Bet Only When There Is Value
OK, we get it, by now you’re probably tired of hearing it, but let us say it again – success betting on NBA games is all about identifying betting value. If you bet on the NBA with no regard for the concept of value or value betting, you are just going to lose money time and time again.
Identifying betting value in the NBA or any other sport takes a great deal of time. But in time and with much experience, you will begin to identify betting value in NBA games much easier than when you first began. In fact, with hard earned experience, you’ll often look down the list of the next day’s NBA games and see two or three value prospects immediately jump out at you.
We discussed NBA value betting earlier in this betting guide. If you did not read it, please take a read of it now before progressing.
Be Prepared To Learn
This is a difficult lesson for many inexperienced bettors to learn. When you begin betting on a particular sport, it’s because you already enjoy watching that sport. In most cases you’ll consider yourself a keen observer of the league. You know the teams, you know the players, you know it all.
But let’s make it clear. There is a difference between possessing a deep understanding of the NBA and possessing deep understanding of NBA betting markets. Of course, having a thorough knowledge of basketball and the NBA is a great start for any successful NBA bettor. But it’s only a foundation. NBA betting requires that you understand the betting markets you intend to bet on. Understanding the NBA and understanding how to bet on basketball and win are two different things and it’s crucial you do not confuse the two.
Gain Experience And A Deeper Understanding Of NBA Betting Markets
The task of the inexperienced NBA bettor is to take the knowledge you have of the league and the game of basketball and adapt it to related NBA betting markets. This takes time and patience, but in the end and with experience, you will discover a new found knowledge and a profound understanding how betting markets work and ultimately, how to identify betting value.
Think of it this way. It’s generally easy to determine if a NBA game is going to be a high scoring one. But will there be enough points scored to cover the over under basketball line? Likewise, it’s easy to say a particular NBA team in great form at home against a terrible team is likely to win the game. But are they more or less likely to win the game than what the odds on offer suggest?
The point is simple. When it comes to sports betting, humility is a great ally. If you want to be a successful NBA bettor, be prepared to learn.
Or check out how best nba tipters do it here and learn from them.
Start By Betting The NBA Teams You Are Familiar With
If you’re betting on the NBA for the first time, it’s a great idea to begin betting on games involving the teams and/or divisions you are most familiar with. Yes, it would be great to start out betting on the league as a whole, but the best way to test yourself and to learn gradually is to bet on those teams you know best.
You probably follow a particular team more closely than others. You know their roster. You know their strengths and weaknesses. You know their tactical approach. You also probably have a intimate knowledge of the teams in their division. This all makes for a great start. Yes, you may want to jump into the deep end and start betting on every NBA game on the card. But stay patient. Begin by betting on games involving the teams you know best and work from there.
Bet The NBA Markets You Know
As we have already discussed, the most popular NBA betting markets are:
These are only the most popular. There are literally dozens of markets available for each NBA game of the season. But it’s best to begin with these three markets as they are the most easily understood. Further, developing an understanding for these traditional markets will help you to approach and exploit more nuanced and exotic markets in the seasons to come.
In fact, the best NBA bettors generally focus on one of these traditional markets. It’s quite common for experienced NBA bettors to concern themselves only with points spreads, while some others focus only on points totals. If you want to be a successful NBA bettor, then specialise. Find which markets you are most in tune with, and exploit them.
Apply Sound Money Management
Yes, the key to long term NBA betting is finding value bets. But almost as important is the application of a consistent money management and staking strategy. What does this mean? It means that you must closely manage your betting bankroll and understand how much you should be staking on one bet.
Managing your bankroll and determining the ideal bet stake is serious business. If you’re not taking either task seriously, then you’re likely only going to lose money long term. Your staking strategy needs to be consistent and consistently applied to your bankroll. If you are wagering amounts on a whim with no consideration for betting value, you shouldn’t be surprised when you discover you are losing money month after month.
Further, your betting bankroll should only be as much as you can afford to lose. Sure, we want, hope and expect to make money betting on the NBA. The issue is however, even if you have a great talent for identifying betting value, unless you’re exploiting that value with the application of a considered staking strategy, you’ll lose money. Identifying value in NBA games is crucial, but it is only half the task.
Read More About Staking Strategies
To learn more, please read our guide to bankroll management and our detailed guide to calculating the ideal bet stake using the Kelly Criterion.
