Handicapping 101: The NBA

Are you a fan of the NBA and looking to get into building your bankroll by betting on the league? In this article, we are going to cover the basics you’ll need before making the jump into NBA handicapping.

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The NBA Season

Before we get into the betting aspect of the NBA, let’s cover the season and what it involves. There are essentially two seasons within the NBA: the regular season and the playoffs.

Your typical NBA season spans just over six months from start to finish. Each of the 30 NBA franchises plays 82 contests over that timeframe. There are two conferences, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference, as well as three divisions in each conference. 

Once the regular season has concluded, the top eight teams in each conference move onto the playoffs. The NBA playoffs are a grind in itself, typically spanning an additional three months of play.

Betting 101

The first thing to know when trying to gain an edge in betting on the NBA is knowing why the lines are set the way they are and what they mean. Staying focused on this area over the course of the season will allow you to find spots where the lines are off and ready to be wagered on. 

Additionally, the lines can also cause a bettor to be cautious and stay away from games where the line might not make sense.

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Player injury and rest updates are one of the biggest news items to follow if you want to be successful betting on this sport. There is no worse feeling taking a line you feel is off only to find out the reason for it one of the team’s starting players is getting the night off. 

You will also want to pay close attention to information on players that are playing banged-up or might have minute restrictions for that particular contest.

Next, you, the bettor, must track the schedule. It is self-explanatory, but teams do not fare well when they are fatigued versus when they are fresh. 

One of the most common practices amongst seasoned bettors is following the back-to-back games teams might have. Some bettors make it common practice to search our free sports picks. Whether it is back-to-back road contests or a road/home slate, those second games are always something to keep an eye on.

Another item to look for is what bettors call “line shading.” This term is used when bookmakers inflate a line anticipating heavy betting action on one side of a matchup. 

As a bettor, it is up to you to decide if the book is shading the line trying to encourage or discourage betting on a certain side.

Finally, the books are in place to make a profit. They make money by forcing the public to pay for the popular selection. With that being said, always fade the public choice.

Keeping Long-Term Success

Once you understand what to look for on any given night in the NBA, you want to put in place the foundation for you to be successful long-term.

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The first thing to do is to track all your bets by the team and by bet type. This can give you a good idea of which teams, divisions, or conference you might have a good read on and which teams you don’t. Keeping track of your bet type means tracking spreads, moneylines, parlays, etc. 

The bottom line in long-term success in betting professional basketball is tracking your results. In the end, it will help save you money and also make you more money.

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