Some handicappers have success betting points spreads in the NBA, but many bettors have a tough time trying to consistently beat the bookmakers. Sportsbooks spend a lot of time setting and perfecting their NBA point spread odds, moneyline odds and game totals, but they don’t spend as much time on more obscure markets. One market that has gained popularity in the NBA is betting on single quarters or halves.
Online sportsbooks allow bettors to wager on every quarter of an NBA game (1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th) plus each half (1st & 2nd). If you’re confused about how these types of bets work I’ll explain them quickly. Each bet is separate and starts at 0-0. If one team has a big lead built up in the 1st half it’s irrelevant when you’re betting on the 2nd half or 3rd quarter.
Let’s say you bet on the Lakers vs. Raptors 2nd half point spread. You bet on the Lakers -3.5 at -110 odds and the score is 55-40 for LA. If you bet on the Lakers 2nd half at -3.5 it means they need to win the 2nd half by 4+ points. In order to win the 2nd half by 4 or more points the Lakers would need to win the game by 19 (15+4) points because of their 1st half lead. Some new bettors think that the Lakers only need to win the game by -3.5 when betting 2nd half spreads, but that’s not the case.
When you bet on NBA halves or NBA quarters there are a few different types of bets you can place. You can bet on the point spread, moneyline or point total at leading NBA sportsbooks. Most sportsbooks offer $.20 lines on point totals and spreads on these types of bets. You won’t be able to bet on reduced juice for most of these bets except for the 1st half and 1st quarter.
Tips for Betting NBA Halves & Quarters
• The obvious benefit of betting late into an NBA game (2nd half, 3rd Quarter or 4th Quarter) is that you get to watch the basketball game and how both teams are playing. It’s difficult to predict how a team will come out on a night to night basis, but if you watch enough NBA you can tell when a team has their “stuff” or not.
• Another benefit of betting the 2nd half or the last two quarters of an NBA game is that you can often find great middle opportunities. Let’s say you bet on the Lakers -9 +105 pre-game and its 75-55 heading into the 4th quarter. The spread for the 4th quarter might be -2.5 for the Lakers in the 4th quarter. You can bet on the other team at +2.5 -105 and if the Lakers win by 10-22 points you’ll win both bets.
• Betting the 1st half or 1st quarter of a basketball game is ideal when you notice a team comes out on fire/cold in the early stages of games. This strategy tends to work better with the 1st quarter only. Some teams simply struggle in the 1st quarter to get going whereas other teams come out and try building up leads before the bench comes on. Not many bettors follow 1st half or 1st quarter trends, so finding value on teams isn’t that difficult once you have the data.
• The betting limits are lower for these types of bets in the NBA at every sportsbook, but you can still get down enough money to make it well worth your time. The lines are often softer as well because the sportsbooks have to rush to get betting lines up for the 2nd half in the NBA. With so many games being played on a nightly basis the sportsbooks leave themselves open to sharps that can find value.
• If you plan on betting 2nd half point spreads or totals I want to give you some tips. While watching the game make sure you pay attention to any injuries and any players that are in foul trouble. When a player gets into foul trouble their minutes will often be limited and that could have a major role on the over/under and point spread. You also want to look at the pace of the game and how many free throws each time are getting if you’re betting totals.
• You should also consider public perception when betting on the 2nd half in the NBA. More bettors are betting the 2nd half and that’s caused the lines to be shaded towards where the public is leaning. Betting the opposite of these bad lines is often profitable throughout the NBA season. Let’s say the Lakers were -8 before their game and at halftime their down by 10 points. If the bookie comes out with a -8 point spread most of the public is going to hammer them without even thinking about what happened in the 1st half. This is usually a good time to take the underdog.