The NBA is back in full swing and while the Bettor In Green boys don't talk a whole lot of NBA on a day to day basis, it is a sport that I follow closely and bet often. Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the article, I will preface by saying that I am by no means an NBA expert. I keep up with NBA box scores, play in an NBA fantasy league, watch a few games a week and bet a few games as well. I am very familiar with teams and rosters but as far as handicapping the NBA goes, there are guys who do it far better than myself. That being said, I have found a few betting strategies that have helped me beat the NBA market in the past. I am coming off of an NBA season where I went 62.26% throughout the season and made just under 12 units in doing so. Almost all of my bets were made based off of these 4 strategies.
Back good teams when their star players are out.
This is my favorite strategy to look at in the NBA and with today's NBA being consumed by rest day's for star players, it is a strategy that we can use often. This is similar to the injured player theory that I often look at when betting the NFL. When a star player is out in the NBA, there is a huge line adjustment that is often too big of an overreaction. The lesser players on the team often times step up when the stars are out and with the inflated spread, I have found they often times cover. Pay attention to NBA spreads before and after a key player is ruled out and look to take advantage of the inflated spreads.
Fade teams in tough travel situations.
Travel is important to look at when handicapping any sport but I have found that it is the most important to look at in the NBA. Look to take advantage betting against teams who have had to travel in recent days. There are many different ways to look at this but I often look for teams who are playing the 2nd game of a back to back or a team playing their 3rd game in 4 days, both which involved travel. Playing multiple games in a short span of time is tiring enough, and when you throw travel in the mix, teams seem to lose steam as the game goes on. Look for teams who played the night before and had to travel over night to get to their destination for the game at hand, as well as teams playing their 3rd in 4 nights where travel was involved. I have found this to be a very profitable strategy in the NBA and have already made money betting this angle in the 2023 season.
Fade the public.
Fading the public is another thing I like to do across all sports, although once again, I have found it to be extremely profitable in the NBA. The NBA is arguably the most publicly bet sport and let's be real, most people betting the NBA on a nightly basis are far from educated sports bettors. Pay attention to line movement and how the public is betting games. If 80% + are on a side or total in a game and the line hasn't moved, or has moved against the public move, that is very telling what side you should be on. This strategy can take some time to perfect and it is often times hard to get to the window with these plays, however, they can often times be the best bets that you can make. If you don't feel comfortable betting some of the games against the public (cause trust me, most of the bets are ugly), at least lay off the game and don't bet the public side. This will be a profitable long-term strategy.
Play on the fishy lines.
The final betting strategy that I use when betting the NBA is playing on the fishy, or "trap" lines. The reason for the trap lines is often due to one of the scenarios listed above. When handicapping the NBA on a daily basis, the first thing I do is scroll through the slate and see if any lines jump off the page at me. When I find one, I dig deeper to find out why the line is what it is. It could be because star players are out, a team is in a tough travel spot, or maybe just a tough spot in general. Whatever it may be, the public will often line up on the "obvious play". Playing these trap lines can often be playing on a combination of the betting strategies that I look for in the NBA and these plays are often times my biggest plays throughout the season. Vegas knows what they're doing, they never set a "wrong" line. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
By using the 4 betting strategies listed above, I have found success in beating the NBA betting markets. As I said before, I am by no means and NBA expert, however, these strategies have helped me profit over the last few NBA seasons and can help you as well. When betting the NBA, I would suggest not betting these angles blindly but rather using them as guidelines to either make a play you're looking at stronger or perhaps keeping you from playing a a play that you're looking at. Whether you choose to play on these strategies or fade them, I hope you make money this NBA season.