Keep A Record Of Your NBA Betting
If you’re reading this, we assume you want to become a serious NBA bettor. Every serious NBA bettor needs to keep accurate records of their NBA betting. And we mean detailed records. If you do not keep a record of your betting, then you are likely to lose money and will simply fail to learn from your mistakes.
Your record of NBA betting should include these details:
- Bet Type (market)
- Bet Details
- Your Stake
- Your Odds
- Your Profit/Loss
Keeping records provides you with the capacity to review your bet history. This review process is crucial to your development as a serious NBA bettor and your capacity long term. In keeping records of your NBA bets, you can see which markets you are performing best in, which markets you are consistently losing money on and most importantly, see moments where poor discipline got the best of you. To put it simply, a detailed record of your NBA betting will increase your self awareness as a bettor and will help you understand your tendencies and habits, both good and bad.
NBA Betting Calculator Spreadsheet
Assess NBA Team Performance Accurately
The task of identifying betting value comes down to one simple skill and that is, your ability to consistently and accurately assess team performance and potential. If you can become skilled in this task, you will be a long term NBA bettor.
While that is all very inspirational, being able to consistently perform this task is no easy thing. Think about it this way. Bookmakers have some of the most capable analytical minds and tools at their disposal giving them the ability to compile what are for the most part, extremely accurate NBA odds.
The good news however, is that bookmakers do not get it right all of the time. Think about any NBA season. There are always two or three teams that nobody sees coming, teams that are consistently underrated for much of the season. Conversely there are teams that everybody overrates, bookmakers included. Being able to assess team potential and performance is about being able to identify those teams.
So how can you learn to assess NBA team performance accurately? There are a number of things to consider.
Home vs Away Form
This is always a hot topic of debate across a number of sports. Many pundits and analysts believe that a number of teams possess a distinct home field, or in the case of the NBA, home court advantage. Others argue that there is no distinct advantage for any team and that home court advantage is generally consistent across all teams in the NBA. Others argue that home court advantage is consistent but is also in decline.
Home field advantage in the NBA is worth around 2.3 points. What does this mean? If two NBA teams are considered to of equal talent, then the home team will be 2.3 points better simply because they are playing at home. When we think of home vs away potential, this amounts to a 4.6 point swing.
Let’s take an example. The Detroit Pistons are playing the Chicago Bulls. On a neutral court, we consider the Pistons to be a 5 point better team. If the Pistons are playing at home, then we add 2.3 points to our neutral court estimated margin, making the Pistons a 7.3 point favourite on their home court. On the other hand, if the game is being played in Chicago, the Bulls will be a 2.3 better team. In this case we subtract 2.3 points from our estimated neutral court margin of a Detroit win by 5 points, meaning the Pistons will only be a 2.7 point favourite when playing the Bulls in Chicago.
Why do home teams have an advantage? There are a number of explanations for home court advantage in the NBA. The most promoted of these is that home crowd noise influences referee decision making in a very fundamental way. Referees are human (no seriously, they are) and as a result are just as easily influenced by “the mob” as any one of us. You’ve no doubt seen refs give home town calls when the crowd is up and making plenty of noise. It happens and for the most part, this is what explains home court advantage in the NBA.
Injuries and Roster Additions/Subtractions
If you know your NBA intimately, the start of the season can be a great time. Why? Because possessing a detailed understanding of NBA rosters and off season additions and subtractions will help you identify which teams are likely to be underrated and which are likely to be overrated.
For example, a team may have added a high profile shooting guard to their line-up. This will excite the fans and TV pundits alike and see expectations rise for that team in the coming season. But what may go missing is that this same team lost two regularly used big men from their bench rotation. This won’t grab the headlines, but the team’s inability to now protect the rim as well as rebound in minutes where their starters require rest is going to diminish the team’s prospects for the season. This will be lost on fans, pundits and potentially bookmakers. Understanding what wins basketball games and the importance or roles players can help you identify tremendous value early and well into the NBA season.
Similarly, the ability to accurately assess the impact of injuries is another way in which shrewd bettors can exploit NBA odds. This is particularly true again where there are injuries to key players with low profiles. Meanwhile, injuries to high profile players can be overestimated. Always remember that what is most important is the value of the replacement player. Sure, a team’s super star small forward may be out for the next 5 games. In an example such as this, consider the potential of the player who will replace him. He may not have such a high profile, but he may be more than an adequate replacement.
