What to Consider When Making an NBA Pick
Betting on the NBA is a thrilling experience but is not without its challenges. There are plenty of factors that bettors must consider when they make a selection on an NBA game. Those factors exist both on and off the court and can be the difference between winning and losing NBA wagers. These are the most important factors that NBA bettors should think about before locking in their bets.
Injuries and Load Management
In the NBA, only five players are on the floor at one time. That makes star players much more valuable than they are in sports like football, where 11 players are on the field at a time. Because of this, injuries and player absences in the NBA are extremely impactful to the outcome of NBA wagers.
There is nothing worse than betting on an NBA team, only to find out after the fact that they are sitting one of their stars. To minimize falling into that trap, bettors should pay attention to injury news throughout each day. And in situations like back-to-backs, bettors should look out for patterns where star players may sit in the first or second night of those scenarios.
Every sport features situations that can be traps for bettors. In the NBA, those traps can be back to backs, games that are more important to one team than another, or games that are set to involve a resting player. The ability to identify situations where one team may not play their best basketball can be more valuable than knowledge of the statistical outputs of both teams.
A great example of situational handicapping comes in the form of analyzing road back to backs. Determining how meaningful the travel schedule of an NBA team requires a bettor to figure out how far they have to travel and what the time frame for that travel will look like. And, in most seasons, figuring out whether a visiting team is heading to a city known for its nightlife can be a factor as well.
There is more to situational handicapping than simply ascribing a narrative to a situation. Bettors should be able to look back at a large sample size of a situation playing out to a specific result to use it in their betting arsenal.
In addition to the aforementioned tips for handicapping what goes on off the court, bettors should also have a deep understanding of what the matchups are in each NBA game. Specifically, bettors should be able to identify where the mismatches are on the floor both for the starters and reserves of each team.
The quality of benches in the NBA is something that is often overlooked by bettors. A team with a strong second unit playing a team with a weak second unit has the chance to extend their lead or claw back from a deficit. While many casual bettors focus on the matchups between stars on the court, knowing which benches can swing a game in a bettor’s favor is important as well.
How to Pick an NBA Betting Site
With sports betting being legalized in many parts of the United States, there are many legal options for betting on the NBA. Picking which site a bettor wants to use to bet on the National Basketball Association can be a challenge. But if a bettor thinks about the following criteria, their decision may be made a little bit easier.
Availability of Betting Markets
The most important thing that a sportsbook can provide bettors is the ability to wager on a wide range of betting markets. Nearly every sportsbook gives bettors access to markets like the spread, total, and moneyline. But it is a sportsbook that offers much more than that that will be worth the time of more serious bettors.
A large number of prop betting options would be an excellent place for a sportsbook to start when offering additional NBA betting markets. With props available pertaining to individual player performance at many sites, prop bets have become a popular way for bettors in the know to wager on much more than just which side will win.
The ability to take part in wagers with boosted odds throughout the NBA season is also preferred. Boosted odds wagers feature bets at better prices than they are at other sportsbooks. This is a great way to derive added value from a sportsbook.
Cash Out Ability
In the NBA, the ability to cash out wagers before and during NBA games is a necessity. The reason this is more important in the NBA than it is in other sports is the presence of player absences due to injuries and load management. With teams having no qualms about sitting key players and announcing those decisions just before game time, bettors need to have an out if a bet they have made experiences a drastic change.
Unlike in football or baseball, there are only five players on the floor at a time in basketball. That makes the presence of star players all the more impactful.
And unlike hockey, players take days off regularly in the NBA. While it is important for bettors to keep track of injury and load management news before placing bets, the cash-out feature can act as a savior if announcements are made after bets are locked in.
User Experience is Key
Just as important as the features that a sportsbook offers, the user experience is also an important factor to consider when reviewing sportsbook options. Each NBA betting site needs to meet the needs of each individual bettor from a design standpoint. While it can be difficult to find out if a sportsbook checks this box before signing up, it is worth the time to surf around each site before making any deposits to figure out if each prospective book is usable.
A great example of this is the need for a sportsbook to meet a bettor’s device preferences. If a bettor is rarely at home, where they can use their computer, they will need a sportsbook that can be used on their mobile device. If an NBA betting site doesn’t have a quality mobile site or mobile app, it would not be worth using for that player.
