11 NBA Statistics Every Sports Bettor Should Use

11 NBA Statistics Every Sports Bettor Should Use

NBA is one of the most statistically-based sports to bet on. There are the main and most common stats (PPG, etc.), but if you dig deep into the numbers, there are helpful advanced stats that can help in your NBA betting. We’re looking at the top NBA betting stats to handicap before locking in your bets.

There are important NBA stats for betting that must be considered. Most NBA sports bettors take a quick look at the most popular NBA stats. While there is a place for examining these numbers, NBA bettors are doing themselves a disservice if they don’t look at the advanced stats as well.

Using all of the tools at our disposal is what makes a smart NBA bettor. Head below for the best NBA betting stats to handicap and evaluate before betting on the NBA. Visit our top NBA betting sites page for our best picks for online NBA sportsbooks.

1. Average Scoring Margin

The average scoring margin simply looks at the team point differential in games. This takes into account all of the final scores in a season. The numbers are compiled to determine the average win or average loss point differential against their opponents.

The average scoring margin can be a positive or a negative number.

For instance, teams that are at the bottom of the league in the average scoring margin are going to have the biggest negative number in the league. In this case, they’ve been on the receiving end of lopsided losses often.

The Portland Trail Blazers had a -8.9 average score margin in the 2021-22 season. It should be no surprise that they were also the worst bet in the NBA. The Trail Blazers went 30-51-1 against the spread with a success rate of 37%. Likewise, the Houston Rockets had an average scoring margin of -8.5 and covered the spread in only 43.8% of games.

Taking advantage of teams with a negative average scoring margin that still have a favorable opinion in the public, with overinflated lines, are bets to target. It took a while for the sportsbooks to catch up on the Trail Blazers in 2021-22.

2. Possessions Per Game

Possessions per game are an important metric when betting on the NBA, especially for NBA Over Under stats. This is one of the NBA betting stats that should be considered when determining the pace of teams.

Teams with a quicker pace are going to have more possessions per game and scoring opportunities. The team with the most possessions per game last year in 2021-22, the Minnesota Timberwolves, went 50-32-0 to the OVER. The Lakers were second in possessions per game and were a winner on the Over at a clip of 46-35-1.

Four out of the top-5 teams in the NBA in 2021-22 with the highest possessions per game made money on the Over. The Charlotte Hornets, 5th in possessions per game were 40-41-1 on the Over Under.

3. Points Scored In Paint Per Game vs. Points Allowed In PPG

Efficiency around the rim rates high on my list of NBA stats to handicap. How many times do you have a bet and your team can’t finish in the paint? It’s frustrating and adds up at the end of a game.

Through the 2000s, it was imperative to have a big man down low to feed. This isn’t as important now, as spraying jump shots from around the floor have taken on more importance. Having said that, it’s still important for teams to finish around the rim.

Teams that have a sizable advantage in the paint tend to do well against the spread. The Memphis Grizzlies were first in points per game in the paint in 2021-22. They also covered the most games at 52-29-1 for a 64.20% clip.

This is an absolute metric.

You’ll have to compare points in the paint per game against the other team’s defense. Typically, teams that get pushed around in the paint on defense versus teams that are effective offensively in the paint have a tough time covering spreads.

4. Turnovers Per Offensive Play

Protecting the ball and limiting team turnovers is imperative to covering point spreads. Oftentimes turnovers lead to points on the other end. Not only are scoring chances surrendered, but turnovers turn into points on the other side.

In many instances, NBA point spreads come down to the final minutes and seconds of games. All of the turnovers can come back to bite a team late in the 4th quarter. The Toronto Raptors weren’t the best team in the NBA last year. However, the Raptors were one of the best bets, largely because they protected the ball. The Raptors were first with a turnover on 10.9% of plays in 2021-22.

They had a cover rate of 47-35-0 and 57.32% for third in the NBA. Not surprisingly, the best team against the spread, the Grizzlies, were in the top-10. Four of the top-5 teams in turnovers per offensive play made money against the spread in 2021-22.

5. Steals Per Defensive Play

Conversely, it’s important to look at the other side as well. Teams that swipe balls and generate steals are important NBA betting stats, as well.

