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NBA Betting Mistakes Beginners Must Be Aware Of

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the USA. For gamblers, it is regarded as one of the most difficult regular season sports to profit from. What makes basketball such a difficult sport to profit from because it involves a lot many inconsistencies as it is less of a team play and is affected by the performance of each player.

That being said, as a gambler you might enjoy the challenge and if you are aware of what to do and what to avoid, you can be profitable at online sportsbooks. Here, we are covering some of the most common NBA betting mistakes that bettors do regularly.


Evaluating Home and Away For All Teams the Same 

It is a known fact that playing at home is an advantage for the vast majority of teams, regardless of sports. However, not all home-court advantages are created equal.

You don’t have to be a sports pundit to understand why playing at home is an advantage. First of all, the teams are familiar with the environment. Second, the crowd is on their side and above all, they do not have to travel long distances to and from the game. However, it is to be noted that some teams appreciate playing at home much more than others.

Let’s understand this with an example.

If we look at the 2019-2020 season of the Philadelphia 76ers, you will realize that despite their 6 seed in the Eastern Conference at the season’s end, the team led the entire NBA with a 31-4 record at home. On the road, however, the team has a dismal performance at 12-26. Now, if you pick 76ers then you need to ensure that NBA betting odds take the location of the game into account. The team is at a major disadvantage when they are away from the home.

On the flip side, for the same 2019-2020 season, the Lakers had an entirely different story. While at home the team was 25-10, they were faring a lot better at 27-9 on the road.

The takeaway here is that you should consider the location of a game and whether a team is playing at home or away. However, you need to recognize that the impact of this consideration will be different on different teams. Research on the past performances of the team to estimate how they are affected when playing at home and away on the road.

Overestimating Back-to-Back Games

In recent years, there is a trend of gamblers feeling the urge to lock every time they are betting on against a team on the second night of a back-to-back game. If you are beginning with NBA betting, then it will make a logical sense on the surface. Players on the road, playing back-to-back might get more tired and their performance might get affected, however, data shows that gamblers might be overrating the impact of this factor.

The research company studying the impact of this phenomenon for over 10 years, concluded that if you bet against the teams who were playing on the second day of a back-to-back, you might have won 50.7% of the time. Now, this is not a win, because when you factor in the 10% vig. you are losing money.

The reason for this occurrence is the sportsbooks know that NBA bettors will have these games circled, so these bookmakers set their odds accordingly. This is why there is no such thing as an easy win in the world of sports gambling. We understand that it will be a psychological correct decision to bet against the team in a back-to-back, but statistically, you will lose in the long run. That is not to say that you would have won if you bet on the team playing in the second game of a back-to-back. But the reality is this kind of bet is essentially a coin flip at best.

We would advise you against betting on back-to-back games unless you have some other factors that make you lean one way or the other.

Only Betting on the Spread

At the end of the fourth quarter, the NBA games have a knack for coming down on the wire. It is not that the point spread never comes into play in NBA betting but underdog routinely wins outright in basketball.

This is why if you consider betting on the underdog in any NBA game, you should take a closer look at the NBA betting lines and evaluate odds to decide whether they make a worthwhile play or not. Always keep the concept of value in mind. Moneyline is one of the best ways to maximize your winnings in NBA betting.

But beware that when you are betting on the Moneyline, you are dealing with the inherent risk of not getting any points. Still, the reward attached to that risk makes it a worthwhile gamble. We recommend that you focus on the games where the spread is roughly 3 to 5 points. Any Moneyline less than 3 is not going to offer you much value. If it’s more than 5, then it is most unlikely that the underdog will the game with any proper sense of regularity.

The concluding point here is to look for a value in every bet you make. If you are consistently able to put yourself in the position where you have a higher probability of winning more than you are risking, then you will be profitable even if you win less than half of your plays.

Ignoring Prop Bets

Generally speaking, prop bets are frowned upon. However, in the case of NBA betting, the prop bets can be particularly useful.

We are not referring to all the available prop bets, but the points scored by a particular player. Most importantly, the top two scorers on a team.

Predicting how many points will a player score on a given night is undoubtedly difficult, this is why you will have to use the odds to your advantage as well as public bias. Many expert NBA bettors save player props for the game following the night a team’s top scorer had a big night.  

For instance, if Damien Lillard drops 45 points in a game on Wednesday night, his point total over/under is most likely to be bit inflated. Assuming that Lillard scored these points making him significantly better than the next closest player, you can use this game to your advantage.

In the next game to this one, we would advise you to take the under on his point total and the over for the second-best player’s point total.

The reason for such a bet is, due to his last game’s performance, sportsbooks know that the public will be biased to take the over even if they set his point total a little too high. The over on the next-best player will be profitable as defences will be more focused on Lillard and he will get more opportunities to score.


It will be a lot harder to become profitable if you take the same approach in NBA betting that you would with other sports. NBA is a high-volume game which is why you need to adjust your strategy to find unique opportunities.

The value is of more significance in basketball as you are going to win and lose a large number of games. Your focus must be to put yourself in the position where your wins can help you more than your losses hurt, then you will be successful.

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