For those of little knowledge of how to bet the NBA, Insider Sports Report has put together a little cheat sheet to enlighten you. Let's start with a few basics and move our way up to the main course.
First of all, there is a point spread offered before the game. So, if the Celtics were playing the Knicks, and you saw a line that read the Celtics were -3, that means that the Celtics need to win by 4 or more. If they win, but only by 2, you loose.
You can also bet what is called the moneyline, so taking the same example, if the Celtics have a moneyline of 110 for the game, you need to bet 110 dollars to win a hundred. If you bet the underdog in the same situation and they pulled the upset, then if you bet 100, you would win 110.
Finally, you can also bet NBA totals, also known as the Over/Under, in which you can guess the total amount of points that will be scored in a game. For example, if the O/U of a game is 175, and you bet the under, if the score is 85 - 80, you would loose since the total only reached 165. Had you bet the over, you walk away with heavier pockets.
Here are some other keys in how to bet the NBA:
Injuries: Take a look at the injuries a team has undergone before you lay your money down. If a dominating center is coming to town and the home team's guy is hurting, or even better, there are multiple injuries, it might give you some extra knowledge to battle plan with. Covering the spread is tough to do with the 8th and 9th man on the bench getting 10 plus minutes. However, don't forget the oddsmakers know about injuries as well. The key is attributing the correct value to the injury.
Live Dogs: Let's face it. Everyone in the NBA is capable of putting up a solid game, so when you see a home team as an underdog, no matter if they are dwelling in the cellar, those squads have young ballers who do not want to get faced at home. Check the injuries for the visiting team and see how many back-to-back games they have played. Some of the bad teams in the NBA get up for games against the league's best, especially at home. Motivational factors play into handicapping, as any oddsmaker will tell you.
Public Teams: These are teams that, much like the Raiders in football and the Yankees in baseball, have a huge fan base that likes to bet. The Lakers are the biggest public team in the NBA, so you will rarely see them as a huge underdog. Betting against public teams with a team you have been studying can help make big loot in certain situations, especially during the weekends or TV games, when Joe Public just puts money down on his favorite team.
Overnight Lines: These are the first lines that come out on a game. During the time leading up to the game, these usually change depending on the latest injury reports or the amount of action being laid on the game. If you see a line that jumps out, watch to see if that line moves the next day. If you guessed right, the next time you catch something, put your money down and know that you've stayed ahead of the game.
Homework: Reading the local papers can be key in successful NBA handicapping. Doing the proper homework can help identify weak lines. That's right people. Just like those that have success with the stock market, the best NBA bettors log plenty of hours researching and formulizing. At most books, the NBA is the No.3 sport in terms of handle after college and pro football.
Blind Dates: If you don't know, don't go there. Before dropping cash on a team, make sure that you can not only name their starting 5, but be able to name the majority of reserves as well. The more you know, the better your arsenal in the quest for profits. Again, by following an online version of a city newspaper, you might find something the bookies didn't. Remember, you have time to concentrate on one game while a bookie could have more than 100 to analyze on a busy weekend.
If you're truly ready to get deep, take the advice of the Godfather and "Keep your enemies close." Make sure you know who's going up against your money. If you are up against the sharp money, you are probably on the wrong side.
Big Lines: As the season winds down, teams already secure in their playoff position will sit their stars late in the game with big leads, allowing the upstarts to close the gap and cover the spread. Later in the season, the lines get smaller, so keep and eye out for one to take advantage of.
The Crowd: At the bottom of each box score, you can usually see the attendance number for the game. If the arena is always half empty, you can be sure the home team is not only loosing games on the court, but the hearts and minds of their fans as well. A hot road team coming into a building against a team that gets lackluster support from the fans is a better bet to cover.
On the Road: See if you can get a little love for teams playing out the end of a long road trip. This can work either way. If a team that has been slumping all season suddenly gets hot on the road, they might be in a zone and be able to cover by sneaking up against one of the elite teams in the league who think they have a 'gimmie' lined up.
Chemistry: This goes back to looking in local papers to see what the players are saying about each other in the press. For example, a team that has some inner feuding going on might be great to bet against either on the moneyline or against the spread, as the will to fight goes away quickly without team harmony.
Unloading: Teams heading for the lottery will be unloading salary cap baggage to would-be contenders, so watch all of this carefully. Blending into a team's offense is hard enough, but getting the defensive rotation down is another. You can probably make some money on your totals bets here, most likely on the team that has gotten the weaker, low price player. Look for high scoring games just after teams make a trade.
Rumors surrounding me Everyday: Listening to Local Sports Radio shows can give you an edge as well. Most stations broadcast over the Internet, so take a listen in the headphones at work to see if you can pick anything up.
Make Your Own Lines: Before you go to bed, make lines for the following day's games. Then compare your lines to those that the oddsmakers release. You may find a game you really like if your lines are a few points off from what the oddsmakers have.
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