Basketball is one of the fastest paced games around, showcasing extreme athleticism, incredible style and high drama. One thing’s for sure, there’s seldom a dull game of basketball, and basketball betting has the potential to be just as exciting.
In the short term, you may want to bet on certain games. The most popular market in NBA betting is the spread; essentially, predicting the points difference between two teams at full-time. NBA spreads are slightly more complicated than other sports; a typical NFL game will only have a spread of 7.5 points. However, when everything is taken into account in basketball – team form, individuals’ form – the point spread can be anything up to 35.
The NBA is another stat-soaked sport that's ripe for betting on. The high tempo and high scores may be off-putting for some, but the rhythm and reliability of the sport makes it perfectly suited to a simple, well-structured system.
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Basketball beginners shouldn't let the large-looking scores put them off. There are plenty of trends to be exploited in the points markets, and surprising ways to customise your strategies.
The match winner market is always the easiest place to begin a betting strategy, but with the NBA it's much more fertile ground. And that's because of one simple reason: the NBA is much more predictable than most American sports. The win percentages in the NBA last season ranged from 19.5% for bottom-placed Minnesota Timberwolves, up to 81.7% at top-placed (and champion) Golden State Warriors, with a surprisingly even spread in-between.
This means that the best teams nearly always won, and the worst nearly always lost. In contrast, in the 2014 Major League Baseball season, the worst performers were Arizona with a 39.5% win rate, but the season's most reliable team, Los Angeles Angels, only ended the season with a 60.5% win percentage. And half of the teams ended the MLB season with a win rate of between 45-55%.
The relative predictability of NBA results means that match winner markets rarely offer odds far in excess of evens, but the risk is low and value is still often better than mismatches in football.
Odds can be boosted by betting on a points spread. Seasoned gamblers may even want to consider collecting their tips into a single accumulator bet for far greater odds.
Outside of the match winner market, basketball betting has plenty more to consider. For example, despite the high scores involved, the total points markets can be surprisingly reliable too. In the 2014/15 NBA season, the average points per game for every team in the NBA was between 91.9 and 110.0. So no self-respecting punter should equate high scores directly to unpredictability.
The easiest way to translate your trend tracking into a points market strategy is to play the total points market. Bookies generally choose figures that give odds in the vicinity of evens, though some will offer higher odds on less likely scores, and those with value-led strategies can still consider accumulators.
Those more focused on minimising risks for a safer return might prefer the total match points markets which focus on one of the two teams: by picking a side you're more confident or familiar with, and staking a bet on their total alone, you're effectively halving your risk.
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