How To Bet On The NBA In Season 2012/2013 Part 1
How can you be successful betting on the NBA this season? With the new season just days away, today on the blog Cassino takes a look at the 2012/2013 NBA season and offers some pointers for profitable betting.
The 2012-13 NBA season gets underway on 30th October with opening night featuring three games, the highlight of which is the marquee match-up between the reigning champions Miami Heat, and the storied Boston Celtics - winners of more NBA Championships than any other franchise.
The NBA is entering its 67th season, having started in 1946 under the original name of the Basketball Association of America with 11 teams taking part, and is the most modern of the four major US sports.
30 teams are split evenly into Eastern and Western Conferences, and each Conference has three Divisions of five teams each.
For me, the NBA is the perfect in-play trading sport. With 30 mostly competitive teams, on any day, any team can beat another. For example, in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, eventual champions Miami lost 20 of 66 games, and the best regular season teams (San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls) lost 16, just shy of one game in four.
While the 2011-12 season was unusual in that the schedule was somewhat condensed, and teams sometimes played on three consecutive days, the same expectation is seen in previous seasons.
In 2010-11, the best regular season teams were again the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, losing 20 and 21 of 82 matches respectively, again just shy of the 25% mark. In 2009-10, the top two teams lost 21 and 23 times.
A standard regular season of 82 games means 1,230 matches, and then there are the play-offs for which no less than 16 teams qualify. Each team plays 41 games at home and 41 away. A team faces opponents in its own division four times a year (16 games).
One criticism often levied against the NBA is that the regular season is too long relative to how many teams are eliminated at its conclusion, but for traders the more games there are, the more opportunities.
The regular season runs until mid-April, with close to another eight weeks of play-off basketball before the winner is decided in early June.
Breakdown The Season
The NBA year can be broken down into distinct periods. Excluding the NBA Summer League which not all teams compete in, and is played for player development reasons, there is the build-up period of training camps and pre-season games, the regular season, the closing part of the regular season, and the play-offs, and each have their subtleties which, to be a successful trader, you need to understand.
The pre-season has almost wrapped up for this year, with teams playing seven games, all losing at least one, and one team – the Los Angeles Lakers – failing to win a single game.
As with most sports, the pre-season is pretty much meaningless. It’s an opportunity for teams to adapt to close season personnel changes or for new coaches to impose their playing style on a team, but the bottom line is that the result of the games is not a concern, and star players are often used sparingly.
From a trading perspective, these games have been a dream. With many punters treating the games as if they were game seven of the Finals, there have been many opportunities to profit.
Season Tip Off
Next comes the regular season, and with all teams starting from the same point, there is everything to play for, and teams can be expected to play to win. Star players will be taken out before the game is over if the game is won or lost, but you can expect to see them in action if the game is close.
Towards the end of the regular season, you need to exercise a little caution, and be aware that not all teams have the same incentive to win. Changes to how the NBA draft works have been implemented to reduce the benefit of teams deliberately tanking, but it is human nature for teams that have no chance of playing in the post-season to not be giving their all.
On the flip side, teams who have already guaranteed themselves a play-off spot will potentially rest their top players. There is also the added complication that a play-off bound team may intentionally try to lose a game or two to try and avoid a certain opponent in the opening round of the play-offs. It can get complicated!
Finally there are the play-offs, in which the 16 qualifiers (8 from the Eastern Conference and 8 from the Western Conference) play four rounds of best-of 7 games and crown a champion. It goes without saying that teams want to win these games.
Other than being aware of what the games mean to either team, before getting involved, you should familiarise yourself with the teams, especially the star players, because injuries or suspensions make a big difference to a team’s chances of winning.
It won’t be an issue this season, but last season when teams played on three consecutive days, several coaches rested players on one of those games, and some prices that looked huge value were explainable when you saw the line-ups.
Although basketball is a team sport, only five players are on the court for a team at any one time, and the presence or absence of one player can make a big difference. I mentioned earlier that the Chicago Bulls lost just sixteen regular season games last season, but their biggest loss was that of Derrick Rose who in the first round of the play-offs versus the Philadelphia 76ers, and with the Bulls up by 12 with a minute remaining, tore the ACL in his left knee and was done for the season. Not surprisingly, the coach Tom Thibodeau received some criticism for having Rose still in the game. Without Rose, the Bulls were an average team, and were eliminated in that first round.
Read part 2 of Cassini's NBA betting preview here.
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