The National Basketball Association is one of the most commonly-known sports leagues in the entire world and here in the United States, its popularity extends to the ever-growing betting industry.
On any given night, online betting sites in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and several other states offer bettors hundreds of betting options ranging from traditional moneylines and spreads to totals, props, futures, and live lines.
For all the action that NBA betting gets, however, it's not as though it's an easy league to win money on. In fact, it's quite the opposite, as pro basketball is one of the biggest moneymakers for both online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
In order to give yourself the best chance at winning, it's important to get educated on what information to focus on when placing bets. That's where we come in. Below, we are going to provide some NBA betting strategies and tips to keep in mind when putting your money down on basketball.
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Handicapping pro basketball games is not an easy thing to do and there is no guaranteed NBA betting strategy that is going to spit out NBA winners because if there was, everyone would use it.
There are systems created based on trends that people are continuously developing and using, but not every one of them is reliable. Most lines are carefully crafted and meticulously poured over each day, so how do you help yourself make the right bets?
Rather than blindly trusting a system, check out the following NBA betting strategies and apply them to your own personal research when looking to place wagers. For more information on how to bet on basketball, visit our NBA Betting Guide!
Perhaps the most common of the NBA betting strategies is simply find lines where the public is heavily supporting one side, and go the other way.
The public has the potential to inflate the lines on both spreads and totals, creating value on the opposite side. More times than not, it's favorites and overs getting hit by the betting masses and it creates massive opportunity on plenty of occasions.
Reverse line movement is when the majority of the bets are coming in on one side, but the line doesn't reflect that and actually moves in the opposite direction. This happens relatively often at NJ and PA online sportsbooks and can point bettors in the direction of what the professionals, also known as sharps, are thinking.
Let's say the Heat are five-point favorites (-5) against the Magic and 75 percent of all the bets are on the Heat. But rather than that spread continuing to grow to -5.5 or -6, the line begins shrinking to -4.5, or even -4. That is the reverse line movement.
Monitoring movement on a certain game and comparing it with betting percentages gives you a chance to spot an advantageous line and/or potential value. Veteran gamblers know to bet lines and not teams, so winning betters will pounce in a situation like this regardless of which team is involved.
One of the most important and possibly underrated NBA betting strategies is to bet according to the schedule, which can be demanding.
This is why bettors look to target teams that are dealing with tough stretches of the schedule and wager on the other side. The second of back-to-backs, three games in four nights, or the last game of a lengthy road trip could all be situations in which fatigue comes into play.
Sometimes determining how the game will play out from the perspective of totals can be easier than choosing a side to bet on.
Once the season gets into full swing you can take a look at each team's pace of play and scoring stats to help determine your stance on an over-under. The referee and even the schedule for both teams could impact which way you go on these bets as well.
The lines on props definitely see less action from the public and professional bettors, so those odds remain relatively untouched by sharp bettors, unlike standard spreads and totals. Most sites offer a variety of prop markets offered for every game, allowing most people to find something they like.
You can read all the expert predictions in the world and pour over all of the data before a game, but things can still go the opposite way. Sports are sometimes unpredictable and the best feel for a game can be found by actually watching it.
Consider taking in the opening quarter or half of a game and see if there's an opening on the live NBA betting line or maybe in a second-half market. Injuries, foul situation, the pace of play, and the score all can play a role in how you place in-game bets.
To some, NBA betting strategies and NBA betting tips may sound like the same thing. To us, strategies are meant to rules that bettors live by when placing wagers, while tips are mostly just things to keep in mind that may or may not help you make an informed decision.
Now that we've gone through a couple of strategies to use, here are some tips to keep in mind when checking out basketball lines throughout the regular season:
Just like on Sundays during football season, many bettors make the mistake of placing wagers on too many games when it's a full slate. This can put you in a bad spot because you'd have to come through with a pretty high percentage of wins in order to actually turn any profit.
Focus on just one or a couple of games from the NBA schedule that night, because fewer teams and lower odds could equal more wins in the long run. Adding extra games to a parlay can increase the payout but it also makes the wager ore difficult to win, so do so at your own risk.
This is one of those NBA betting tips that goes hand-in-hand with the strategy of seeking out reverse line movement because it allows the results of public betting to guide your hand a little bit.
Betting percentages will show you how much of the public is on a given side prior to a game. Comparing the movement of the lines can be a great way to determine whether there's some value on that side or not.
It's good to keep in mind that sites offering betting percentages are only showing data for their site or a particular sportsbook. So it's not representative of the entire population but it can be a great starting point.
Look, trends can be useful when placing bets. But like they anything else, they are only good in moderation and taking gambling advice from trends alone would be a mistake.
It's good to know whether a team loses more often on a back-to-back or is over .500 against-the-spread on the road. But stay away from trends that don't matter and when there's one you like, make sure it's relevant to the game.
Plenty of sites will present you with a prediction alongside statistics that tell you a team has a great record on Wednesdays or detail a winning streak against a given opponent that dates back a few seasons when rosters and circumstances were totally different.
Aside from trusting the wrong trends, another way to quickly lose your money while betting on the NBA is by simply not checking the game notes and having up-to-date information.
Knowing a team's schedule and recent performance along with staying current on the injury report are all reasons to keep tabs on beat writers via social media and read the game notes prior to placing wagers.
The NBA is always difficult to bet on, but especially early in the season. The first several games of every year, sometimes more, results are to be taken with a grain of salt. Let some type of pattern develop in the early season before putting too much money on NBA games.
Because results in the first few weeks of the season may not be reliable to use for betting purposes, beware of teams and trends that regress back to the mean.
Bettors should be focused on this when it comes to gambling on any sport, the NBA included. In fact, managing your bankroll can be just as important as picking the correct team. Without proper bankroll management, bettors can wind up getting reckless as they chase losses and completely overextend themselves.
An easy way to keep track of everything is to go with the 'unit' approach, which is basically figuring out how much of your bankroll you want to wager each time (recommended amount is 1 to 5%).
By wagering the same amount every time regardless of confidence level, bettors will be able to handle the inevitable roller-coaster battle that is sports betting. This won't get you any massive payouts but it could save you from losing too much of your bankroll at once.