Consistency is the best friend of NBA sports bettors. When a NBA team consistently plays in the same style and with the same effort then it can be relatively easy to bet on them because you know what you can expect from them. When a professional basketball team lacks consistency, though, then you are forced to guess what type of effort the team is likely to show before you can determine how that expected effort stacks up against the opponent. That’s too much guessing to make a winning bet. Here are six indicators of how consistent an NBA team is, and how easy they are to trust when making your bet:
Pecking order – In the animal kingdom the pecking order is how animals are organized in herds – which animals are the leaders and which are the followers. A basketball team is like a herd. That means that if the team is working properly it should have leaders who dominate, and followers who fill their roles. NBA teams that are consistent have the players who lead the team in scoring most nights, the players that lead in rebounds or assists, and those that just fill roles. If a team doesn’t have that type of consistency in production on the hardwood then they are going to struggle to have consistency on the scoreboard. The team needs to have a player or two that typically leads in those key statistical categories, such as shooting, free throws, assists and rebounds, each game.
Playing time – Just like a consistent NBA team needs to have consistent production from their key players, they also need to have consistency in the amount of playing time their players get. If they don’t typically use their players in the same way from game to game then it’s a sign that they aren’t happy with their lineup, or that they don’t know how to best use their assets. Either possibility makes it hard for a team to play their best. Sometimes a player has to play less than normal because of foul trouble or a minor injury suffered during the game. Over the longer term, though, you’d like to see that their usage on a typical night is pretty close to their average playing time on the season. The wider the range of playing time for key players on a team, the harder it is to trust the ability of that team to perform consistently.
Tempo – In most professional basketball games the two teams playing would prefer to play the game at somewhat different tempos. When two teams have clashing tempo preferences then one team is typically going to be able to assert their preference on the game and control the tempo and style of play. A team that is regularly able to determine the tempo in a game will have a much better chance of being consistent than one that typically plays like their opponent wants them to play. It’s important, then, to get a sense of the tempo a team plays at from game to game. The more variety there is, the less likely the team is consistent in their court play.
Foul count – The more fouls a team commits the harder it is for them to be able to play like they would ideally like to play. When players get in foul trouble their effectiveness is limited – they’ll either spend a lot of time on the bench, or they’ll be more tentative because they don’t want to foul out. Also, they offer an advantage to their opponent by sending them to the free throw line much too often. Some teams – and some players – are less disciplined, and therefore get into foul trouble more often. By looking at how many fouls a team gets on average – and how often they get into foul trouble – you can get a sense of how consistent a team is likely to be. You also want to look at which players most typically get into foul trouble on a team. If the players that foul most are the least valuable starters then the impact on the spread will be less than if it is the star players that get into foul trouble on a regular basis.
Home vs. road performance – Teams that are the most consistent really don’t care where they are playing. For some teams playing on the road in front of the hostile crowd is an excuse that they use to play at less than their best. Other teams have very similar home court and road records. Obviously it is the second type of team that is the most consistent, and therefore the easier to trust when you are making your NBA sports bets.
Good vs. bad opponents – NBA teams that are the most consistent are those that are self-motivated. They play at a top level every game because they are driven to do so, and they will be consistent as a result. Some teams don’t have that internal drive. They will play their best against the best teams because they want to prove themselves and they get carried away by the emotion and intensity of the situation. Against weaker teams they don’t feel the same urgency, and they play down to the level of their opponents. Make your sports bets accordingly and you’ll be a winner.