it' and just play street ball being happy to score in what they've conceded to be their last game of the season. Obviously one of those mindsets makes for better Under conditions than the other. There's also teams' season match-up factor (some teams styles just make for lower or higher scoring encounters when they come together), and of course real rivalries mean some teams will never go down without an effort simply because of who their opponent is. I went off NBA totals when the rules changed and the totals bloated, but I post these stats because as a general rule this Under spot has held true despite said changes. Final word, it's still a prerequisite to do the leg work and get the deeper stats to find out whether they support or act as inertia to these elim Under spots. If they support = up your bet size. If they don't = hold off betting or reduce your bet size. But game's 4 & 5 these days? Unless a welter of the deeper stats say/support Under, my attitude would be look at Over first or pass (primarily because of the rule changes).
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CTG Big Brother Moderator
Staff member
Curious do you happen to have the stats for maybe just the past 7-8 years? Thank you for all you do bud!
Here's the last 7 years (remembering I've ignored last year's results because of covid-enforced realities) ...



Well-Known Member

do you factor in the faster pace and more 3 point shooting in the league now compared to previous years?

it seems like it’s more of bad shooting nights by teams than good defense overall

both The Bricks N the Fakers are out already, these 2 teams have more Unders during regular season.


CTG Big Brother Moderator
Staff member
I think at this point (with the rules changes having been in effect for awhile) the lines have adjusted to account for any increased pace/3 point bias. And bad shooting is part of the deal with these bets: tight players knowing it's all on the line. Inability to trust in their own games and let go of what the occasion means = shitty shooting nights.


CTG Big Brother Moderator
Staff member
Is this clip/dal a game to unload on the under?
Prefacing this with the acknowledgement I post with the natural benefit of hindsight, but I do so because I relate some long learned angles that some newer bettors may not know/realise and may take something from:

I wasn't around to answer that quoted query when required, but my policy for the situation where you're asking for repeat Elim-Unders in the same series (whatever the sequence of games: 4/5 5/6 6/7, and of course the LA/DAL game 6 had already gone Under) is only to take the Under again the two teams concerned are not on an Under streak (that being, by my definition, more than consecutive totals results: LAC/DAL had paid out 3 straight Unders before game 7) unless the trends are so strong as to be unable to ignore it. It may sound counterintuitive, but the worst time to take an Elim-Under IMO is when a streak of results have conditioned bettors to fear playing the opposite result (hence in the LA/DAL series the conditioned mindset for game 7 was that "the safe total" to play - off 3 straight Unders having paid out - was the Under). I've always been hesitant to take bets which are the obvious "safe" bets. Also a couple more general trends that didn't counter the Under play in game 6 but did in game 7:

(1) The superior team, LA was on the road for game 6 but at home for game 7. The former scenario for me is a far more attractive proposition to play an Under in than when the superior team is at home. I generally expect superior teams to get their points at home (so if I do like the Under in that situation, I'm expecting either an upset - if the home team's denied their points, it's because the road team has shown up SU/ATS wise by denying the home team their pts - or more readily the home team hammer and thus a disjointed scoreline leads to a dead contest = your classic blowout Under result, and of course if you expect that then ATS is really the way to go, because if you're wrong you can still cover ATS with the road team getting theirs on the scoreboard). So if I was thinking about the total for that game 7, I'd have first asked myself this: who wins? Picking LA means expecting LA to get their HC points = bad for Under. Would I have chosen Dallas to turn up? I realise I have the benefit of hindsight, but frankly if Dallas were to win that series, they'd have done it at home in game 6. The fact they failed to, esp. after leading after 3 quarters, said they were their for the taking in game 7. The only question to ask then was, would/could LA win in a blowout (get theirs while denying Dallas enough to get the Under to pay out). That's countered for me by the 3 Unders headed into game 7 sequence, and....

(2) The road team never scored less than 100 pts in the prior 6 games headed into game 7 (Dallas was the road team for game 7) & LA never scored less than 100 pt in any game prior to game 7. Those two series-long trends (and at 6 games, they're trends worth considering even if only a tiny amount of games by normal reg. season trend length standards) set an expectation both teams were likely to top 100 pts for game 7: it's very hard to get an Under 211.5 when both teams are expected to top 100 pts. Needless to say, these two trends held solid for game 7.

An Elim Under bet for me is always always about having a strong expectation that the loser will not score 100 pts. The only other opening line Under to pay out thus far these playoffs saw the loser score 89 pts for a 207.5 game opening line. Every single elim game that's paid on the Over has seen the loser top 100 pts. Unless the total is lined is something stupid (220+ and the ATS line is 6.5 or less which telegraphs the fact that both teams are expected to get their share, which means there's scope to win with an Under bet when both teams top 100 pts), that's pretty much a baseline expectation I must have to back an elim Under (which is not to say that expectation cannot exist for a game lined 220+, just FTR). Ideally I'm looking for trends that back the proposition that neither team tops a ton, but baseline minimum the expectation must be good that whoever you pick to lose is gonna fail to hit 3 digits. Better teams at home fresh off avoiding a season ending defeat? That's too much adrenaline not to expect them to get theirs (unless we're back in the old school days of an Indiana vs Detroit match-up, when a game topping 170 pts was all but a miracle. NBA rule changes have killed that ever returning). From there, expecting LA to score means only a blowout win delivers the Under, and that expectation is countered by the fact that Dallas had never failed to top 100 pts in 3 previous games in LA.

The venue matters for elim games as does ATS expectations, that's why doing the leg work for all the other factors inputting into the final total outcome is necessary.
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