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The NBA is one of the biggest leagues in American sports, so it attracts a strong betting crowd that wants to profit off of the second-most popular sport in the country. Here’s a short guide to betting on NBA games that everybody should keep in mind when placing their wagers. If you’re a beginner to the NBA scene or even a beginner to generalized sports betting, you should arm yourself with the basic tips and strategies below.
Once you think you can place a bet without getting fleeced, check out some of the many sportsbooks available online. Fanduel.com is typically on top of the latest NBA betting odds.
Know The Sportsbook
Know the subtle games that sportsbooks and other houses use that separate low-information recreational bettors from those who consistently turn a profit. Instead, you should start thinking about why they chose those odds and what their intentions were when putting out the lines.
You should acknowledge and anticipate the decisions being made by the house. Let’s go through an example.
Let’s say that team X and team Y are about to play. Everybody loves both, so it’s expected to attract a lot of bettors. Team X is playing at home and the game is a toss-up between who is going to win. Then, when the betting lines go up, team X is at -1. Why is that? Why isn’t it zero?
When it’s a toss-up, a lot of the betting crowd defaults to the home-court advantage. That’s a real advantage but it’s constantly overvalued by oddsmakers. It’s even used to force casual bettors to make overpriced bets.
This is called line shading. The sportsbook expects heavy, one-sided betting on the home team so they shift the lines to maximize profit on their end. Does this mean betting on the home team guarantees a win or even an equal chance of winning? No, obviously, but beware of this common trap. Now that you know it exists, don’t get paranoid.
Stay Informed On The Players
NBA teams aren’t a line of nameless faces, they’re some of the best basketball players in the world who have bodies that can get injured or otherwise hobbled. Follow NBA news so you know whenever a player has sustained an injury or other circumstances that stop them from playing, which damages the odds of the entire team. Place your bets as close to tip-off as you can.
Similarly, teams may be expected to play multiple games in rapid succession. In those cases, the team’s performance won’t be the same in the third game of a week as it would in the first.
Fade The Public
This is a staple of betting advice but it should be remembered, especially after you’ve learned about line shading and how the books often change their odds in light of public sentiment. When the public prefers an outcome, the sportsbooks impose a premium that makes money from the popular bets. If everybody is doing something, it loses value in the betting market.
The public isn’t always wrong but you should be skeptical. It’s a common safety tip that, if a crowd is running toward you, you run perpendicular to the crowd to escape the situation. Take that approach to betting. Ask yourself if the public is right and even then, are they getting milked by the sportsbook?
Contrarian betting is a valuable skill that every bettor needs to hone if they want to keep a healthy wallet. Don’t be afraid to bet against the public. Remember that being a contrarian all the time is just as foolish as following the public all the time.
Middle The Second Half
If you don’t know what this is, this is where you place another bet halfway through a game once the betting lines swing. If done right, you can even win both bets!
How would this work? Here’s an example.
Team X is playing team Y, with X being a -5 favorite. Naturally, you bet that X is going to win. Then, half an hour before tip-off, team Y announces they’re resting a player or two. Because of this, more bets come in for team X and push them to a -10 favorite.
Now, what if you bet on team Y, who is now +10? You’ll win one of those bets anyway but if team X wins by 6 points or more, you’ll win both. Of course, you could lose both and lose your money to the house’s cut, so this is still a risky play.