Top 10 Betting Tips For Wagering On Basketball For Beginners
Written by Ian
Published date · March 31, 2022 | Last Updated · Dec. 14, 2022 | Read Time: 7 mins
Basketball is second behind the NFL in terms of online sportsbook wagering. With that said, the NBA is growing in popularity year after year when compared to the NFL. With that being said, you may be inclined to now make a bet on an NBA game through a provided online sportsbook. Before you do that however, you may want to view our guide for the top 10 tips for betting on basketball for beginners.
One thing a bettor can always find value on is when the first lines come out. Whether the factors are that a star player is currently out but may be back when the game starts or if there’s another outlier factor to determine the outcome of the game, setting the first odds for a sportsbook can always be risky. This is where the value can be found for any sports bettor when betting on professional basketball.
Pay Attention to the Injuries
While an injury in any sport can result in a significant change in the overall betting odds, a player missing a game due to injury in the NBA can result in major ramifications for the overall result of the game. For example, the legendary run of the Golden State Warriors during the late 2010s was derailed when both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson suffered injuries leading to the team being one of the worst in the league. Before you make a wager, just make sure that there isn’t anyone taking a rest day or that you think is playing that actually isn’t in the starting lineup.
Home Court Advantage
It seems like pretty common knowledge that home-court advantage is a real thing and has a factor in the sports world. When it comes to the NBA however, the home-court advantage is not only a real thing but a large factor that can have a significant impact on the final Moneyline. According to data provided by ESPN, 61.2% of home teams have won their game at home since 1975. This number has gone down slightly over the last few years but is nevertheless a crucial piece of data to keep in mind when making your online NBA sportsbook wager. In addition to the general advantage of having the crowd behind the home team, there are also some home stadium factors that aren’t as apparent. For example, the home courts for the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz are in higher elevated locations, meaning that there is less oxygen when compared to your average NBA arena. It’s been well known that visitors to these arenas struggle a bit when it comes to getting acclimated to the oxygen levels.
The NBA is never shy when it comes to big named players moving teams. In today’s NBA, it’s more common to see star players moved from one team to another. These moves of course can have lasting effects, not only in the landscape of the NBA but when it comes to the online sportsbook odds as well. The latest example on how these moves can impact betting on the NBA is from the James Harden trade. Before being moved to the Sixers, the team had the 7th best odds to win the title with (+1300) odds. After the trade, however, the odds dropped all the way down to (+650) odds, which was then the 5th best to win the NBA title. While trade rumors must always be taken with a grain of salt, a smart bettor could see this potential move coming and could have made a wager when the odds were extremely favorable before the trade was made.
While following new acquisitions can be ideal for making future bets, be sure to watch the games/study the data of a new acquisition to a team before putting any money on the line. It can sometimes take players that are new to a team a bit of time to mesh into the system and there could be some growing pains before a player/team gets acclimated. A new star player might have a completely different way of playing or could have come from a team that runs an entirely different offense and may need time to adjust accordingly. While a new player acquisition is always exciting, just make sure that your expectations are leveled before wagering any money on your online NBA bet.
Don’t Bet On All The Games
While the thought of having action on every game on the schedule may seem like a good idea, don’t do it. To keep it simple, there is not value in every NBA game. If you look at the 2021-2022 season and see the Magic playing against the Rockets, it may be difficult to find a wager that the sportsbooks put out that are worth placing a bet on. While you may be eager to put money on at least one bet for every game, this is a sure way to reduce your bankroll and make short work of your NBA betting career. Only make bets where you’ve done the work, put in the time and effort to the matchups, and completely believe that you know what the outcome should be.
While the tendencies and statistics to mostly follow when it comes to making an online sportsbook bet in the NBA tend to be around the player, you can’t ignore the coach's impact on the game. While some coaches seem to be obsolete compared to their star players (looking at you LeBron), other teams depend on the tactics of their coach. Some coaches can even have an influence on a player's overall statistics when it comes to the coach’s tendencies. There are some coaches that have the habit of running their best players into the ground. While this tactic can be beneficial in the short term, this strategy can lead to fatigue, rest days in the upcoming games, and potential injury if players are pushed too hard. All these can have an effect on many types of future bets. While other coaches may rest players more often and even sit the stars while in the middle of a fourth-quarter blowout. This may signal a lower over/under metric and could affect the spread overall.
Know Your History
Believe it or not, grudge matches are a large part of the NBA landscape. Players traded to new teams always want to make a lasting impression on what the opposing team missed out on. When James Harden wasn’t re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he wanted revenge on his former team. Even while playing against two future MVPs, Harden, now with the Houston Rockets, had 46 points on his way to defeating the Thunder. With the Thunder favored in the matchup, it goes to show how far a player will go to perform exceptionally well against their former team. The stats don’t stop on a player-by-player basis either, according to a recent study, teams in the NBA playing the 2nd game of a back-to-back series only win 44% of the time. Meaning that if the same two teams were to face each other in two straight games, the smart money would be to bet on the team that lost the first game.
Geography Plays A Key Factor
With games all over the United States of America, some teams and players can get worn out by traveling alone, let alone playing in numerous professional basketball games. The teams on either side of the country usually have to deal with the miles traveled in the greatest capacity. For example, for the 2019-2020 season, the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings had to travel the most miles for the NBA season. However, teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, and Indiana Pacers had to travel the least. This metric of miles traveled is especially relevant near the end of the season when players are without breaks and have traveled numerous miles on top of playing in several NBA games.
Scoring and Pacing
This tip is especially important when determining a bet regarding the over/under wager. The first number to consider for each team is the “Pace Factor”. The Pace Factor is the average number of possessions a team will have per 48 minutes. Another important stat to look into is the average number of points a team scores in a game. Both of these stats have a give and take to them as the higher scoring teams typically have lower Pace Factor numbers and lower scoring teams have the higher PaceFactor numbers. This is because a team that relies heavily on a “fast pace” offense has a larger amount of turnovers and potentially bad shot selection. However, the best teams in the league will be higher in terms of higher number of possessions and higher scores per game. An example of finding value in these games is when two teams that match both the criteria of high “Pace Factor” and higher scoring play each other. Bettors should be making the over bet when making any wager between these two teams.
Where Are The Points Scored?
It’s incredibly important to look at the overall statistics on how a team scores their points. A team like the Golden State Warriors are an outlier but they’re a good example of a team that “lives or dies” by the three. This means they rely on the three-point shot and that’s their strategy whether they’re hitting all of their shots or missing all of them. The three-point shot however is the easiest to go cold and can easily affect the final scores and outcomes of the game. Teams that focus on points in the paint compared to points beyond the arc are more consistent and are less likely to go on cold streaks. Make sure that you look at the differences in how teams score their points when looking at the Money Lines and Over/Under wagers.