A mystery for many in the sports world is how often teams of lesser talent cause trouble for their more highly touted opponents. This happens more often in the NBA perhaps than any other league, due largely to how often teams play each other, particularly division rivals. NBA divisional rivals know each other’s squads, tendencies and tactical approaches intimately.
While some teams may have failings in many areas, often they posses a strength that counters a more highly fancied opponent’s strength. Possessing a detailed understanding of both the game of basketball and NBA team rosters will provide you with plenty of value opportunities, giving you an insight into which inferior teams have the potential to make life difficult for their more talented opponents. These inferior teams may not win the game, but in such instances they are more than capable of covering the point spread.
Develop A NBA Betting System Or Betting Model
Developing a betting model to find value in NBA games is well worth your effort. Unlike other sports leagues such as the NFL where each seasons sees just 256 regular season games played, the NBA schedule has a total 1230 regular season games. This sheer number of games played makes the time in developing such a model for betting on NBA games worth the time and involvement.
While one NBA betting system and/or model may only consider point differential, there are other models that take a number of factors into account, looking at a broad range of data and statistics. Speaking broadly, most NBA betting models will take into account a selection of the following:
- Points For/Against
- Shooting Percentage For/Against
- Rebounds For/Against
- Points Per Possession For/Against
- Individual Player Point Differential Plus/Minus
Whichever NBA statistical categories you want to employ in your betting model, the goal of your model is the same as any other sports betting model – the accurately assess the potential of a given team in a given matchup and in so doing, determining if there is any betting value available to exploit in that matchup.
Mark The NBA Schedule
The NBA season is a marathon. While the NFL is often regarded as a sprint consisting of 16 regular season games, the NBA tasks every team with 82 games. The length of the NBA season not only means numerous betting opportunities virtually every day of the season, but it the demands of a NBA season provides shrewd bettors with opportunity to find value via what is often referred to as ‘situational analysis’.
Situational analysis involves determining how a team is likely to perform in certain circumstances. For example:
- How does a particular club perform towards the end of a long road trip?
- How does a club perform playing back to back nights on the road?
- How do teams perform their first night on the road following a long run of home games?
There are many situations to consider. For this reason, before the season begins it’s important to mark the NBA schedule for each team. Identify situations that are irregular for each club, situations where their performance may be influenced simply due to scheduling. Look for league wide trends based on historical data as well as trends for each team. For example, let’s say the Minnesota Timberwolves are 0-12 against the spread in the final game of road trip of at least five games. While this trend may be a result of randomness, it’s a trend to certainly keep in mind when the Timberwolves are closing out a road trip in the coming season.
Conducting situational analysis such as these can help you find value right through the NBA season.
Follow NBA Tipsters
Following NBA tipsters is another great way to bet on NBA games. Finding a stable of reliable NBA tipsters will see you build your betting bankroll quickly and will relatively little fuss.
While that all sounds great, the problem of course is in finding tipsters you can trust. Any Google search for the term best NBA tipsters will present you with a long list of sites claiming to deliver reliable and most of all, reliable NBA tips. The fact is that most of these sites are fraudulent, asking unsuspecting bettors to hand over sizeable subscription fees to receive these ‘gold plated’ tips. Do not be fooled. And please, never pay for betting tips. You are more than likely going to lose money in betting account as well as your bank account paying ridiculous subscription fees.
The great news is that there are a number of great tipsters in the bettingexpert community, posting their NBA tips through the season. And what’s best is that their tips are both verified and free. You can find each tipster’s NBA record clearly displayed so you can choose who you want to follow this season and into the next.
bettingexpert’s Best NBA Tipsters
See the top tipsters here
Follow Our NBA Tipsters
To see which tipsters have tips currently posted, visit our NBA tips page.
Have Multiple Bookmaker Accounts For Your NBA Betting
It might be convenient to have just one betting account for all your NBA betting. But the reality is that this is likely going to cost you money long term.
We recommend all NBA bettors have at the very least three bookmaker accounts. Having three bookmaker accounts will provide you with the flexibility you need, giving you the chance to take the best odds available on any NBA market.
Yes, it may seem only a slight difference when you take odds of 1.75 rather than the best odds available of 1.80, but over the course of a number of years, this slight difference can amount to thousands of dollars. Seriously. So make sure you have at least three bookmaker accounts for your NBA betting and take the best odds available always. (For a detailed analysis, please read our guide to bookmaker margins).
How To Bet On The NBA Playoffs
NBA Playoffs Format
The NBA Playoffs format has changed a number of times during the course of the league’s history.
