NBA Betting Tips

Betting on NBA games can make even the worst match-ups seem interesting. Who would have thought that watching the Sacramento Kings versus the Detroit Pistons could be an exhilarating experience?  This page shares a few key tips to help you improve your NBA betting and gamble better than Sir Charles.

1.  Avoid Betting on Every Game

The unfortunate truth is that you should not bet on the vast majority of NBA games. Oddsmakers are usually quite accurate when it comes to setting NBA betting lines, so many games don’t have sharp bets. Knowing this will help you focus your bets to only the best lines and avoid playing every line that is out there.

2.  Home vs Away Games

The NBA is one of the few sports where spectators are mere inches away from the court and this creates a unique fan-player connection. Having home court advantage in the NBA is a fairly significant advantage. With very few exceptions, teams always have a far superior record in home games versus away games. This is something to keep in mind when picking an away team. Obviously when two teams are matching up that are not at the same level- take the Sacramento Kings and the Los Angeles Lakers for the last three seasons, home court advantage for Sacramento probably won’t affect the outcome of the game, because LA has been such a better team these last few years. Certain team trends emerge every year regarding good home teams and good away teams. The Utah Jazz for example are a notoriously great home team, but often struggle on the road.

3.  Back-to-Back Games

Even more important than home vs away games is the second night of B2B games. Playing the second night of B2B’s really takes a toll on NBA players and it shows when you look at team’s stats in these games. Blog Maverick has a really good write up on B2B games, which can be found HERE. Unless you have another supportive reason to bet on a team, typically avoid betting on a team on the second night of a B2B.

4.  Rhythm

Just like many other sports the NBA is a game of spurts and ruts and knowing when each is in full swing can help you make a sharp NBA bet. When teams are firing on all cylinders ride their wave of success. One note of caution however, when teams start to win much more than 10 in a row other teams definitely start to take notice, and will try especially hard to end their streaks. On the other hand when a team is in a terrible rut, feel free to bet against them. After the first quarter of the 2011 season the Cleveland Cavaliers have been in one hell of a rut, and show no signs of winning for the foreseeable future. For the 2011 season, until they show some signs of life, the Cavs are one team which you should regularly look to bet against, at least until the spread begins to reflect their hopeless situation.

5.  Team vs Team trends

The way a team matches up with another team is of particular importance. The NBA is a game of positional match-ups and often the score will reflect this at the end of games.

There are your logical ones. For example this season Boston has beaten Miami every meeting, and there are two major reasons for this. Number one, Boston has killed Miami in the paint, scoring far more buckets down low at a much higher percentage than Miami. Secondly, the point guard situation is very much in Boston’s favour. Rajon Rondo has been playing fantastic basketball this season and there is no way Carlos Arroyo can keep up with him.

Then there are your strange but recurring team vs team trends. The last few seasons the Raptors have been terrible, but for some strange reason they almost always keep games close with the LA Lakers. Kobe Bryant threw up 81 points against the Raptors once upon a time, and the Lakers almost lost that game. If you pay attention to the NBA you stand a good chance of noticing more of these freak of nature trends, that perhaps the oddsmakers aren’t aware of.

Individual match-ups of key players are also something to factor in. Chris Bosh, for example has played notoriously terrible against aggressive defenders such as Kevin Garnett. Even at his ripe old age Shaquille O’Neal still forces some ugly games out of Dwight Howard. Who defends certain players better than the rest of the league is a good statistic to keep track of and will help you make your decision of who to bet on.

6.  Injuries

Individual players are really important to NBA teams, as 5 starters regularly clock over 36 minutes a piece. While the NBA is a team sport, each team’s star players are incredibly valuable. With players such as Kevin Durant, Lebron James, and Kobe Bryant averaging close to 30 points a contest, and almost a third of their team’s points, when they are injured it really changes the dynamic of their teams. Often for the worse, with less capable players attempting to fill the void left by their stars.

7.  New Acquisitions

Midseason trades are something to keep track of as they could potentially alter team’s successes. After a big trade has gone through it is good strategy to wait before betting on the team or teams who made the trade. This is unless you have a good handle on how the new components will work together. This season there was a blockbuster trade primarily between Phoenix and Orlando that had significant ramifications for both teams.  After the initial integration problems were solved, Orlando really started to turn around their season and were a far strong team after the trade.

8.  Coaching Changes

In the 2008 NBA season 6 coaches were fired early in the season. While this was a pretty wild stat, the trend of firing coaches mid-season continues, albeit at a lower rate. NBA stars are being paid over 20 million a year, each, and locked in to long term contracts. NBA coaches are typically only worth a few million a year, and thus relative to NBA stars deemed quite expendable. When teams struggle, the coaches are often the first to go (you can’t fire the players for poor performance unfortunately).

For many teams this changing of the coach can greatly affect their performance, often providing a temporary lift. The most recent example of the Charlotte Bobcats removing Larry Brown illustrates this quite effectively. While the Cats showed little life under Brown, under their new coach they were having substantially more success. You should be somewhat leery of these changes because often the success is short-lived.

9.  How Parlay Bets Kill You

The Parlay bet is very popular among online sports bettors because of the chance to win big from relatively small bets. In a parlay bet you pick multiple outcomes and if every single one of your chosen outcomes comes true than you win big. However if even one of your chosen outcomes falters you don’t win a dime. The long term prospects of making a single sharp bet are far superior to attempting Parlay bets.

10.  Don’t Tilt or Wager While Inebriated

Losing multiple bets in a row can be frustrating, but it is best to take a few days off and regroup. Avoid jumping in immediately and making bigger bets because this is a good way to lose your money quickly. Take a breather and remember a well thought out plan of attack will yield a more successful outcome. Appeal to the karma gods in whatever way you deem appropriate.

Simple sentence of advice- try to avoid betting while under the influence, your beer goggles work with sports betting strategy too. Thinking that the post-James Cavaliers were going to thump the Lakers just because you had a feeling, will be a lot less justifiable in the morning.

Written by: Dylan Stephenson