NBA Home Dogs Have Some Bite
by Harry Brewer - 01/18/2007
The NBA has been a tough league to handicap for the last 20 years. The schedule is fast and furious and it is hard to keep up with injuries, suspensions, hot streaks and trades. Moreover, factors like revenge, travel miles, back-to-backs and coaching nuances are also to be considered. Many times there is less than 24 hours to get the line, handicap the game, and get your bet in before tip-off. There is often line movement from the time the opening number is released from the time the game goes off, so you have to know when the line is at its best. With 30 teams on the board, it may be too much to handle for someone who does not do this research every day.
The good news is that the bookmakers also have their hands full and if you know what to look for and where to look for it, you can win. Oddsmakers have a myriad of sports to post numbers on each day, so there can be deficiencies in the line. On posting NBA odds, Bodog bookmakers talked about some of their own difficulties. "In the NBA, it is generally tougher to find the right number. There are a number of factors to be considered. For starters, the team's wins and losses record, whose players are on a scoring hot streak and which teams rise to the occasion when they are playing a stronger team but then lay an egg when playing weaker opponents. Another big thing is injuries to the star players and how the remaining players respond."
When it comes to gambling I know that bookmakers have great resources and normally do a terrific job so I have no intention on reworking what they have already done. It doesn't make much sense to spend time factoring injuries, scoring streaks, and wins and losses. The bookmakers in the previous quote just told you that it is already factored in the line! To factor it a second time would yield you inaccurate results.
What can be an advantage is deciding if the public has overvalued or undervalued certain injuries. The bookies set the line with the public in mind and the public often overemphasizes injuries to star players and underemphasizes injuries to lesser-known players that might have just as much of an impact on the outcome of the game.
Nevertheless, in NBA capping it is crucial to focus on certain aspects of the game in order to develop your handicapping strategy. Home underdogs are a great place to start. "Squares," or recreational bettors, are quite reliable when it comes to betting favorites and for that reason alone it is not unusual to get great value in a dog.
Another reason that may be even more revealing is that the NBA sells tickets. Ticket sales are tied to the success of the team and the "star power" of that team. Ticket sales for any given NBA team are higher on weekends than weekdays for obvious reasons. The majority of those sales are people wanting to watch their hometown heroes. The family night crowd, if you will. The exception of course, is when the visiting team has more "star power" than the home team. When Kobe Bryant or other big names roll into town, ticket sales are higher. In the light of all that, I am not surprised to find that Home dogs have done their best work on weekends, in front of the big home crowd.
Through Jan. 14, the overall home underdog tally on weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun.) is 38-34-1 against the spread. That is not a bad number to start with for a focus population. It is better than 500 and you haven't even handicapped yet. When you apply some common sense to this the home dog cover tally should go sky high.
Now that there are a manageable amount of games to look at I simply play by common rules. I do not want to bet against the best teams in the league. I have watched the Phoenix Suns cover just about everything lately, and with a little checking I have found that Dallas, San Antonio and Utah have done similar damage on the road. Those teams are winning at an overall clip of over .700. The East does not have teams worth excluding. In fact there are division leaders who, at times, are sporting less than a 500 record.
With the four monsters removed, I went back to the numbers. The numbers were great! Weekend Home Dogs are 38-18-1 against the spread with the removal of the four best from the West.
These are results without handicapping! I have not included injuries, suspensions, revenge, or anything of the sort. You can tweak this yourself for even more success. Take the two worst teams out of the mix and the number will no doubt improve.
If you want even more bang for your buck just listen to the bookmakers. "So far, players betting the money lines and totals have been much more successful than in previous years in terms of the NBA," Bodog bookmakers said. This indicates that not only are many of these dogs covering, but also winning straight up. If the sharpies are betting money lines, you better believe the dogs are doing well. For some real fun, look at the games we just discussed and see how many of those dogs won straight up.
The general mediocrity of the NBA is well suited for underdog wagering. By no means am I suggesting that you recklessly lay out loot on every dog you see. That is when bettors start making silly errors. Get your game population in place, study it, and remove what can hurt you the most. Gamblers are notorious for jumping on what they like while forgetting to remove what can hurt them. There is money to be won in the NBA. Just know what to look for and where to find it.