The Basics
4 Min
how to bet

With 1230 total regular season game, plus playoffs, there’s no denying the NBA season is a marathon and a sprint.


For bettors, this offers a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the nightly ebbs and flows of a season and capitalise on trends that form with such a frequent stream of games. The flip side of this however, is that there also plenty of opportunities to lose money betting on the NBA if you keep making the same mistakes.


Luckily for you, the team here at Bet Basics has put together this list of common things to try and avoid when gambling on the NBA.



To be fair, this rule should apply to any type of gambling you do. A key trait of successful bettors is they are analytical, methodical and wager without letting their emotions interfere.


The challenge with the NBA, is that it’s more of a star-driven league than any of its top competitors such as the NFL, MLB and NHL. The league focuses its marketing on it’s biggest name players such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant and it’s easy for casual bettors to get caught up in this hype.


It’s not uncommon for the betting public’s money to come in support of that big name player without actually factoring elements that make up the bigger picture, such as recent form, travel schedules and how teams matchup in terms of playing style.


Putting aside your admiration for certain individuals and even your home town team to make wiser, well-informed NBA wagers is vitally important if you wish to keep building your bankroll.



In an ideal world, each NBA team and athlete would perform at their peak level on any given night. However, the reality of their frantic 82-game schedule, which sees them occasionally play on back-to-back nights while travelling across the United States, means that NBA teams and players can be prone to an off night.


The trick for bettors is to pay close attention to factors which might influence a team or player’s effort and performance and lead to them playing below the level expected. These include things such as how often a team has been playing, who they are playing, what games are on the horizon, how the team is doing in the standings, how much playing time a player is getting, the health of the team. Understanding how to weight these factors up diligently will help you make wiser moneyline, spread and player performance prop bets.




When watching the NBA, it’s easy to get caught up in explosive dunks, spectacular passes and long-range bombs that make the highlight reels each night and assume every game is going to be a high-scoring, offensive feast. 


While it’s true that the average amount of scoring in an NBA game has increased in recent years, sportsbooks are quick to adapt and set their over/under totals lines accordingly. Even though betting on the over probably makes for a more exciting game to watch (I mean, no one really enjoys watching two teams shoot bricks all night), profitable NBA bettors judge each contest on its merits and don’t let their fandom get in the way of them making smart wagers.


If you think the over/under total is set too high and you’re considering taking the under, it’s important to take each team’s defensive efficiency rating (i.e. the number of points they allow per 100 possessions) into account while also considering player matchups, game-plans and any possible injuries.



The most sensible time to bet on an NBA game is in the moments just before tip-off. At this point you’ll be aware of all the latest news that could impact the matchup, in particular any injures that might hinder a player’s performance and playing time, or rule them out of the game altogether. 

Too often will casual bettors place a bet early in the morning, only to hear later in the day that a star player is out with injury or being rested because of load management. The more information you have available to help you make your betting decisions, the better.

If you’ve found our list of what not to do while betting on the NBA helpful, it’s also probably worth checking out our top tips and strategies for successful NBA wagering. Once you’ve done that, make sure you visit our NBA Lobby where you’ll find all the news and information you need to become a profitable NBA bettor.

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