NBA Betting Systems Explained

NBA Betting Academy 106

The National Basketball Association has grown into one of the most popular sports leagues both in the United States and around the globe. Naturally, this translates to increased action on the league at betting windows. There are many different ways to bet the NBA. Bettors can choose to implement any number of systems and strategies, and many choose to invent their own. With that said, several different NBA betting systems are tried and true. This article will explain several of these systems. Any of them would make a fine complement to an NBA handicapping arsenal.

High Totals System

The High Totals System was created by Allen Moody, a professional sports bettor who penned the books, “Becoming a Winning Gambler” and “Sports Betting Basics”. It is one of the easiest betting strategies to both learn and apply to one’s handicapping practice.

The basic premise behind the High Totals System is the notion that sportsbooks underestimate the totals for NBA non-conference games. Recognizing this, Moody started betting the over on the totals of every NBA non-conference matchup with a total of 220 points. The system proved itself profitable over a four-season sample size from 2004-05 to 2008-09. Moody’s success rate on all games meeting the necessary criteria in that time was 63.5%.

One thing to note with the High Totals System is that NBA games have changed quite a bit from what they were when Moody introduced the system over 10 years ago. Teams play at a much quicker pace, and the three-point shot is a much greater focal point of team offense. The result of these trends is a significant uptick in average points per game scored by teams has in the last 15 years. The first year of Moody’s system trial in 2004-05 saw teams score an average of 97.2 points per game. By the end of the trial in 2008-09, the average had increased to 100.0. Both of those numbers are dwarfed by the 2018-19 NBA average of 111.2 points per game. The Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA’s lowest-scoring team in 2018-19, outscored the 2008-09 league average by a whole 3.5 points!

Even with the evolution of the sport and bookmakers becoming wise to the High Totals System, there is often still value to be had in backing the over on games with high totals lines.

Martingale System

The Martingale System emphasizes the goal of reaping a long-term profit. Losses are a real part of sports betting. Knowing this, the Martingale System strategy involves doubling your wager amounts on the over of a single team’s game totals until they win. A large betting bankroll, a firm understanding of statistical trends, and a boatload of patience are all required to successfully implement the Martingale System. Refer to the image below which outlines a game example for implementing the Martingale System.

Martingale System Game

Of course, if Atlanta eclipses the 115-point threshold, your ticket will cash. Where the Martingale System comes into effect is if the bet were to lose. If the Hawks fall short of 115 points in the game against the Cavaliers, the Martingale System requires you to double your single unit wager of $10 to a $20 bet that Atlanta will eclipse 115 points in their next game against the Toronto Raptors. If they succeed in this second attempt, you will have covered the losses of your first wager and have made some additional profit. If the bet were to again lose, you would double your wager amount again, up to $40 in this case, for Atlanta’s next game. This pattern would continue until your luck changed and a bet was to cash.

If you choose to utilize the Martingale System, ensure that you have a handle on the team’s scoring average, specific player matchups, injuries, and the average pace of play for each team involved in a specific game. All of these factors play key roles in projecting the final score of an NBA game.

D’Alembert System

The D’Alembert System can be thought of as a more conservative version of the Martingale System. This makes it particularly appealing to NBA bettors operating with smaller bankrolls who are more conservative.

The basic template of the D’Alembert System is to start with a single unit bet. If your bet loses, you would increase your wager amount. If the bet wins, you will keep your single unit wager the same. If a winning bet follows a loss, you decrease the size of your wager back to the previous amount. The image below describes an example of the D’Alembert System in action.

DAlembert System Game

The D’Alembert System is less lucrative than the Martingale System, but it combines a simple concept with reduced exposure to big losses.

Bounce Back System

A proven NBA trend involves teams coming off of uncharacteristically poor offensive outings. Over time, these teams have shown an ability to bounce back in a big way on the scoreboard during their next home game.

To use the Bounce Back System, you will need to have a spot where a team is playing at home after a bad offensive performance in their last game. The best teams to use with this system are those with winning records that had a field goal percentage and point total that fell far below what is typical. Research has found that teams who fit this description exceeded their expected point total and covered the spread about 62% of the time.

The Bounce Back System can also apply to betting the over on NBA game totals. With the expected rebound in offensive output from the home team, this yields an increased chance of the game total going over, depending on the offered number.

