NBA Betting Strategy Course 103
Any regular old Joe can look at a game and say “well, Team A is clearly better than Team B, so I think I will bet on them,” and half of the time they may be right. Unfortunately, that isn’t a long-term solution to being a profitable bettor and 50% correct isn’t going to be good enough. So how do you know what stats are the most important to factor in when making your bet. Is it just offensive and defensive numbers? Who scores the most? Who has the best record? The answer to those questions is both yes and no. Key stats like how many points a team scores and how few they give up are certainly important, but to be a smart and successful bettor you have to dig a little deeper into some more in-depth analytics and have a great betting strategy.
Rookie bettors all see to make the same mistakes. Mistakes that end up costing them in the long run. Beginners luck isn’t a reliable betting strategy. Become a better sports bettor and in turn a more profitable one, by learning from the five mistakes that most rookie bettors make.
5. Ignore Game Location
The first mistake rookie bettors make is ignoring the location of the game. This is always an important factor that you must consider before making any bet.
First off, where is the game being played? Let’s say Sacramento is at home against Atlanta and they are favored by three points. Sacramento has a record of 42-20 against an Atlanta team that is only 30-32, seems like Sacramento would be the obvious choice, right? Not always. Sacramento may be the favorite and at home, but we need to check to see how good of a home team Sacramento really is, and also how well Atlanta is on the road. It turns out, Sacramento is only 11-20 at home and Atlanta is a surprising 19-12 on the road this season. Now we can see why that spread is a lot lower than we would have expected without checking that key information.
Another reason that the Sacramento line is lower than expected could be due to the team’s recent schedule. It is important to always check a teams schedule and travel arrangements. Perhaps the Kings just came home after a late game in Detroit while Atlanta has been camped out in California for a couple of days because they played at Golden State two days ago. With a fatigued Sacramento team catching a late flight home and a well-rested Atlanta team already in town, that is another big advantage to Atlanta.
4. Ignore Key Stats
You can’t just look at a teams points scored and points allowed and think you have it all figured out. It is a lot more detailed than that. You have to look further than the basics.
A couple of key stats to always check before placing a bet are turnovers and points in the paint. Many people make the mistake of just checking a team’s total points scored and neglect to see where those points are coming from. A team that scores a lot of points from behind the arc is traditionally a tougher team to bet on (or against) as any given day that team can shoot lights out, or go cold as ice. Teams that score most of their points in the paint are usually more consistent teams as those are the easier points to score. Keep an eye on turnovers as well, a team may play at a fast pace and average a lot of possessions per game, but how many of those possessions resulted in turnovers? A team averaging 70 possessions and only 8 turnovers per game will get off 62 shots, but a team that averaging 75 possessions and 15 turnovers will only get 60 possessions. Those two extra possessions can be a big difference maker.
For bettors that like to place bets on the Over/Under, the number one thing you must always check is each team’s offensive and defensive efficiency ratings. It may seem like an easy bet on the over when the two fastest paced teams go head-to-head, but that’s not always the case. Go back to what we said about possessions and pace of play. Just because a team gets a lot of possessions, doesn’t mean they always score a lot. That is why it is important to check a teams offensive efficiency and see just how good that team is at turning those possessions into points. The same goes with defensive efficiency. How good is a team at turning opponents possession into empty trips?
3. Be Dumber Than the Numbers
Don’t be a sheep and just look at a teams numbers and take them as law. Dig a little deeper and see just where those numbers are coming from. Why is this team so good/bad at scoring? Are their stats so good because they had a weak schedule? Finding out these answers will help you better understand the team you are betting.
What does it mean to be smarter than the numbers? Well, let’s go back to our Atlanta vs Sacramento scenario. Let’s say its the second week of the season and the Kings are 4-0 and the Hawks are 1-3. Kings have better offensive and defensive numbers by a small margin. So we take the Kings because of the numbers, right? Not necessarily. Early season numbers are harder to trust due to their small sample size. So early in the year, it is important to check each teams strength of schedule and see who they played to get the numbers they got. You may find out that the Kings have barely beaten four teams that are 0-4 and the Hawks have played four teams that are undefeated and they lost in close games. Since it is early in the season it appears the Kings numbers may be a little inflated and will soon come down to their expected average as the season progresses. The same could be said about the Hawks. They may be better than their record and numbers show but have just faced tough competition to start the season. As their competition weakens throughout the season, their numbers will become better.
One other way to be smarter than the numbers is to see exactly where the numbers came from. You might see a trend like “Sacramento is 6-1 in their last 7 games against Atlanta”. Well, it is the first time these teams have played this season, and a new season means a new team. Just because Sacramento beat Atlanta from 2014-2017 doesn’t mean they are going to beat them now. So when you see trends like that, don’t place to much value on them unless they are relevant to this seasons team. Past success doesn’t mean current success.
2. Not Valuing Value Enough
Value is key to being a successful sports bettor. Sure, you can bet on the biggest favorite in the league every day and probably win 60% of the time. That doesn’t mean you will be profitable though. Placing five bets of $100 on five favorites whose odds are at -300 and winning three of them, doesn’t turn you a profit. In fact, you will be down $100. Finding the bets with the best value is key to being a long-term successful bettor
Not all bets are created equal. Some bets provide you with a lot more value than others, and those are the ones you want to find. You may see a line where two teams both have the same odds on the spread, let’s say -110. The home team may be favored by one point and on the moneyline they may be -120, compared to the away team being at +110. If you take the away team at +1, you are betting at a value of -110. However, if you place the bet on the moneyline(meaning they win the game straight up), you may get the odds at +110. For A $100 bet that is a difference of nearly $19. Giving up that 1 point provides a lot better value than taking the +1. There is also a very low risk in placing the bet on the moneyline compared to taking that free point. If the team you bet on wins, you win both bets. The only bad result in the difference in the two bets would be if the team you bet on lost by one point exactly. If you took the moneyline you would lose your entire bet, but if you took the spread line at the lower value, you would have gotten a push. The value in that extra $19 per every $100 bet is usually worth the risk of giving up that one point for a push bet on the spread.
1. Betting with Your Heart, Not Your Head
Don’t make the mistake of seeing a line on a game and immediately betting based off of what you are currently looking at. Spend the time checking to see just how that line got to where it is. What was the opening line? If a team is a four-point favorite, what where they when the lines came out the day before? More times than not you will find out that the line wasn’t at four points when it opened up, but maybe it was actually at eight! Why did the line move so much? There is always a reason for substantial line movements, whether it is injury or some other factor, you need to find the answer before placing your bet. Turns out a teams star player didn’t make the trip and won’t be playing in tonight’s game. Aren’t you glad you found out that information before jumping on that four-point line?
Keep an eye on teams known for resting their starters. Some teams have shorter benches than others, so their star players need to play more time each game. All of those extra minutes start to wear a player down and they need days off every now and then. Make sure you know if the team you are betting on likes to limit players or sit them for games from time to time. See how many minutes this team’s star player played in their last game, and make sure he wasn’t recently overworked. Remember what you learned in Course 102, follow those lineups!
Trust the numbers, they know more than your heart does. Another key mistake rookie bettors make is placing bets on their favorite team. Of course, we all like to believe our teams are always the best and can beat anyone, but that just isn’t reality. People who bet with their hearts and pick their favorite teams usually end up on the losing end more times than not. It is crucial that you bet based off of statistics and knowledge, not loyalty to your favorite team. Your betting to win money. Treat it like a job and you will be more successful.