NBA Betting: What You Need To Do to Get Ready for Season
by Trevor Whenham - 10/22/2009
We don't know who will be wearing the striped shirts when it happens, but we do know that the NBA season finally gets underway next week, starting with four games on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Betting on the NBA is no easy task, so if you are making money over the long run then you are really accomplishing something. Chances are that the people who are making the money are doing a lot to get ready for the season before it begins. After all, you can't make sound choices if you don't have a basis of knowledge and strategy upon which to make those picks.
These last few days before the NBA season starts are your chance to get ready for the season, and to have a jump on most of the betting public that won't have done that work. You have the opportunity to make bets with better information than most people. That's almost always a good way to win. Here are six things you can be doing now to get that early edge:
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Look at free agent movement and retirements - When most people make bets on the NBA early in the season they are doing it based on their impressions of the teams the last time we saw them - at the end of last season. In some cases that is basically the same team we will see now, but in most cases teams have gone through significant changes that will affect how the team plays and how they might perform. If you aren't on top of who has moved where, who has retired, who is returning from injuries, and who isn't healthy then you could find yourself betting on a team that isn't the team you thought it was, and that can be costly and frustrating. You'll want be careful as you are doing this that you are assessing what you think the actual impact of a player movement will be, not what the enthusiastic but often clueless media thinks it will be.
Determine situations that the public will overreact to, or undercompensate for - Most of the betting public rarely drills below the headlines they read in the newspaper and online. That means that their opinions will often be formed more by hype and wild speculation than by actual analysis. For example, you know that the combination of Shaq and King LeBron in Cleveland is going to be like a magnet for bettor's money. That's going to have an impact on the lines that oddsmakers can get away with on their games. Before the season starts you need to determine situations like this so you can be prepared to deal with them. There are also going to be situations that the public will have ignored that will significantly impact the outcomes of games. That can provide opportunities for value.
Assess rookies and grade on likely early impact - Every year there are a couple of rookies that hit the ground running and have an immediate impact on their teams - guys like Derrick Rose last year, and LeBron and Carmelo Anthony before him. Other guys come into the league with big reputations and may be valuable members of their teams by the end of the season, but it takes them longer to get used to the transition to the pros. By dividing the high-profile rookies into those two groups you can have an idea of which teams will get a boost, and which ones may get more public attention than they immediately warrant.
Be careful of the previews you read - As you get ready for the season you need to be very careful about what you read and trust. Some previews are developed in a hurry by media outlets just looking to get something out there. Those often don't contain meaningful analysis and are full of illogical conclusions that could be very costly if you relied on them too much. In choosing the previews to trust you need to consider the depth of the research and insight, the motivation for preparing the preview, and the accuracy of the information.
Review what worked last year - By looking back through your records at the bets you made last year you can spot the situations where you were a consistent winner, and others that you tended to keep betting even though they weren't making you any money. Being able to focus on your areas of strength and plugging the leaks that are consistently costing you money is a great way to improve your prospects for a successful betting season this year.
Establish basic betting strategy - You obviously don't want to develop a rigid system that you are going to follow no matter what, but you can gain a big edge by looking at the types of situations and bets that you are going to look for most often. Maybe you like to bet home favorites, or you like backing good defensive teams when they play strong offenses, or you like experienced rosters coming up against young lineups. You can bet on whatever you like, but by identifying some of what you like before the season you are helping to focus your approach and increase your chances of spotting good value when it appears.
Editor's Note: Doc's Sports NBA service has had three consecutive profitable seasons and helped $100 bettors earn more than 10 times the amount of a cost of a full-season package in 2008-09. Click on Doc's Insider's Page for more information and full results from the last three years in PDF format.
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