2021’s NBA playoffs is fast turning out to be a game-changer. This year’s edition has seen changes to the usual format; allowing teams placed eighth to tenth in each conference to have a chance in the playoffs. The NBA Board of Governors approved this in place of the previous format, which only recognized the top seven teams in each conference. This article by Mightytips’ basketball expert Evelyn Balyton ushers you into the fascinating world of NBA online betting.
Before 2021, NBA teams qualified for the playoffs via a win-loss ranking, with the top seven sides, since 2007, qualifying for a best-of-seven route to the final. Teams in each conference were seeded against one another, with the Conference Champion earning a berth in the NBA Finals. This meant a team could rank first in the regular season yet fail to emerge as the Conference Champion. However, such a team will be given the Division title and rank and the best conference record for the season.
The New NBA Playoffs’ Format
In 2021’s NBA playoffs, the new format saw teams ranked seventh and eighth battle to emerge as the playoff’s seventh seed. The ninth and tenth-placed teams also face each other, with the winner playing whoever loses between the seventh and eighth sides. Whoever emerges in this last match joins the other seven teams in the playoffs, with the regular NBA playoffs best-of-seven series format resuming from then on. This round of games is called a ‘play-in tournament and is the first of its kind since 1949 – when the NBA playoffs were introduced.
To advance to the next round of the Playoffs, a team had to win at least four games. As a result, teams don’t have to play all seven games of the series. Instead, a team may qualify by winning the tie “4-0”, “4-1”, “4-2”, or “4-3”, whichever comes first. This year’s playoffs began in May and will end with the NBA Finals in July. The timestamp allows players to get enough rest and gives fans a huge thrill during the offseason.
All New Everything In The Finals?
The play-in tournament isn’t the only new thing about the NBA Playoffs. While the bubble camp for regular-season games was innovative, the playoffs have brought more fun, upsets, and excitement. Some of the notable novel things we have witnessed in the 2021 NBA Playoffs include the following.
- The 2021 NBA Finals is the first in a decade without either or LeBron James and Steph Curry. Since 2010, both men had consistently featured in the Playoff rounds and even finals. LeBron James featured in all but one of the NBA Finals between 2011 and 2020, missing out only in 2019, while Curry appeared in all Playoffs between 2015 and 2020. These two greats also played each other consecutively between 2015 and 2018, highlighting their dominance in the tournament.
- The 2021 NBA Finals are also the first finals without Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, Shaq, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Steph Curry. Before now, at least one of these six players played in each year’s Playoffs, perhaps hinting at a change in the old guard.
- Lastly, this year’s tournament is the first since 1995 without the Golden State Warriors, Lakers, Miami Heat, Spurs, or the Chicago Bulls. These five teams have been among the best each year for twenty-six years. However, they seem to have fallen off this season.
The new format seems to have ushered a breath of fresh air as many big names suffered upsets at the preliminary stages. For example, 2020 NBA Finals champion, LA Lakers, lost (4-2) to the Phoenix Suns in the First round, while Miami Heat which finished second last year, lost (4-0) to the Milwaukee Bucks. However, as this is new ground for several teams, Filipino NBA fans can look forward to an intensive and thrilling run of games to the Final in July. Currently, we are in the Conference Semifinal stage, with eight teams left in the competition. This increased run of games and exclusion of the old guard is sure to leave Filipino punters spoilt for options on NBA online betting platforms.
One of the advantages basketball punters have over other sports is the variety of options. For example, you may wager on the total points to be scored in each game by studying the PPG of either team and their players. You can also bet on the points scored for each quarter, half, or player. Another advantage of betting on the NBA Playoffs is that each team faces each other at least four times in a single round. Going by these, you can study factors like the impact of playing at home, points average, and quickly spot which team has more momentum.
However, punters should exercise caution on NBA online betting platforms to ensure they are genuine and licensed to operate in the Philippines. This can be done by reading Mightytips’ reviews of basketball betting sites and other tips for making successful online bets.