The NBA Playoffs format, currently consists of eight teams from each conference with each team ranked according to their regular season win-loss records.
Eight teams from each conference feature in the NBA playoffs, making a total of sixteen teams competing for the NBA title over four rounds of play.
The NBA Playoffs Schedule is as follows:
- Opening Round
- Conference Semi Finals
- Conference Finals
- NBA Finals
Matchups in each round of the NBA playoffs schedule are best-of-seven series, meaning that the team to reach four wins first, wins the series and progresses to the next round.
NBA Playoffs Home Court Advantage
Home court advantage in each NBA playoff matchup is determined by regular season win-loss records. The NBA playoffs schedule for each series based on regular season win-loss records is as follows:
- Game 1 – Better win-loss record hosts
- Game 2 – Better win-loss record hosts
- Game 3 – Lesser win-loss record hosts
- Game 4 – Lesser win-loss record hosts
- Game 5 – Better win-loss record hosts
- Game 6 – Lesser win-loss record hosts
- Game 7 – Better win-loss record hosts
The sixteen playoff teams play through each of the four rounds, with the champions of each conference meeting in the NBA Finals to determine that season’s champions.
NBA Playoffs Odds
There are a number of ways you can bet on NBA playoffs odds. Let’s take a look at the most popular NBA playoffs betting markets..
Individual Game Betting
This is betting on an individual NBA playoff game, just like you would bet on a NBA game through the regular season. The most popular NBA playoffs odds for individual game betting are:
- Point Spread
- Total Points Over/Under
To learn more about these individual markets, please read our detailed NBA betting guide.
Series betting is placing a bet on the result across an individual NBA playoff series. The most popular NBA playoffs odds for series betting are:
- Series winner
- Series correct score
- Total games Over/Under
Series Winner Betting
Series winner is fairly self explanatory. You are betting on which team you think will win a given seven game series.
Series Correct Score Betting
Series correct score is betting on the exact series result. For example, you could bet on Cleveland to defeat Boston 4-2 in a given playoff series.
Many punters like series correct score betting because it not only offers larger odds than series winner, but it also adds an extra level of intrigue..
Many NBA bettors also like to bet on a number of correct score outcomes. For example, if you think a series is bound to be tight and likely to come down to a seventh and final game, you could bet on Cleveland 4-3 as well as Boston 4-3.
Or if you think Cleveland will win the series easily, you could bet on them to win 4-0 and also 4-1. As you can see, series correct score betting offers a deeper level of strategy than mere series winner betting.
Series Total Games Betting
Total games betting is fairly simple. In this market you can bet on the number of games that will be played during a given NBA playoffs series. Which team wins the series is irrelevant. All that matters is that you pick the total number of games to be played in a series
Many bettors like to mix and match their total games bets with their series correct score bets. For example, you could bet on Cleveland 4-3 and the series to go to 7 games.
Conference Championship Betting
Conference winner betting is simple. You bet on who you think will win a particular conference, either the Eastern Conference or the Western Conference. If the team you select wins their conference, your bet is a winner.
Conference Championship betting are popular NBA playoffs odds to bet on, but not quite as popular as NBA title winner betting odds.
Bet On NBA Championship
While each round of the NBA playoffs receives great interest from NBA bettors, it’s the NBA Finals that everyone wants to bet on.
You can bet on NBA Championship odds at every bookmaker including bookmakers such as William Hill and Betfair Sportsbook.
So how can you bet on Championship winner NBA playoffs odds? Most bookmakers will refer to this market as NBA Championship Winner Betting Odds or something similar with the market typically listed under NBA Futures 2016/17.
Most bookmakers will offer Win Only for this market which means to win your bet, the team you bet on has to win the NBA Championship.
Some bookmakers will however offer an each-way bet on NBA Championship winner odds, meaning that if your team does not win the NBA Championship but at least reaches the NBA Finals, you will receive a reduced return.
How To Bet On NBA Playoffs
What are the best NBA playoffs betting strategies? How is betting on the NBA playoffs different to betting on the regular season? Here we discuss the best way to bet on NBA playoffs.
How To Bet On NBA Playoffs and Win
Defence wins championships. Clean offensive execution is vital. In short, if you’re trying to pick who’s going to win a championship, you need to know who’s best at doing what it takes to win a championship.
So let’s start with a pair of factors, factors that are so intrinsically tied together for purposes of betting the NBA Playoffs that we should link them together right off the bat.
