When the NBA Playoffs get underway a slew of public money comes into sports betting marketplace. Casual bettors that haven’t placed a wager all season long view playoff betting as a chance to enhance their NBA playoff experience. While almost all know how the NBA point spread works, we get a handful of emails this time of year asking how betting on the NBA moneyline works. We will answer these questions as well as provide some tips for those casual gamblers betting this year’s NBA playoffs.
Wagering on the money line simply means you’re putting cash down on which team you believe will win a particular game. With this type of bet, there is no point spread involved and so you must bet on the winner to get a return.
When looking at a money line opportunity, you’ll see one team listed with a plus (+) sign and the other listed with a minus (-) sign. The favored team is the one with the minus sign associated with it. Here’s an example moneyline from the 2011 NBA finals series between Dallas & Miami.
Dallas Mavericks (+170)
Miami Heat (-200)
As with other wagers, the home team is always listed last. With this bet, if you put $100 on the Mavs—the underdog—you would win $170 for a total return of $270. If you wanted to put money on the favored Heat, you would have to wager $200 to win $100 for a total return of $300 if the bet won.
With a money line bet if you take a greater risk by putting cash on the team that’s not favored, you get a much better return. That’s because you’re taking a greater risk. The point spread is designed to even things out by adding or subtracting points from the teams score while the moneyline wager evens things out by changing the amount of money you must wager on said teams.
Handicapping a NBA game where points aren’t given is tough when the teams are fairly evenly matched. Here are a few suggestions to help you determine on whom you’ll put your cash.
Is this a series where the team that’s on the home hardwood, which does tend to hold an edge in the NBA, has won in the past? Look for this tendency in regular season series between the two clubs, or in past playoff series in the same season for the home team, or during the first three games of this particular contest. If you’re looking at a team that rarely loses when on its home court, then, baring any unique circumstances, go with the home club.
Are you looking at a basketball team that is about to be eliminated in four games? That’s rare. It’s especially unusual when you get to the second round, where teams have less disparity in talent. If you’re looking at a group of guys who have character, who may have lost one of those first three games on a chance play or who possess a player that has been known to rise to the occasion, they will probably win game number four. This is especially true of they are in their home arena.
BLOW OUT CITY:
Was the last game a close one? Did one team win by one to three points? Has there been a blow out yet or a game where someone won by more than seven points? It’s hard not to find at least one comfortable or even double-digit win in a five game series, and sometimes you’ll find two in a seven game contest. It happens for a few reasons.
In a contest between two finely tuned teams, remember that clubs like that break down at some point. Why does that happen? Basketball players are only human and in basketball the human body takes a beating. It’s not just running up and down the court and making acrobatic plays; it’s the fact that basketball is a contact sport. It’s not supposed to be one, but it is. And in the NBA those bodies that push, smack and collide with one another are big and powerful. There’s also the fatigue factor related to travel. In the second and third rounds, you’ll see all of these aspects come into play.
Look for the team that has been dominant to fall apart anytime after game two. The longer they seem perfect, the more likely they will play a horrendous game or at least a bad one. Look for changes of venue and prior games where a team has scored a high number of points. All of these things can result in the team that has been on a roll being stopped. Sometimes this will happen for one game and sometimes for two in a row.
MAKING SOME CHOICES:
One thing to remember, what we’ve discussed in this article is simply one part of the puzzle. When handicapping a game, you still need to analyze match-ups, depth charts, the skills of individual players and more.
Professional sports handicappers are correct about 55-60% of the time. If you can do that well when you’re handicapping, you’ll make some dough. If you can’t match that type of success, you may want to have a solid professional do the NBA handicapping for you.