How Not To Suck At NBA Betting

Part 5: Assess the Situation(s)


The 82-game NBA regular season covers a grueling seven months. Sixteen playoff teams (8 from each conference) then begin a hotly contested two months of playoffs capped by the NBA Championship in June.

So rest assured – there will be multiple opportunities to find good spots for NBA bets over the course of a full season.

Whether you decide to track and follow one team over the season or you’re a “weekend warrior” that likes to place some single-game bets or multi-game parlays on the weekends, betting the NBA well does need a daily or weekly assessment of some situational factors.

What’s the Story?

These situational assessments require building a base of knowledge about the team, players and matchups you’re interested in betting to answer questions such as:

nba tips for betting

  • Is either team on an extended winning or losing streak?
  • Are any key players injured or potentially being rested?
  • Where does this game fit into each team’s schedule:
    o Is this game part of an extended road-trip or homestand?
    o Is this game a team’s first home game following a multi-city road trip?
    o Is this game part of a “back-to-back” scheduling on consecutive games?
    o Does this game precede or follow a game against a tough divisional match-up or a top-5 opponent?
  • Are there any trends that have emerged from recent meetings between the two teams? (i.e. if the 5 of the last 6 games between the Pistons and Bulls have been won and covered by the home team, that’s a strong trend to consider for their game tonight.)
  • Has there been any significant line movement in terms of points spreads or game totals from the opening lines?

You can always dig deeper into trends and stats for both teams and players but this should cover the most important aspects of the match-up at hand. This is also really just an extension of the “spots” you’ve been on the lookout for as per the previous article.

You don’t have to be an expert on every aspect of this stuff. But knowledge is power when it comes to NBA betting, so the more you know about the team you’re about to bet on, the better your chances of winning will be.

Start tracking your bets – At least a little

Point Spread BettingOnce you begin to place NBA bets, it’s important to track and keep your own records.

You don’t have to become an Excel monster and chart a dozen different stats and lines surrounding every dollar you put down.

But it’s definitely an advantage (and good basic practice) to:

  1. Track your wins and losses and return on investment (ROI) for each dollar bet (A positive ROI is always the goal).
  2. Understand the circumstances where you do well and back off in situations that have not been profitable. If you’ve lost 3 of your 4 multi-team parlays, perhaps it’s time to either play parlays with fewer legs or back off from parlays altogether and just play sides and totals.
  3. Identify teams where your records show you have the most success. If your records show that the Utah Jazz have not covered the number in your last 3 parlay losses then, quite simply, avoid betting the Utah Jazz!

Try making your own spreads

As you build your NBA knowledge base, do more research and track your betting ROI. A helpful exercise is to try and create your own point spreads in advance of the release of the opening lines.

Try looking at a slate of NBA games before the opening lines have been posted and formulate your own point spread (consider using Oliver’s four factors described in the first article in this series).

Let’s say the Bucks are at home facing the Clippers on a Sunday afternoon. You feel strongly that the Clippers are an even better team now that Paul George’s back in the lineup and Kawhi Leonard is fully healthy.

You do respect the Bucks and know that they haven’t lost at home for a while. You look at average home and road scoring for each, common opponents, scheduling factors and conclude that your line is “Bucks -3.”

When the game line opens at “Bucks -6.5” you sense a potential opportunity to seize this variance of 3.5 points to look more closely at a bet on the Clippers.

Again, what might be driving this? Have the Clippers announced that George or Kawhi will be rested? Did another key Clippers player (i.e. Lou Williams or Montrezl Harrell) get hurt in the previous game?

Regardless, well done as you’ve taken the first step in building your personal data bank for this Clippers-Bucks game. Now all you have to do is trust your read and watch it pay off.

Next Up: NBA Live Betting FTW

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