After losing to the Golden State Warriors in last year's NBA Finals, Boston kicked off the first series of the 2022-23 post-season with a no-sweat win/cover Sunday over Atlanta (the Hawks were knocked off in the first round of last season's playoff action). This victory marked the fourth straight win and cover for the Celtics. For game two, boys of Beantown are currently giving 10.5 to the Hawks. Our read of history says lay the chalk and back the defending Eastern Conference champs for the ATS win Tuesday.
The angle indicated in the above graphic has delivered a 20% return on investment since 2005-06, which has proven statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. Further, this system is an unblemished 2-0 so far in the current season.
Explaining the success of this approach, we think "playoff mode" is really a thing, and that win streaks coming into the post-season indicate both an appreciation of the higher level of intensity required to make serious post-season runs and the ability to rise to the occasion (we hypothesize that recent playoff experience acclimates teams to the increased level of competition post-season action entails). Facing opposition that has likewise participated in the prior playoffs elicits an even higher degree of focus, we suppose. Once better (i.e. favored) teams work up a playoff-caliber lather, they tend to rack up SU/ATS wins.
Heading into game two of the Hawks Celtics series, backing teams in this position is 2-0 versus the number this year.