Betting in the Playoffs vs Regular Season: The Bettor’s Guide

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The switch from the regular season to the playoffs brings different factors for bettors to consider, especially as a Canadian. The betting tactics that worked in the regular season may have less importance, and every game in the playoffs is guaranteed to be important for both sides. Let’s have a look at some of the differences  for the NHL, MLB and NBA.


Sports Betting in Canada

In Canada, it is legal to bet on sports when that bet includes three or more teams. This is fine in the regular season, because there are usually multiple games in one day. You have a wider choice of which matches to bet on, and can even avoid some that you find a bit too dodgy for your liking. Even if there are only a couple of NHL games on that day, you can rely on making the accumulator up by adding some from the next day too. Playoffs, however, make this difficult at the later stages of the tournaments.

In the NHL, the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins are soon to be battling for the Stanley Cup. If ice hockey is your area of expertise, then you are limited by the laws of betting on this final strategically. When betting on match results, you would usually analyse the previous game. However to make up the accumulator you might be forced to bet a few games in advance, with the risk that anything could happen in the meantime.

Obviously, you can do more advanced bets in the playoffs with increased risk, or mix your sports. But if your expertise and heart lies with just one league, then you are left in a tricky position with the limited games. All competitions have to narrow down to two teams eventually, and no matter how exciting the playoffs are, sometimes you crave the big accumulators and freedom of choice.



The best-of-seven playoff format creates a familiarity between teams that may have only faced each other a few times in regular season. The 2015 MLB final brought together the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals for the first time that season. This brings new challenges because there are no head-to-head statistics to work from, or limited ones in the case of NBA and NHL. You can analyse the current team and player forms, the different styles of the teams and whether they have an edge, but even then the playoffs can bring an array of surprises.

After a few games of the playoffs, it gets easier and harder. The teams get to understand each others tactics and weaknesses, with a turnaround not out of reach. If you are watching each battle between the teams, you could find yourself one step ahead of the betting sites. Knowing that they are facing each other again, the vibes and feelings you get from certain players could convert in the next game, as the momentum is carrying on. In the regular season, players could get on a rally, however it is much harder to predict before the betting companies.

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Importance of Every Game

Each team in the MLB plays 162 games in the season. The 2015 winners of the World Series were the Kansas City Royals, however at the end of the regular season they finished with a .586 win percentage. The highest win percentage that season was the St. Louis Cardinals with .617. The NBA and NHL have stronger numbers. The Golden State Warriors boast a .890 win percentage this season losing only nine games, and the NHL’s Washington Capitals only lost 18 out of 82 of their matches. Even taking the top performers of each league, it proves that the underdog can win in regular season. There are times when the lower teams are triumphant, and you can bag great odds if you call those moments right.

In the playoffs, every win is crucial. Teams that make the playoffs are dangerous. The weaker sides have been removed, and the playoff contenders have all reached that stage for a reason. The intensity increases, the coaches have to be able to adapt their tactics, and the players get more intimate. You can still get some good odds if you read it right, but you’re unlikely to find outstanding match result odds.

The more balanced playing field that the playoffs create also makes handicap betting harder. As an underdog can sometimes beat the top-dog, the better teams can more often than not obliterate the opposition, bringing large handicaps into play. The regular season has the advantage here, as you can push for the bigger gap and the better odds that are less likely to occur in the playoffs.

The key to playoffs versus regular season all depends on what type of bettor you are. If you understand your sport well and watch every game of the series, then although the playoffs bring new challenges, you are able to spot them. If you like large, quick accumulators with clearer statistics to analyse, then you can’t beat the regular season.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, Can the Toronto Raptors win the 2016 NBA title?

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