Blowout System

The Blowout System runs counter to the Bounce Back System described above. When an NBA team wins by 15 points or more, a common misperception might be that they have momentum on their side and should be able to win their next game by a double-digit margin as well. In actuality, the opposite is more often the case.

A blowout victory in one game makes a similar result less likely in a team’s next game. Research has found that home favorites of 10 points or more who are coming off a 15+-point victory in their previous game cover the spread just over 42% of the time. This data would suggest that it is highly unlikely for a team to put together back-to-back blowout performances.

The source of the trend that gives the Blowout System its existence could be any number of things. Player fatigue, overconfidence, or an overreaction by the betting market to the previous game are all possibilities. Whatever the reason, look to fade double-digit favorites coming off a blowout win their last time out.

Back-to-Back System

The subject of back-to-back games has garnered attention around the NBA community in recent years, with the league working to cut down on the number of times teams are faced with this scenario on the schedule. Even so, they still do occur and aren’t necessarily uncommon either. The general trend for teams playing on a back-to-back is that they struggle with fatigue in the second game. While this naturally leads to performance dips, it is interesting to note that different teams struggle at different rates when playing in this scenario.

A 2016 study by numberFire examined the results of teams playing on a back-to-back that were either above or below the .500 mark in their season record. Teams with winning records unsurprisingly were affected less, losing just 5% more than average on the second night of a back-to-back. On the other hand, teams with losing records lost 11% more than normal. The other factor to consider in these spots is the location of the game. When the second game of a back-to-back came on the road, teams lost 18% more than normal.

As the data would suggest, the Back-to-Back System will be most reliable for betting purposes when the second game comes on the road. Combined with other research on the specific game and teams in question, the system is one of the easiest to implement.

3 in 4 System

Even with the league working to reduce the number of times teams are forced to play on no rest throughout a season, it isn’t exactly an uncommon occurrence for games to involve teams that are both playing their third game in four nights. In these scenarios, research has found that scoring is at a premium.

The probable reasoning behind the 3 in 4 System is that playing defense at a high level of intensity requires more physical work than offense. When tired, most players will opt to play less defense and save their energy for scoring. When a 3 in 4 situation arises on the schedule, the over on the game total is the advised play.

Tunnel System

Given the nature of the sport of basketball, the NBA is by far the highest-scoring of any major professional sports league. More points lead to more variance both in the real games and in the betting lines offered by sportsbooks. The Tunnel System is predicated on taking advantage of varying totals lines between books. Refer to the hypothetical example in the image below before reading about how to implement the Tunnel System.

Tunnel System Game

To deploy a Tunnel System betting strategy on the example game outlined above, you would take the over on the total line of 218 and then also bet the under on the total of 221. If the game total winds up landing between the two lines of 218 and 221, i.e. the tunnel, you would have won both of your bets. But even if the game total lands outside of the tunnel, you will still have cashed one of your two tickets.

The Tunnel Betting System does require its share of team research, given that you must have roughly 10% of your bets fall within the tunnel to be profitable long-term. With that said, profitability using this system is very possible considering that a total landing between two lines created and approved by oddsmakers is the most likely outcome.

Final Thoughts

NBA betting systems are a terrific supplement to your betting strategy. The various systems discussed in this article cover a wide range of scenarios and focal points that have the potential to yield an NBA betting edge. It is important to remember that these systems should not be considered the be-all, end-all when it comes to your NBA handicapping strategy. Incorporating power ratings, conducting thorough team and statistical research, and studying key trends are not things that can simply be replaced by a betting system. What these systems can do is serve as a guide to finding potentially profitable betting scenarios. In the case of the Martingale and D’Alembert Systems specifically, they provide a bankroll management template to help increase your chances of turning a profit. Consider implementing one or more NBA betting systems into your handicapping process.

Henry is pursuing a Communication Studies degree and a Psychology minor at SUNY University at Buffalo. He has been a passionate sports fan from a young age and got hisstart writing about Fantasy Football. In an effort to combine an aspect of specialization along with his enjoyment of any and all sports, Henry expanded to cover other Fantasy Sports while also foraying into the Sports Betting sector. He continues to relish every opportunity to learn, grow and network within the industry. He counts the New York Jets, Toronto Raptors, Vegas Golden Knights and San Diego Padres among his team loyalties. In addition to school and sports, Henry is passionate about health and fitness and is currently studying to earn certification as a personal trainer.

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