There are two things that follow the NBA around like a lost puppy: Young boys wanting to become stars, and gamblers wanting to win some big money through legal basketball betting options. Of course, you couldn't place the two on equal footing in any conceivable category, but the fact of the matter remains. The NBA is followed around by gamblers who love betting on basketball action, including getting in on lines for the Playoffs and the NBA Finals. Even the league's commissioner Adam Silver recognizes this fact and has called for legalized sports betting. Legal NBA betting is an extremely active segment of the gambling industry.
One of the biggest problems when betting on NBA action, however, is that there's always the potential to lose money. Unfortunately, more gamblers lose than win, and this is why sportsbooks and casinos are able to stay in business. But they don't exist by the "house always wins" motto. With a few practical tips and some caution in your betting practices, you can actually come out ahead when betting on the NBA, rather than losing and having to chase bets. Here are a few practical tips to keep in mind.
The first tip to keep in mind is that you need to be able to understand how the bets are structured. A quick pop quiz. What does this line mean? Atlanta Hawks -4 (-125). If you can read a line, then you know this line means the Hawks are favored to win the game by four points, and that you need to put down $125 to win $100, or $1 for every $0.75. And you'll know that betting the Hawks and having them win isn't enough; they actually have to cover and win by four points or more. So, being able to read the line in its entirely is your first step to betting. By doing so, you will be able to spot favorable lines. You may find a line that has a team favored by 12 points, with a favorable moneyline. In this scenario, taking the opposite team and the points can be an incredibly lucrative bet.
Because of Hollywood and the occasional highlight on sports media, we have become a culture that absolutely loves the underdog story. It's to the point where many gamblers simply bet on the long shots because they're long shots; no discernible rhyme or reason, just because they're underdogs. This is a quick way to lose a lot of money. If the Cavs are playing the Raptors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and the Raptors are dogs by four points a game, they're dogs for a reason. Sure, there's a lot to win if the Raptors can actually win, but the odds here are simply too long. Chasing such a bet is going to leave you chasing in every round. Go with smarter, more logical betting choices, not would-be miracles.
The NBA is loved almost universally because of its above-the-rim, high-scoring nature. This means that a lot of O/U lines you see are going to be in the neighborhood of 170 points or higher. But what do you when you see a suspiciously low line? Say that you've just seen a line that's only 140, or even 160. Do they know something you don't, or are they simply trying to induce action on all sides? The odds of the NBA suggest that teams are going to score a lot of points. Particularly in the Playoffs, many of the games go into overtime, which is an automatic extra 10-14 points per team. So, if you see a line that looks relatively low, always take the over. The odds suggest a team will score 100+ rather than being held to 80 or fewer.
Remember in the NBA that the stats actually mean something. Maybe you can't glean a lot of information about a team by seeing who has the better record. There's so much parity in the NBA that two teams might only be separated by two wins. What can you glean from these numbers? Next to nothing, if you're honest; but you can glean a lot more by digging into the stat line. Look at a team's shooting percentage, their defensive efficiency, their three-point percentage, and how they play at home vs. on the road. Stats definitely mean something in the NBA, and going with the team with better all-around stats is a much safer bet.
Many sportsbooks online are going to allow you to bet with other players in groups or in a head-to-head setting. This is a much safer bet than actually betting with the field or with the site. Why? It's because you can find a lot of novice gamblers taking "sucker" bets. Let's say the Spurs are playing the Thunder in the Playoffs, and the line seems a little out of whack. It has the Thunder -5 at the Spurs. This is a wild line, considering the Spurs are at home. By betting with people, you'll find someone willing to take the Thunder side of the action, and in a heads-up bet, you are likely to clean up consistently against novice gamblers who are chasing longer odds.
There are many ways by which you can improve your odds of winning bets on a sportsbook. There are plenty of bets to lay down on NBA action. Just make sure you use some practical tips to help you along when betting on your favorite teams.