The NBA season is over, and unless you are from Miami you are probably thrilled with the results. For a lot of bettors the end of the season means the end of thinking about the sport until things get going again in the fall — with perhaps a brief break to consider the outcome of the draft. Before you put your NBA betting to bed for the year, though, it pays to invest some time looking back on what happened, an ahead to what could happen next year. By putting a little effort in now you can be very well positioned when the season starts up next year. Here are four effective areas to look at:
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Look back at the playoff teams — While the playoffs are still fresh in your mind it’s a good idea to look back at what you saw and what it means. Which of the playoff teams looked like they were progressing and should be poised to take another step forward? Which ones exposed serious issues that they need to deal with if they want to get better? Which teams go into next season with something to prove? Which teams look like serious contenders, and which ones just aren’t good enough? By assessing where teams were at when their playoff run ended you have a baseline from which to better assess the impact of the changes they make in the offseason.
Make a first impression of coaching changes — By around the time that the playoffs end the majority of the coaching changes that are going to be made have been made — or at least you have a good sense of what is going to happen. You’ll need to wait until the coaches start actually coaching before you can get a true sense of what is possible, but making an initial judgment can be very helpful. Was it obvious that the previous coach needed to leave, or was it more of a surprise? Was the former coach popular with his players? Was the new coach the first choice of the team, or was he more of a default pick? What is the public perception of the new coach? Have the players registered an early opinion of the new coach? Does the new coach have familiarity with the team? Does his style mesh with what came before, or will the team be making dramatic changes?
Look back at your season — If you are only going to do one thing this is it. While the season is still fresh it’s crucial to look back at your records for the past season to see where you were brilliant, and where you struggled. Are there some types of bets that you are better at than others — for example, do you shine at totals but struggle at betting favorites on the moneyline? Are there some teams that you consistently bet on more often than others? Are you profitable when betting on those teams, or do they fail to reward you for your loyalty? Do you have some biases that you don’t realize you have that are impacting your results? For example, do you favor road favorites more than you should, or do you bet double-digit favorites regularly with unimpressive results? Quite often people make bets without realizing they favor them,, or even if they do know they are doing it the results might not be as good as they think they are. No matter how good an NBA handicapper is, he or she can have leaks in their betting that is draining their bankroll. By identifying those leaks and plugging them into the results you will be better in the long term. On the flip side, sometimes bettors are particularly good at picking winners in a certain type of situation, but they don’t realize how strong they are until they look closely at their records. Once they identify their strengths they can work to find ways to exploit these strengths to maximize profits.
Set preliminary goals for next year — I’m a firm believer that goal setting is an important part of successful sports handicapping. The end of a season is a good time to first think about what your goals are going to be for the next season. What were your goals for the past year? Did you meet them? Did you blow them out of the water? What parts of your game are you really happy with? What parts of you game need some work and some improvement? Did you spend too much time handicapping last season, or do you want to spend even more next season? Are there new skills you want to learn or improve? You’ll want to revisit your goals at the start of next season, but by setting some goals now while things are still fresh in your mind you will make more relevant goals that will push you harder and help you accomplish more.