The Raptors managed to do both well in 2021-22. They were second in defensive steals per play, while the Grizzlies led the NBA in steals per play at 8.5%. Memphis and Toronto were two of the best bets in the NBA. Steals had something to do with their success against the spread.

It’s important to note that the seven best teams in steals per play all were better than 50% against the spread. This has to be one of the most important NBA stats for betting on the league.

6. Offensive Rebounds Per Game

Second-chance and even third-chance points are important to winning games and covering spreads. Rebounding on both ends of the glass is important. If a team is bad on the defensive boards, this means that they are giving up offensive rebounds.

Thus, it’s important to look at how well teams handle the offensive boards against their opponent’s defensive rebounding numbers.

The teams that have a high offensive rebounding rate have been known to be good against the read, too. The Grizzlies and Raptors led the league in offensive rebounding per game in 2021-22. They were also one of the best bets in the NBA.

7. Effective Field Goal Percentage

Looking at the field goal percentage of teams is important, but if you want to take things a step further then be sure to look into the effective field goal percentage. Also known as eFG%, this NBA betting stat takes into account that three-point attempts are more important.

When it comes to calculating the eFG%, three-pointers are worth 1.5 times more than a two-pointer.

The NBA is increasingly becoming a three-point league, so eFG% is more important than the normal field goal percentage metric. This isn’t the most common NBA statistic, but it should be given more weight in this era of NBA basketball.

8. Opponent Effective Field Goal Percentage

It is just as important to look at how well teams are on the defensive floor. The opponent effective field goal percentage metric provides an overview of two-point and three-point defense.

As a result of more teams pulling up from the field instead of feeding big men in the paint, the effective field goal percentage defense is important.

The same formula is used to determine the effective defensive field goal percentage, with more consideration given to three-point success.

9. Opponent Three-Point Percentage

Even more important than three-point percentage offensively is how well teams play defense on the perimeter. In this era of NBA basketball, most teams are good from three. There is a sharpshooter on every NBA roster.

However, there is a big difference between teams that defend the three ball well and don’t.

Ensure that you research your NBA betting states and it has to include defense on the perimeter against the three. It’s imperative to have success in the NBA today that a strong defense beyond the arc is required.

10. Personal Fouls Per Game

Teams never want to give opponents a free trip to the charity stripe. Staying on the good side of NBA officials is a good way to win games.

It’s always frustrating when your team allows a carousel of players to the free-throw line. These bonus points can end up deciding the points spread at the end of 4 quarters or overtime. Note that the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the most disciplined teams in 2021-22.

They avoided personal fouls, and while OKC wasn’t a playoff team, the Thunder were one of the best bets against the spread. Cleveland was another squad that avoided committing fouls and covered spreads consistently.

11. Effective Possession Ratio

The effective possession ratio NBA statistic isn’t an old measurement of success. It’s a fairly recent metric used by teams as a barometer for how well the team is playing.

As sports bettors, we can use this NBA betting stat to our advantage. While the effective possession ratio is last on our list, it’s certainly not the least important. The EPR of a team calculates how effective a team is at generating a scoring opportunity for each possession. Essentially, how good is a team at creating their own scoring changes is the EPR.

Only the Raptors and Grizzlies had an EPR of better than 1.00 in 2021-22. Again, they were both profitable against the spread. Memphis covered the spread at 63.4% while the Raps covered at a 55.2% clip.


Evaluating NBA betting stats is not as simple as just looking at points and points against per game. Digging deeper into the numbers provides sports bettors with a complete picture. For long-term success, breaking down and handicapping advanced NBA stats is the only path to success.

About the Author
Rick Rockwell profile picture
Rick Rockwell
Sports/Casino Writer
Blog and News
Rick has been a professional writer for over 14 years with an extensive resume spanning projects and clients from around the world. But, his passions have always been sports and sports betting. Whether it’s being a credentialed media member to major sporting events, climbing into a racecar or a pro wrestling ring, Rick’s sports and sports betting knowledge, passion and versatility is on display with each article he writes for TSG.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *