Basketball Betting Strategy

Basketball Betting Strategy

As one of the most popular sports to bet, sports bettors have been making money on basketball for years and show no signs of letting up anytime soon. While the sport itself is simple and the bets on the sports are also simple, the strategy can sometimes be a bit confusing knowing where to start. Ultimately, you will probably develop your own strategy to beat the books, but we can help by giving you some tips to get you headed in the right direction to "making some serious coin." It's our understanding that is how the cool kids say making money.

The best way to utilize these strategy suggestions is to use them as a guide for developing your complete betting strategy. While most of them are meant to be taken literally, it's important to remember that they are meant to be a piece of your overall strategy, not the entire strategy. These tips should work hand in hand with your own strategies and should help to direct the way your mind works to develop your strategy. Basically, don't let one tip below be the only way you pick your bets. Use them as pieces of a more comprehensive betting strategy based on your knowledge base.

Points in the Paint vs. 3-Pointers

Paying attention to how a team makes most of their points can be important when looking at consistency. A team that relies heavily on 3-point baskets is great, but it's a lot easier to go cold on shooting 3-pointers than it is on posting up and driving to the basket.

Teams that focus more on points in the paint are going to be more reliable and are going to be less susceptible to cold streaks.

Keep this in mind when looking to pick game winners as well as if you are making bracket bets for the tournament in college basketball. The winning team in the NCAA tournament is almost never a team that makes most of their points from beyond the arc. Those teams are great to look at for upsets, but not for long-term consistency and deep runs.

Check the Team's Schedule

Fatigue plays a huge role in the success of teams in basketball. Unlike sports like football, teams play a lot of games and their schedules vary, often with multiple games throughout the week. Take a look at how many games the team has played recently and if they're on a long road trip or something like that. If a team is playing their fourth game in five days, you can bet that they're going to be tired which means they'll be slower and less likely to perform well.

Looking at the location of these games is also important as away/road games will definitely take a bigger toll on a team's energy. Also, look at how far they have to travel for their games. If they are going cross country back and forth for every game, the travel is going to wear on them even more. You should also take a look at what point it is in their season as the effects of this don't usually start coming in as heavily until after the first quarter of the season. The later in the season it is, the more this is going to be an issue and the more opportunities it will create for you.

Road Favorites After a Blowout Loss

A popular betting strategy is to take a look at teams that are favored in an away game after getting blown out in their previous game. These teams are clearly strong enough in talent to be still favored on the road after a big loss which means they have a lot of actual talent and substance that the oddsmakers still like.

These teams are also going to be fired up after getting embarrassed. Teams that have been blown out by 15 or more points and are still road favorites in their next game have covered the spread over 60% of the time in the last 10 years.

Big Home Underdogs

No one likes to lose at home in front of their own fans. This seems to be true when it comes to basketball as well. Teams have a strong tendency to cover the spread when they are big underdogs (10+ points) at home.

A lot of this has to do with the emotional desire to impress at home, and a lot of it has to do with the other team usually letting off when they're up quite a few points. They'll put in second stringers and rest their big names because it only matters to them if they win, not by how many points. Even though we care about the spread, teams playing the game do not. A win is a win, and a loss is a loss to them.

Watch for Moving Lines

One of the best ways to dominate sports betting of any kind is to recognize that there are experts out there who are practical geniuses at sports betting. If you're one of them, this won't affect you as much, although it always helps to know what the other experts are doing. If you see a line moving one direction after the public has bet heavily on the other side, you're probably witnessing the experts taking advantage of the uneducated public.

Historically, the general public has not been very smart when it comes to sports betting. They bet with their heart instead of their head way too often and are too eager to jump on trends that don't mean anything. There's a reason sports books are so profitable. This creates a lot of opportunities for the expert bettors. Here's what we mean with an oversimplified example.

Let's say the Orlando Magic are -6 points to win a game and they're playing the Knicks. All the sports outlets and the media start talking about how great and underrated the Knicks are, and the public starts betting heavily on them. The line moves quickly to the Magic -3 reflecting all of the public betting on the Knicks. If you start to see the line moving back the other direction, like back to Magic -4, you are probably witnessing the smart money taking advantage of the public's over-eagerness to get on trends. When you see this, you should bet with the experts.

It's important to point out that you don't have to wait for the other experts to start betting the line the other way to jump on an opportunity created by the public.

If you see a line moving one way and you think it's way off because the public is betting based on their hearts and popularity, definitely bet the other direction. You may still want to wait a little bit to see if it moves any further in what you think is the wrong direction. For example, in the above example, after the public starts betting what you think is incorrect, the line will move from Magic -6 to Magic -5. You could bet it right then if you think it's now a great bet or you could wait and see what happens. If the public keeps betting it, the line will move further and further in your favor making your bet much more attractive. The worst thing that can happen is the line corrects back to its original point, and then you just don't bet on that game. You can also bet the game at -5 and then bet it again if it moves further if you think they're both good bets.

Finding the perfect timing to jump on moving lines is an art form and one you will have to perfect as you go along. We also want to make sure to point out that just because a line moves does not mean you have to bet on the game. You should really only bet on the game if it fits with your strategy and you think it is a good pick. You also want to be careful to make sure that the line movement is from the experts correcting bad betting by the public, not the other way around. The sportsbooks are great about putting out good lines, but they do make mistakes. If they put out a bad line, the experts will start betting it immediately, and it will correct quickly. Don't confuse this with the public incorrectly moving the line.

To make this all easier, here are some quick tips to go along with this strategy.

  • Know WHY the line is moving. Don't just bet because it moved.
  • Only bet if you think the new line is a good bet. Don't just bet because it moved.
  • You don't have to wait to jump on a bad line, but timing and waiting can be beneficial as well.
  • Sportsbooks are wise, but they still make mistakes too.
  • Sometimes the public will be right.

Watch Out for Your Favorites

We mentioned a few times above that we can find opportunities to take advantage of the betting public's willingness to bet with their heart instead of their head. The obvious caveat to that is that we don't want ever to be the ones that other people are taking advantage of. The best way to do this is to be careful when we look to bet our favorite teams and be careful who we get news and advice from and how we choose to interpret it. Let's look at each of these briefly.

We all always want our favorite team to win. Because of this, our brains work to find the ways that it is possible, even if it is not probable. This is great when you are being a fan because it gives you hope and can make the game watching experience much more enjoyable. As a sports bettor, though, it can spell impending doom. This improbable hope can cut into your profits if you let it bleed into your picks and strategy. The best advice is probably to avoid betting your favorite teams unless you are sure of something with your strategy. It's tough to be unbiased, and there are usually a ton of other games to choose from.

The second thing we mentioned is being careful who you get advice and news from and how you choose to interpret it. The public loves to glamorize stories and underdogs, and they are professionals when it comes to hyping up games that might not actually be as close as they say it might be. It's important for you not to get caught up in these stories and let it affect your betting strategy. The best way to protect yourself against this is to be careful of where you get your news and information from and make your picks as independent of other people's opinions first. After you have made your pick, you can reach out to others and read other opinions and see if it changes the way you have chosen to bet. Just don't let it control you and don't become a member of the dreaded "general betting public."

Cherry Pick Your Games for Value

It is no secret that the odds makers are good at what they do. Most of the lines they put out are going to be spot on and will make finding value a challenge. That doesn't mean that value does not exist. When there are lots of games going on, it's much more likely that you might be able to find some lines with mistakes in them. Smaller games in popularity are also going to have less time spent on setting their lines. There really is no secret to when to try and find bad lines. The key is to have a strategy in place that helps you spot these lines and take advantage of them.

One of the best ways to do this is to set up a system to where you determine what you think the line on the game will be BEFORE you actually look at the lines. Then you can bet on the games that look to have value to you. For example, let's say you are going to be betting NBA games and you want to bet three games. You pick the following games

  • UNLV vs. Gonzaga
  • Florida vs. South Carolina
  • Miami vs. Duke

Now, BEFORE you look at the lines and point spreads on these games you work your strategy and try and figure out what you think the spreads should be. You determine the following:

  • You think UNLV will lose by 6 points.
  • You think Florida will win by 4 points.
  • You think Miami will lose by 2 points.

So if you were the odds maker, you would set the lines at:

  • UNLV +6
  • Florida -4
  • Miami +2

When you check the actual lines at the sportsbook, you see the following:

  • UNLV + 8
  • Florida -4
  • Miami +1

In this situation, you would do the following:

  • 1Bet on UNLV because they can lose by eight points according to the book instead of the six you think they're going to lose by. You think that UNLV will do better than what the oddsmakers think.
  • 2Don't bet on the second game because you think the line is correct.
  • 3Bet on Duke because they only need to win by one point instead of the two that you think they are going to. You think that Duke will do better than what the oddsmakers think.

The point here is to determine how you think the teams will do and what you think the spread should be before you look at what the book has posted. This will protect you from being influenced by what they predict and will also make it much easier to spot value bets.

Check the Lineups

This is a fairly basic tip that unfortunately is ignored way too often. When you're betting on games, make sure to check injury reports and rosters before you make your wager.

For Example

Let's say you see the Golden State Warriors are playing a game and are only -2 to win against the Knicks. You think this is an incredible value and can't believe the book would post such an awful line. What you forgot to look up, though, is that Steph Curry, their star player, is out along with two other starters. This happens a lot especially with long seasons and a lot of games to be played.

Make sure that the players you are banking on to help you win your bet are actually slated to play in the game. It only takes a few minutes and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

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