Basketball has been one of the most popular sports to bet on for years, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. While the sport itself is simple, as are the bets on it, the strategy can be a little confusing at times, especially knowing where to begin. You’ll probably develop your own strategy to beat the books in the end, but we can help by providing some pointers to get you started on your way to “making some serious coin.” That’s how the cool kids describe making money, in our opinion.
Best Basketball Betting Strategy 2023
The best way to use these strategy suggestions is as a starting point for developing your overall betting strategy. While the majority of them are meant to be taken literally, keep in mind that they are meant to be a component of your overall strategy, not the entire strategy. These tips should complement your own strategies and help to direct how your mind works to develop your strategy. Basically, don’t rely solely on one of the tips below to place your bets. Use them as part of a larger betting strategy based on your knowledge base.
Paint points versus 3-pointers
When looking at consistency, it is important to pay attention to how a team makes the majority of their points. A team that relies heavily on 3-pointers is fantastic, but it’s much easier to go cold on 3-pointers than it is on posting up and driving to the basket.
Teams that prioritize points in the paint will be more consistent and less susceptible to cold streaks.
Keep this in mind when picking game winners or making bracket bets for the college basketball tournament. The NCAA tournament champion is almost never a team that scores the majority of its points from beyond the arc. These are great teams to watch for upsets, but not for long-term consistency and deep runs.
Examine the Team’s Schedule
Basketball teams’ success is heavily influenced by fatigue. Teams play a lot of games, and their schedules vary, often with multiple games throughout the week, unlike football. Consider how many games the team has recently played and whether they are on a long road trip or something similar. When a team plays its fourth game in five days, you can bet they’ll be tired, which means they’ll be slower and less likely to perform well.
The location of these games is also important to consider, as away/road games will undoubtedly sap a team’s energy. Consider how far they must travel for their games. If they have to travel cross-country for every game, the travel will be even more taxing. You should also consider where they are in their season, as the effects of this don’t usually become apparent until after the first quarter of the season. The later in the season it is, the more of an issue this will be and the more opportunities it will provide for you.
Road Favorites Following a Defeat
A popular betting strategy is to look for teams that are favored in their next game after being blown out in their previous game. These teams are clearly talented enough to be favored on the road after a significant loss, indicating that they have a lot of actual talent and substance that the oddsmakers still like.
These teams will be fired up as well after being humiliated. In the last ten years, teams that have been blown out by 15 points or more and are still road favorites in their next game have covered the spread more than 60% of the time.
Big Underdogs at Home
Nobody enjoys losing at home in front of their own fans. This appears to be the case in basketball as well. When teams are big underdogs (10+ points) at home, they have a strong tendency to cover the spread.
A lot of this is due to the emotional desire to impress at home, and a lot of it is due to the other team usually letting off when they’re up by a large margin. They’ll start second-stringers and rest their big names because it doesn’t matter how many points they win, only that they win. Even though we care about the spread, the players do not. To them, a win is a win, and a loss is a loss.
Keep an eye out for moving lines.
Recognizing that there are experts out there who are practical geniuses at sports betting is one of the best ways to dominate any type of sports betting. If you’re one of them, this won’t bother you as much, but it’s always useful to know what the other experts are up to. If you see a line moving in one direction after the public has bet heavily in the opposite direction, you are most likely witnessing the experts taking advantage of the uneducated public.
When it comes to sports betting, the general public has historically been unwise. They make far too many bets with their hearts rather than their heads, and they are far too eager to capitalize on passing trends. There’s a reason sports betting is so lucrative. This opens up a plethora of opportunities for expert bettors. Here’s an oversimplified example of what we mean.
Let’s say the Orlando Magic are -6 to win a game against the New York Knicks. All of the sports outlets and the media begin to talk about how great and underappreciated the Knicks are, and the public begins to bet heavily on them.
The line quickly moves to the Magic -3, reflecting the public’s preference for the Knicks. If you notice the line moving in the opposite direction, such as back to Magic -4, you are most likely witnessing the smart money taking advantage of the public’s eagerness to capitalize on trends. When you see this, you should place your bets with the pros.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to wait for the other experts to start betting the other way to capitalize on a public opportunity.
If you see a line moving one way and believe it is off because the public is betting with their hearts and popularity, bet the opposite direction. You might want to wait a little longer to see if it moves any further in the wrong direction. In the preceding example, once the public begins betting on what you believe to be incorrect, the line will move from Magic -6 to Magic -5.
