No sport seems better suited for live betting than basketball.
Unlike hockey or soccer, basketball is high scoring, leading to plenty of fluctuation on the live betting odds. And unlike baseball or football, both teams in basketball are capable of scoring at any time as possession changes several times per minute.
NBA live betting isn’t just exciting, it can also be very good for your wallet. Here are 5 tips to help you take advantage of some inflated NBA live betting lines.
1. Have a Plan Going In
Even if you don’t place any bets before the game begins, it’s a good idea to have an idea of which team you’re looking to grab a few extra points with on the live betting odds, or which side of the total you’re looking to bet on.
Set yourself a target for the odds you want on a team or total, then wait until you get it before you pull the trigger. For example, if you like the Spurs to win the game today but aren’t comfortable with laying -5 on the road, set a goal of getting them -150 on the moneyline. If you think the game will go Over the total but don’t want to bet Over 210, wait to see if the game starts slow and you can get Over 205 instead.
Knowing which side or proposition you want to bet on before the game will help keep you disciplined once the game begins. With all the live betting options at your disposal, it’s easy to get carried away.
2. Be Patient
The NBA is a game of runs.
You hear that all the time, but it’s absolutely true. It’s not uncommon to see teams overcome double-digit deficits to win games, especially if those teams are favorites who got off to a slow start.
The nature of basketball – teams can score one, two, three or even four points (getting fouled on a made three-pointer) on a single possession – means it’s pretty easy for either team to score 10 points in a row, or more.
Over the course of a 48-minute game between fairly evenly-matched teams, it’s pretty likely that each team will lead at some point. So rather than betting on a team once they go down a couple points, consider waiting a bit to see if their deficit gets even larger. Often times, you’ll find a coach calls timeout to try to stop the momentum, which can be a great time to strike.
It’s a bit of a guessing game to know exactly when is the right time to place a live bet, but you should develop a better feel for that as you do more and more NBA live betting.
3. Know Who’s On The Court
A lot of the runs in the NBA are due to the combination of players that are on the court for both teams.
An example of this was in the 2017 playoffs, when the Oklahoma City Thunder lost its first-round series 4-1 to the Houston Rockets. When Russell Westbrook was on the court for the Thunder, OKC outscored Houston by 15 points in the series. But in the 46 minutes of the series when Westbrook rested on the bench, the Thunder was outscored 137-79. By watching for when Westbrook left the game and then betting on the Rockets on the live odds, you’d have made a killing.
That’s a very extreme example, and teams aren’t usually so reliant on one player. But there are certain 5-man combinations that regularly dominate their opposition when they’re on the floor, and other 5-man combinations that get dominated (you can find this information by looking at the net rating statistic on NBA.com).
Wait for a strong or weak 5-man unit to be on the court, then pounce.
4. Watch The Shooting Percentages
Over the past 20 years, the league averages for field goal percentage in a full NBA season have ranged between 43.7% and 46.1%. The average three-point percentage has ranged from 33.9% to 36.2%.
Why’s that important? Because it suggests that over a span of 48 minutes, teams are pretty likely to shoot 40-50% from the field and 30-40% from three-point range.
When a team jumps out to a big lead, it is often because they’re shooting the lights out or their opponent can’t buy a basket. But as the game goes along and the sample size increases, it’s much more likely that the teams will see their shooting percentages either improve or regress to the normal rates.
If a team is within a few points of its opponent despite shooting 20% from the field, they’re probably outplaying their opponent in all other areas of the game. A live bet on the poor-shooting team would make a lot of sense because that shooting percentage is bound to go up.
And if a team builds a huge lead with an early barrage of three-pointers, it’s a great time to bet against them on the inflated live odds. Perimeter shooting can be like fool’s gold, lulling a team into a false sense of security and enticing them to keep taking lower-percentage shots. Once those three-pointers start to miss, a scoring drought probably isn’t far behind.
This can also apply to Over/Under betting. If there’s a lot of scoring early but the shooting percentages are unsustainably high, you can find some value betting Under on an inflated total. Vice versa for a fast-tempo game with a lot of missed layups and open three-pointers. Eventually, the ball will start going in the basket at a much higher rate, and you can take advantage with an Over bet on a total that is lower than when the game began.
5. Look to Middle
Sports betting is all about trying to maximize your chances of winning while minimizing your risk.
Middling a point spread or a total is a great way to do that. If you do it properly, you can have bets on both sides that are capable of winning, and you’ve minimized your risk because it’s impossible to lose both.
For example, let’s say you bet on the Dallas Mavericks +6.5 on the pre-game betting odds. Dallas gets off to a great start to the game, leading the Clippers by 10 points after the first quarter, and the Clippers are now +2.5 on the NBA live betting odds.
If you place a live bet on the Clippers +2.5, you’re guaranteed to win one of your bets since it’s impossible for Dallas and Los Angeles to both lose the game. And you’ve got a good chance at winning both wagers, as long as LA doesn’t lose by more than 2 points and Dallas doesn’t lose by more than 6.