There are so many different NBA betting tips that we could share with bettors, but we’ve come up with a list of the top ten NBA betting tips below. Each of the tips should be utilized when handicapping basketball games if you expect to become a long-term profitable handicapper in this sport.
• #1 – Analyze & Understand the NBA Schedule
This season (2011-12) was shortened due to the NBA lockout and analyzing the NBA schedule was more important than ever, but at the same time it’s vital to analyze the schedule every season. Teams travel a lot in the NBA and they also play a lot of games without rest. You should realize that teams playing B2B games or multiple games in a short period of time are going to be tired and therefore may not perform up to their abilities.
• #2 – Does Home Court Matter in the NBA?
In the NBA home court advantage is huge and much more important than in most major sports. If you look at this past regular season (2011-12) 22 out of 30 teams had a .500 or better record at home. Even mediocre teams have a better record at home than on the road in the majority of cases. The problem with betting the best teams when they’re at home is that the odds are huge and great teams usually have big point spreads to cover. I tend to focus on mediocre or streaking teams when looking for value on teams playing on their home court.
• #3 – Be Aware of Important Changes Immediately
Teams change constantly in the NBA during the off-season and during the season. Staying up to date on the latest news in the NBA will only take a few minutes daily. You need to know of every injury, line-up change, trade and you even need to make sure you know of every coaching change. Coaches play a bigger role in the NBA than most sports, especially if you bet on totals.
• #4 – Don’t Bet Parlays
Parlays are fun and in some sports it can be profitable, but not if you’re betting point spreads or totals. The true odds on parlays are higher than the actual payout odds, which makes parlays –EV bets. Simply bet on the games that you feel have the best chance of winning after handicapping the games. You should also limit your bets in the NBA and only place a bet if you feel you’re getting a +EV betting line. Don’t pass up value to limit your bets, but keep in mind if you feel you’re getting value on too many games something is probably wrong with your analysis.
• #5 – Stats, Stats & Stats
When handicapping NBA games stats are your best friend. Don’t look at useless trends all day long to formulate your bets for the night because you’ll lose. The best way to win consistently in the NBA is by using stats to come up with your own betting lines. There are tons of stats to consider, which we go into more detail about in our APBRmetrics article, but the more stats you track/compare the better off you’ll be. You don’t need to track every stat like certain handicappers, but tracking the main team/player offensive/defensive stats is imperative.
• #6 – Pace, Efficiency & Turnovers in the NBA
A few of the most important stats that every NBA handicapper needs to learn include pace, efficiency and the rate team’s turnover the ball. These three stats go a long way in predicting how a game will be played on the court and by using these three stats you’ll be able to find lots of value. Turnovers are very important in the NBA, as most of the time turnovers lead to uncontested fast break points, which are a killer for any team.
• #7 Key Numbers in the NBA
In baseball key numbers are very important, but in NBA they aren’t quite as important. However, in the NBA the key numbers are 2 and 7. When sportsbooks set spreads near these two key numbers you won’t see movement on the line unless there is extremely aggressive sharp action on one side. Pay attention to line moves around these key numbers to help determine where the sharp money is being bet on certain games.
• #8 – Weigh Momentum + Motivation in the NBA
To be honest the NBA is one of the worst sports when it comes to handicapping a team’s motivation. It’s not very easy to predict how a team is going to come out and play on a nightly basis in the NBA. Some players simply don’t care while other players simply aren’t motivated for various reasons. Betting on a team that has no motivation is usually deadly. Momentum is also important in the NBA. Even when a bottom feeder team gets on a roll they start to believe in each other and can often go on streaks. The key is identifying momentum before it’s too late.
• #9 – Analyze the Starting Line-Ups & Bench Line-Ups
Analyzing the starting line-up is very important. There are a couple sites that track every line-up that has played with each other throughout the season and these stats will help you immensely. You can find out everything about how a specific 5-player line-up plays together on the court. You should also look at potential bench players that have big impacts when inserted into the line-up. If a team is expected to rest starters analyzing line-ups with bench players will help you find value that other handicappers won’t find.
• #10 – Follow General Sports Betting Strategy
On top of everything else you need to follow general sports betting strategy, which we’ve gone through in detail in other guides on our website. Ensuring you manage your money properly and selecting the right stakes for each bet is important. You also need to shop for the best lines because they can often vary between bookies. Look for slow moving books as well, so that you can bet on point spreads or totals that haven’t moved with the market.