You could bet right away if you think it’s a good bet right now, or you could wait and see what happens. If the public continues to bet on it, the line will move further in your favor, making your bet much more appealing. The worst-case scenario is that the line corrects back to its original point, and you simply do not bet on that game. If you think both bets are good, you can bet the game at -5 and then bet it again if it moves further.
Finding the right moment to jump on moving lines is an art that you will have to perfect as you go. We also want to emphasize that just because a line moves does not obligate you to bet on the game. You should only bet on the game if it fits your strategy and you believe it is a good choice.
You should also be cautious to ensure that the line movement is the result of experts correcting bad betting by the public, rather than the other way around. The sportsbooks do an excellent job of providing accurate lines, but they do make mistakes. If they put out a bad line, the experts will immediately start betting on it, and it will quickly correct. Don’t get this mixed up with the public incorrectly moving the line.
Here are some quick tips to go along with this strategy to make things easier.
- Understand WHY the line is moving. Don’t just bet because something moved.
- Only gamble if you believe the new line is a good bet. Don’t just bet because something moved.
- You don’t have to wait to get on a bad line, but timing and waiting can be advantageous.
- Sportsbooks are wise, but they make mistakes as well.
- Sometimes the general public is correct.
- Keep an eye out for your favorites.
We’ve mentioned a few times that we can find opportunities to capitalize on the betting public’s willingness to bet with their hearts rather than their heads. The obvious caveat to this is that we never want to be the ones who are taken advantage of.
The best way to do this is to be cautious when looking to bet on our favorite teams, as well as to be cautious about who we get news and advice from and how we interpret it. Let’s take a quick look at each of these.
We’re all rooting for our favorite team to win. As a result, our brains work to find ways that it is possible, even if it is unlikely. This is great for fans because it gives them hope and can make the game-watching experience more enjoyable.
However, as a sports bettor, it can mean disaster. If you allow this improbable hope to permeate your picks and strategy, it can eat into your profits. The best advice is to avoid betting on your favorite teams unless you are confident in your strategy. It’s difficult to be objective when there are so many other games to choose from.
The second point we made was to be cautious about who you get advice and news from and how you interpret it. The public loves to romanticize stories and underdogs, and they are experts at hyping up games that may or may not be as close as they claim. It’s critical that you don’t get caught up in these stories and let them influence your betting strategy.
The best way to protect yourself from this is to be cautious about where you get your news and information, and to make your choices as independent of other people’s opinions as possible. After you’ve decided, you can reach out to others and read other people’s opinions to see if it changes the way you’ve decided to bet. Just don’t let it control you, and stay away from the dreaded “general betting public.”
Choose Your Games Wisely for the Best Value
It is no secret that the oddsmakers are skilled at their craft. The majority of their lines will be spot on, making it difficult to find value. That is not to say that value does not exist. When there are a lot of games going on, it’s much more likely that you’ll find some lines with errors in them. Smaller, more popular games will also spend less time setting their lines. There is no secret to knowing when to look for bad lines. The key is to have a strategy in place that allows you to identify and capitalize on these lines.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to devise a system in which you determine what you believe the line on the game will be BEFORE you look at the lines. Then you can bet on the games that appear to be of interest to you. Assume you’re going to bet on NBA games and you want to bet on three games. You select the games listed below.
- Gonzaga vs. UNLV
- South Carolina vs. Florida
- Duke vs. Miami
BEFORE you look at the lines and point spreads for these games, you should work out your strategy and figure out what you believe the spreads should be. You decide on the following:
- You believe UNLV will lose by six points.
- You believe Florida will win by four points.
- You believe Miami will lose by two points.
So, if you were the bookmaker, you would set the lines as follows:
- UNLV +6
- -4 for Florida
- Miami +2
When you look at the actual lines at the sportsbook, you will notice the following:
- UNLV + 8
- -4 for Florida
- Miami +1
You would do the following in this situation:
Bet on UNLV because the book says they can lose by eight points instead of the six you think they’ll lose by. You believe UNLV will perform better than the oddsmakers predict.
You should not bet on the second game because you believe the line is correct.
Bet on Duke because they only need to win by one point rather than the two you think they will. You believe Duke will perform better than the oddsmakers predict.
The goal here is to predict how the teams will perform and what the spread should be before looking at what the book has posted. This will protect you from being influenced by what they predict and will also make spotting value bets much easier.
Examine the Schedules
This is a fairly simple tip that, unfortunately, is far too often overlooked. When betting on games, always check injury reports and rosters before placing your bet.
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