The popularity of the NBA has been on a steady rise since the Magic vs Bird days. And so has the popularity of basketball betting. The game has changed over the years and we now find ourselves in a very exciting era of professional basketball. Lots of offense. Lots of great players. And lots of bets to be made.
Let’s lay out some of the basics of basketball betting to improve your chances when you see a matchup you want to bet. The NBA is a long season with a lot of games so there are many opportunities to lay a smart bet. Follow the sport, the trends and these tips and you’ll be on your way to not only making good bets but making good money as well.
The Basics of Basketball Betting
Basketball betting gives you plenty of options. Point spreads, the moneyline and the over/under are listed every day on every sports page. Knowing which bet to use is as important as knowing which team to bet on. Some are to be exploited and others are to be avoided.
- The Point Spread – Playing the point spread is the most popular bet for every sport and basketball is no different. Because of all the offense in the NBA, the margin for error while playing the point spread is small. Free throws down the stretch are as important as three pointers when you play the point spread. Luckily the NBA is a long season with plenty of games played every day. Because you have so many options you can always find one or two favorable point spreads. Be sure to look at all your options.
- The Moneyline – The moneyline in the NBA can be a good bet when used properly. The lines for favorites get way out of hand and should never be used. When teams are -800 or -1200 favorite there is no reason to bet them. Sure, you will probably win but there is never much return. And if there is an upset you’ve really lost out. Underdogs on the other hand can provide plenty of reward without much risk. If you like an underdog for an upset, put it on the moneyline.
- Parlays – The parlay is a great bet for the NBA because of the number of games played each and every day. Finding 2 or 3 or even 4 favorable matchups is easy to do when there are 15 games in a day. Parlays should always be played conservatively because you will need a few favorites to come in. And the moneyline helps too. Study the schedule for several games and bundle them together for one good bet.
- Over/Under – The NBA is the only league I really like the over/under bet. All it takes is for one shooter to get hot and the scoring will go through the roof. Everyone knows this and most people bet the overs. Unfortunately, the oddsmakers also know this and they set the line accordingly. The over/under line is always going to favor the under simply because more people play the over. When looking to lay a over/under bet always look for the under. Forget that overs exist, find a matchup that looks too high and take the under.
Basics of Basketball Betting Strategy
Developing a strategy to basketball betting (or any betting) is very important. You want to play consistently as to not repeat costly mistakes. You want to maximise your profits while limiting you risk. Luckily the NBA has plenty of games to help us find the right play. Every day if we so choose. The more you follow the games, the more trends you’ll see. Then you can develop your own basketball betting guide to employ every time you place a bet. Here are some strategies to keep in mind.
- Check the Injury Report – The turn around on NBA games is very quick. They typically only have one or two days between games and several back-to-backs throughout the year. Because of this, the official injury reports are constantly being updated. Check them out before placing a bet! A good team missing one of their best players is no longer a good team. The NBA is a long tough season and only a few players ever play all 82 games. Resting players due to injury or just for rest can significantly alter games. Remember to check the injury reports as closely you check the lines.
- Home Teams, Always Home Teams – Home teams win in the NBA just as with all other sports. The good teams cover at home. The bad teams cover at home. Keep that in mind.
- Back to Back games – NBA players hate back to back games. There are never many of them in a season but there will always be a few. The main reason they dislike them is because they are never at home. Usually game one is played and then they travel over night and play game 2 the next day. Basketball is tiring. Travel is tiring. Doing both for 48 hours must be exhausting. For this reason, the teams playing game 2 of a back-to-back are primed to lose. Take note of the schedule and these teams and bet accordingly.
- Ride a Winner – Every season a handful of the better teams will have long winning streaks. Whether it’s because of a home stand or a soft part of the schedule. The better teams get hot and go on big runs of wins. Six games, eight games, even 12 game win streaks are not at all uncommon. Ride these teams. Wagering on a hot team is never a bad bet.
- Road Trippin’ – The travel schedule in the NBA is hectic. Short stints at home, back to backs with travel in between, long road trips. Take note of where every team played the day before. A team playing their 2nd game in as many days while on the road is a tired team and therefore a bad bet. Sometimes, just going .500 on a long road trip is considered a success.
- Big Favorites – As the season goes on the good teams separate themselves from the rest pretty quickly. These teams pile up wins and will end up with 50 or even 60 wins. That’s two or even three wins for every loss. Keep track of the top two or three teams in each conference. These teams win and win big.
- Love the Parlay – Parlays are a great play as a NBA betting strategy. For one, there are multiple games everyday and you’ll have plenty of good options. Bundling two or three teams together into a single bet can give you a good payout without much risk. You’ll want to keep the parlay small. Two or three teams and then apply the NBA betting tips from above. Use the moneyline for the favorites. Make simple plays because a parlay already pays well.
- Tankers –On the other end of the spectrum are the tankers. Tanking has become a big problem in the NBA. Probably because it’s such a smart play for a bad team. Bad teams are bad because they have bad players. The easiest way to get good players is the NBA draft. The best players in the NBA draft go to the worse teams so it only makes sense for bad teams to lose in order to get those players. Until the NBA changes how this is structured, bad teams will tank and you can use this to your advantage. Tanking teams aren’t out there intentionally losing games by missing lay-ups and throwing the ball out-of-bounds. What they will do is bench their best players. Or even shut them down for the season. They’ll trade away any player with any value. All of the tanking moves are made in the front office and not on the court. Keep track of this race to the bottom just as you note the races for playoff position.
There are plenty of NBA betting tips out there and you need them to inform your NBA betting strategy. The most important thing to remember is that the NBA season is a long one and there will be plenty of streaks, injuries, and trends to track.
Following only a few teams limits your ability to make the best bets. Get to know the entire league. Those teams that are heavy favorites every night and the tankers trying desperately to lose as much as possible. By doing so you’ll give yourself the advantage you need to make the smart bets and pick the winners.
Just like hockey or baseball, the sheer volume of games in the gives us plenty of good bets in basketball. But we must use it to our advantage and be picky with the bets we place on the best sports betting sites. The NBA provides us with plenty of value for our money, it’s just up to us to find it.