Isolate Each Team’s Weakness
This is the nuts and bolts of NBA Playoff betting because every series is stretched out into a best four-games-out-of-seven format. Championship contenders find their opponent’s biggest weakness, and they make them pay. Over and over again until the series has finished.
Favourites with a match-up advantage will try to get their series over with as quickly as possible.
At the other end of the spectrum, an underdog can’t “luck” their way to a series upset. Do achieve this, dogs need to have a skill set that matches up well against a weakness of the opposing favourite.
And, the market is often slow to react to dangerous dogs because NBA playoffs odds are so heavily influenced by regular season results and overall stats rather than matchup-specific dynamics.
If you want to beat the market in the NBA Playoffs, you need to evaluate the individual chess pieces for each team and the big picture strengths and weaknesses. Look at the following:
- Offensive Efficiency
- Defensive Efficiency
- Turnover Dynamics
Determine which offences have versatility, and which are too one-dimensional, weighted on the shoulders of one or two key scorers. When watching first action in a series, keep a particular eye out for a weak defensive link that can’t be hidden.
If you don’t have a clear sense of these elements entering a series, the best head coaches will literally announce them to you by the way they attack opposing defences in the second half of the first two games. You’ll still have time to wager before the series ends if you can crack the strategic code.
Determine Who Can Win A War of Attrition
The gruelling schedule of the NBA Playoffs creates a kind of war of attrition that adds an extra dimension to the challenge of betting on the NBA. And, this really matters if the relative skill sets of two teams in a series are so even that they basically cancel out.
In recent seasons, you’ve seen sideline reports “in the huddle” on TV showing the head coaches trying to inspire their players to keep their energy high, to not give up. Sure it’s still a chess match but it’s an exhausting chess match where the power pieces can’t afford any respite.
As bettors, it’s best not to try and guess which teams have more “guts” or “grit” than the others. But, you can evaluate which teams have more depth, which teams are in better health, which teams might wear down quickly within a series that plays every other day rather than one with more calendar spacing.
And, if you trust your reads from past playoffs in this area, you can certainly apply those to veteran teams with stable rosters.
Keep in mind that picking late-series point-spread winners in the first round often involves recognising when non-contenders are ready to throw in the towel, while picking point-spread winners in the deeper rounds can be influenced by recognising the impact of cumulative wear-and-tear.
Many absent-minded handicappers become bothered by media emphasis on clichés like “who wants it more” and “who’s hungrier.” If coaches thought that stuff was irrelevant they wouldn’t talk about it so much in the heat of battle! You’re trying to pick who’s going to win a series of battles.
Determine Who’s Best Equipped to Win a Game’s Last Two Minutes
So many NBA Playoff games are decided in the final moments of action (both for straight up purposes and in determining the point-spread winner) that handicappers will be well-served evaluating team skill sets offensively and defensively in this area.
For many years, the stathead community saw late game results as mostly influenced by “luck” rather than skill sets.
But, more recent studies have shown that passing the ball around for an open look is much more effective than “hero ball” where one star holds the ball by himself and tries to score on a last second guarded shot. Successful defences are also more sophisticated in how they handle late game rotations. Luck is still a factor of course. There are skill sets in play.
See what you can learn from regular season strategies and stars for the teams involved in the playoffs.
And, watch tight finishes in the early rounds very closely to develop a sense of how coaches are handling pressure situations. You should enter the playoffs up front knowing that there are going to be several late game pick-em situations where profit or loss is determined by team execution.
Monitor the Evolving Impact of Three Point Volume
In recent seasons we have seen the evolution of the three-point offence. If you’ve been reading box scores, you know that good teams are shooting more from long range than they used to. Breakthroughs in analytics have shown the increased efficiency of this approach.
Many teams are taking it to heart. We’re not suggesting that teams didn’t shoot the trey before. But, attempt totals are up and quick pass offences are more aggressively trying to create deep open looks rather than settling for the hope that a rim attacker can bully his way inside.
That means strategies you found success with in the past might get trumped by teams going 15 of 35 on three-pointers. Hot long range shooting can make up for a few weaknesses.
And, if you run into a series where both teams are going to attempt 25-35 treys per night, then who wins and loses may come down to who makes more of those shots rather than some of the more traditional indicators.
The world of sports doesn’t stand still. Smart bettors need to stay on top of evolutionary elements as best as possible.