Becoming a Successful NBA Bettor


The new 2021-22 NBA season is off and running, commemorating the pro basketball league’s special 75th anniversary. Do you want more of your NBA bets to be slam-dunks instead of air balls?

If so, you should consider some tried and true sports betting strategies that may boost your chance of making successful bets.

The NBA is popular among casual fans. Meanwhile, becoming successful at online sports betting requires you to do your homework and bet with your head, not your heart. In some situations, betting against the public consensus may be beneficial.  

Here are some betting strategies that may help you become more successful in placing bets on NBA games.        

Monitor and Analyze Injury Reports

Suppose you see powerhouses like the New Jersey Nets or Los Angeles Lakers listed as underdogs versus a significantly weaker team. What happened?

Review the starting lineup and injury report. Study how injured players will likely affect team rotations based on its depth chart.

One major factor is that only five basketball players are on the court at one time. This figure is compared to 11 players on each football team, for instance.

So one hoops player missing a game can have a significant impact, and especially if they’re an NBA star. 

Besides evaluating the impact of injuries, you can also anticipate which players a coach may rest.

For example, some coaches may rest star players on the second game of back-to-back games. They may also do this during the regular season’s last games if they’ve secured a spot in the NBA playoffs.

Watch for Major Line Movement

The public sometimes bets heavily on any particular team, such as a favorite, causing a big line movement.

In the NBA, it’s common for the line to move a half-point or full point in either direction. That said, a significant movement is generally considered a movement that’s 1.5 points or more.

Besides public betting, another common cause of line movement is “sharks” fading the public. Sharks (or sharps) are experienced or professional bettors who look for opportunities in every given betting scenario.

Like what sharps do, you should watch for line movement and figure out what’s actually happening.

Fade the Public

This betting method is also known as betting against the public or contrarian betting. Casual bettors often bet on NBA teams based on factors such as the favorite, home team, or teams with a reputation for having a powerful offense.

A good time to consider fading the public is during nationally televised games on networks like ESPN and TNT. Such games often include popular teams that the public bets heavily on.

These games often offer good opportunities due to inflated lines based on the average Joes betting on the favorite. This situation can make it challenging for the favorite to cover the spread.

Conduct Effective Bankroll Management

The NBA season is long, including an 82-game regular season and the new postseason play-in tournament.

It’s critical to stay disciplined throughout the season in terms of bankroll management. For example, you can bet the same amount of money and percentage of bankroll per game.

Consider focusing on individual games instead of parlays. While parlay bets offer bigger payouts, it can be tough to win each leg of a parlay bet. Keep in mind that you lose the parlay if just one of your picks is wrong.

Don’t Overvalue Home Court Advantage

A home team will generally get three points for home-court advantage. The figure can vary slightly based on how rowdy a team’s fans can get.

While casual bettors often wager on the home team, consider that this advantage has already been factored into the spread.

Sometimes the public bets more on the home team. This betting action can cause line movement and possibly an inflated line.

The opportunity can produce value bets if, as an NBA bettor, you deduce it will be tough for a home team to cover a big spread.

Consider Specializing

Each NBA bettor has strengths and weaknesses. One betting strategy is to consider specializing in your fortes. Some examples include particular NBA teams or types of bets.

Having more knowledge or experience in such areas may increase your chance of winning bets. 

For example, you may have more statistical knowledge about particular teams, such as the Milwaukee Bucks or Phoenix Suns. Focusing on one team can help you fine-tune your bets on those squads.

Another option is to bet on particular bet types, such as point spread, over/under, or moneyline. Tracking your bets can help determine the bets in which you are more familiar and comfortable. 

Divisional Unders That Drop

Besides betting on favorites and home teams, the public also tends to pick the over. This term refers to bets over or under the projected combined score of the two teams.

The explanation is that the public likes watching high-scoring games. However, such betting can cause the total score to spike, possibly making the under a value bet.

While you shouldn’t bet the under automatically, consider this pick in divisional games in which the total drops at least one point.

The reason is divisional teams play each other numerous times during the season. This situation can result in lower-scoring games as a team will often become familiar with the game plan of divisional rivals.

When betting totals, another factor to consider is the “pace,” or a team’s average number of possessions. A high pace is ideal for overs, while a low pace favors unders.

You should also consider factors such as high-powered offenses or defensive-focused teams. They can affect whether a team puts in more or fewer points on the scoreboard.

Look for Scheduling Advantages

Teams playing their second game in back-to-back games may have lower energy compared to teams that have rested at least one day. Back-to-back road games can be especially tough due to jet lag, for example. 

You can also find value in other scheduling factors. How many games has the team played during the past two weeks? Is it on a long road trip?

These factors may affect a team’s performance due to the players being exhausted from a string of road games.


These betting strategies can help you make better NBA bets. Consider combining several betting strategies into a single system to help you get a good bounce on your NBA bets. Good luck!


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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.