NBA HANDICAPPING INSIGHTS
Bob will not be offering NBA selections until the second week of the season (Monday, November 9), because the teams will be starting to show some form by then.
In Pro Basketball, winning and losing are often not the final criteria in judging a team. When one team plays better in defeat, than another does in winning, you can gain real value by seeing through the misleading results. When handicapping Pro Basketball, some fundamentals and considerations are not just the venue.
Remember the worst team can beat the best team on any given day. There is more pure skill and athleticism involved in basketball, than football. Scoring requires more skill than football. In a typical NFL game, there are only about 6-8 scoring situations, compared to about 100-120 in an NBA game. In basketball there are many more possessions and scoring opportunities for both teams. This better represents team skill and is less of a determinant in a game’s final outcome.
A handicapper has to constantly research his own and other records to be able to predict more accurately, pointspread and values to any number of situations; travel situations, both teams style of play, match ups, injuries and much more. The upside is basketball has more potential for profit. In basketball there are fewer men on the rosters, making it easier to keep track of the players. The ball is round and the playing surface is smooth, making luck and happenstance less of a factor in handicapping the contest.
The rules in basketball are the simplest of all major team sports. This changes the flow of the game and the quality of the talent prevails over the luck in other sports. The length of the NBA schedule gives the bettor much more opportunity for profit.
In the NBA, there are fewer men involved in a basketball game, compared to the injury-prone football. For this reason, it is easier to assess values to injuries in relation to a game. The pointspread can be adjusted with more accuracy than football except when a quarterback or star players are out. Basketball lines are posted the same day and the injury information is not always up-to-the-minute and may not be reflected in the line. Getting the information before the lines move, can be a big advantage for the handicapper.
NBA Basketball has about 4 times as many betting opportunities as in the NFL. It’s Sunday everyday during the NBA season. It is difficult to keep up with all the statistics, injuries and factors that influence every game. SPORTS INSIGHT will not make predictions until the third week of the season, because the statistics have not started forming yet. There are opportunities though. Young teams tend to be better prepared earlier than older teams. Aging veterans will not keep up their training programs as much during the off-season. Rookies and second-year men will be more durable. Early in the season, games figure to be lower scoring than later in the year. With all the extra pounds on the floor, bench players will get more playing time and the games tend to slow down late. Teams with the most new starters tend to make the most mistakes. Teams with the most players returning from last year will tend to do better than the ones with a lot of new faces, especially early in the season. The teams with a lot of new starters figure to take longer to get in sync.
There have been some obvious trends in the NBA in recent years. The best way to keep a coaching job is to average 50 wins, but there are many reasons for the turnover. Compared with the number of teams in the early 1970s, the NBA has expanded greatly, making it all the more difficult to win a championship. The media scrutinizes the coaches and constantly puts them under pressure. Today, high-priced players are more likely to complain to the management about their coaches or threaten to become free agents if they don’t get what they want. The bottom line is money. Teams pay a lot more for players than they do for coaches. It is easier to change coaches than players. Old owners paid very little for teams while new owners pay very big amounts. They want results much quicker.
Another trend is the proliferation of the 3-point shot. With its rise, the fast break and mid range jump shot, have become lost arts. The big men who dominated the game, back in the1970s, are almost nonexistent today. The average number of points per game has dropped dramatically, as the majority of threes still clang off the rim. The NBA originally adopted a 3-point shot before the 1979-80 season, to give the league a boost.
Handicapping Pro Basketball is very challenging because the schedules are so grueling that you can only guess at a team’s motivation until the playoffs. Most pro games are decided point-wise in the final few minutes. There is no compulsion for the favorite to win big, yet it usually has the talent to do so.
Due to their style of play, some basketball teams have a tendency to hang in against a better opponent. They may be losing teams, but discipline at both ends keeps them in the game. They can be spotted by looking at their pointspread trend. There defense offers a good clue.
Control teams occasionally get blown out when unable to dictate the tempo. Don’t be misled because they are disciplined. They are not inclined to lose big twice in a row. Pro Basketball teams are able to control the tempo better at home. Disciplined quintets that are able to do this are a lot less of a risk when playing over/unders.
Be leery of high point favorites that lack bench strength or killer instinct, check previous records.