NBA Schedule and Key Dates
The NBA season is in full swing, with the second half of the season underway. But there are still plenty of key dates worth keeping in mind during this season, as the most significant moments of the year are still on the way. Here is a look at those key NBA dates, along with some clarification on a new element of the NBA schedule.
Popular NBA Betting Markets
The NBA is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world from a betting perspective. With all of the interest in betting on the NBA, there are a ton of betting markets to choose from. These are the most popular betting markets in NBA betting, which span everything from the result of each game to markets related to individual player performances.
Point Spread Betting
Betting on the NBA against the spread is the most common form of betting on the National Basketball Association. In this market, the point spread is used to even out any perceived mismatches between two teams on the court. This is done by either taking points off of the score of the favorite or adding points to the score of the underdog.
The hardest part of spread betting is that rested players can cause massive swings in the betting lines. Betting on a favorite can be risky, as a one-star player sitting out can make them an underdog by the time the game tips off. The key here is to make sure you know who is playing on each side before locking in any action.
The moneyline wager is the market that asks bettors to simply pick a winner for an NBA game. Since the goal of every NBA team is to win their games, bettors are at least aligned with the players in their objective for this market. However, picking which teams win in the NBA can be more difficult than it sounds.
One way in which moneyline betting can be a challenge is that it requires bettors to understand the context of every game ahead of time. Things like back-to-back game nights or other factors that impact motivation need to be taken into account, as they can often decide which team comes out and plays harder.
The over/under, also known as the total, is an NBA betting market where every possession counts. Sportsbooks project a combined total score of each game for this market. Bettors then have to predict whether the total score of each team combined will be over or under that amount.
Teams in the NBA play a wide range of styles of basketball. Some teams play faster than others from a tempo point of view. And some teams rely on the three-point shot more than others. Bettors need to evaluate the stylistic matchup in each game to determine the best option when betting the over/under each night.
Perhaps the most interesting type of NBA betting is prop betting. Prop bets allow bettors to wager on everything from an individual player’s performance like points scored or rebounds to team-related props such as the first team to score in the game. These make up the majority of NBA betting options on each game.
The key to prop betting in the NBA is to take a deep look at what goes into a player’s scoring or other statistical contributions against each team they play. It takes more than a look at a player’s scoring stats to bet on their points scored prop, for example.
NBA Play-In Tournament – May 18-21
The NBA Play-In Tournament is the newest part of the NBA postseason. In this tournament, the seventh through 10th place teams in each conference will play for the right to enter the first round of the NBA Playoffs. This format gives more teams the chance to get into the postseason and adds to the intrigue at the end of the regular season.
In this format, the seventh and eighth place teams play one another, while ninth and tenth place do the same. The winner of the seventh and eighth matchup goes into the playoffs as the seven seed. The loser of that game plays the winner of the ninth and tenth place matchup, with those two teams playing a one-game playoff for the eighth seed in the playoffs in their conference.
With this tournament, the seventh and eighth seeds have two chances to get into the playoffs. That serves as their reward for finishing in the top eight during the regular season, though it can be argued that those teas are being punished by having to take part in this tournament in the first place.
NBA Playoffs – May 22 to July 22
Once the play-in tournaments are complete in each conference, the proper NBA Playoffs can begin. These are scheduled to take place over precisely two months from May to July, which is about a month later than usual due to the delayed start to the season after last year’s COVID-19 impacted schedule.
The format for the NBA Playoffs is the same as in previous years once the play-in tournaments are over. There are eight teams in each conference, with every playoff series requiring teams to win four out of a possible seven games to advance to the next round. In each round, half of the field is eliminated with no byes for any team in the postseason.
How long each series takes in the NBA Playoffs depends on the number of games are involved. Games in each series are typically played every two to three days.
Naturally, a four-game sweep takes less time to complete than a seven-game series. And the length of each series impacts when the next round can begin. A seven-game series takes about two weeks to complete.
The NBA Playoffs are finished off with the NBA Finals. The NBA Finals consists of a best-of-seven series between the champions of the Eastern and Western conferences.
This series is typically the measuring stick by which all great players are evaluated. Winning multiple NBA Finals as a star player virtually guarantees that a player will be granted entry into the Hall of Fame.