7 Mistakes New NBA Sports Bettors Make

NBA Sports Betting Mistakes

There are plenty of sports bettors who might feel compelled to break away from other sports to focus on basketball.

Gambling on the NBA is steadily gaining popularity amongst the gambling public. While it’s still not as popular as the NFL, basketball continues to capture the attention of new demographics.That’s due to sport betting’s rise across the board, as well as the NBA’s proficiency in marketing its product.

If you’re someone who wants to give betting on the NBA a try, now’s a great time to get started. In order to get off to a hot start, here are 7 mistakes new NBA sports bettors tend to make.

1. Betting Like a Basketball Fan

One of the most common mistakes new sports bettors make is gambling like a fan. Being a sports fan doesn’t decrease your chances of winning bets.

If anything:
You’re likely going to win more often than someone who has little experience following particular sports. However, this knowledge you’ve acquired over years of watching sports can get you into trouble.

Sports fans who are brand new to gambling can be overconfident when they start betting. That’s because they think they’re more than qualified to predict outcomes and select winners.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When you bet like a fan, you can expose yourself to listening to your heart over your head. Certain basketball gamblers are influenced to gamble on the teams and players they like best.

It’s crucial that you avoid this line of thinking or you’ll find yourself in some messy situations.

All sports bets should be made due to logical reasons that are well thought out. Rationalizing a wager because you’re a fan of a team, or just think they’ll win is a losing sports betting strategy.

2. Placing Bets at the Wrong Time

It should go without saying, but new bettors need to do everything in their power to increase their chances of winning money.

That statement probably means something different for different types of bettors. But, when you first start betting, this should be interpreted as simply as possible.

You need to take advantage of every single edge possible. That means shopping around for the best lines, betting on the teams you’ve analyzed the most, and placing bets at the correct time.

Now, what does it mean to place bets at the right time?

Once again, that can be interpreted in multiple ways. But, when you’re starting to place wagers I would recommend a few things.

First of all:
Be consistent in your approach to betting on the NBA. A lack of consistency and a loose approach to gambling can result in several problems. Instead, try to make decisions that sharps would make. One of the ways you can do that is by waiting until each team has published injury reports and notified the public about which players will start and which ones will rest.

In the load management age, key players are given nights off all the time. When beginners place their bets too early, they run the risk of having the team they bet on giving its star player the night off.

3. Focusing on One Player Instead of the Team

The NBA is a league full of top-tier talent.

Its superstars have more celebrity status than any other sports league for a variety of reasons.

  • The NBA excels at shining a spotlight on its best players
  • Players aren’t scared of speaking up on social issues
  • The league doesn’t shy away from letting players think for themselves
  • Other celebrities (such as musicians) glamorize the NBA and often feature players in songs and videos
  • Many players are experts at building a brand for themselves both on and off the court

Due to the celebrity status of top players, many casual fans have grown to know and love particular players. This can lead to certain basketball fans rooting for individuals instead of teams.

But, as you should already know, basketball is a team sport. When you only focus on one player, you’re ignoring several important factors that can influence a game’s result. Sure, your favorite player might be able to put up 50 points on any given night. But, if his team is subpar, then they’re going to lose more games than they win.

Before you place a bet due to one player’s prominence, remind yourself that a basketball team is bigger than one person.

4. Ignoring Other Influences on Games

Several moving parts go into a basketball game. Unfortunately, beginners often ignore things that can occur before the game even tips off.

As I mentioned earlier, load management plays a key role in today’s NBA.

Teams are starting to become more aware of the effects of overplaying superstars and running them ragged before the postseason.

The effects of travel are still something the league and bettors must figure out. For example, if a team is traveling to play the second half of a back-to-back it stands to reason that players will be less rested than they should be.

With all of the analytics and splits available to gamblers, there’s no excuse to lose a bet because you forgot to make some basic internet searches.

5. Only Paying Attention to Offensive Production

Offensive production and play-making are a lot more enticing than a player’s defensive capabilities. Causal fans and novice gamblers are more likely to hype up a player’s 50-point-performance than his lockdown defense.

Look, it’s no secret that offense is more entertaining.

However, the importance of the defensive side of things cannot be overstated. When you ignore a team’s defensive output, you’re ignoring 50% of the game. I know that defense isn’t glamorous but defensive matchups can make all the difference in a game.

Take a hypothetical game featuring the Jazz and Nuggets. The Nuggets big-man and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is one of the most dominant offensive forces in the league. On most nights, Jokic will make the opposing big look silly. However, the Jazz has one of the best defenders in the league, Rudy Gobert, to counter the Nuggets center.

If you didn’t recognize this type of matchup you run the risk of making some foolish bets.

6. Not Thinking Outside of the Box

Betting on the NBA is complicated, and many beginners don’t make it any easier on themselves. One of the best things you can do as a gambler is to start thinking outside of the box.

In this case:
I’m referring to the way you research certain bets and the types of bets you place. When deciding which side to bet on, it’s important to focus on things besides points-per-game and a team’s DPOA. This is a good starting place, but the game is more complex than that. Additionally, don’t settle for simply wagering on the moneyline. Look at other types of wagers you might feel more comfortable with.

Other types of wagers like props, futures, and even the occasional parlay can open your mind to other aspects of sports gambling.

7. Trying to Live Bet Way Too Early

Live betting is the most exhilarating type of sports betting. But, if you’re new to betting, it’s also one of the most ill-advised types of betting.

Learning to live bet like a pro takes time, resources, and plenty of practice.

You can’t expect to immediately start winning live bets. Not only is it complicated for beginners, but it’s also usually not done under the best of circumstances.

Please Note:
Most live bets are placed under duress and out of desperation. These types of bets typically have a lower probability of hitting due to the difficulties associated with the concept of live betting. Basketball games move at a blistering pace and it can be incredibly difficult to keep up with. The people who are moving lines and changing odds are much more skilled and experienced than you.

Until you can keep up with the pace of play and understand line movement, stick to betting on the games before they tip-off.


Now that the NBA is back, it’s time to turn your attention back to basketball. If you’re a novice sports bettor looking to get your feet wet, there are certain mistakes you need to avoid.

Make sure to focus on the important influencers that will impact a team’s performance, instead of betting based on which teams you like. In other words, don’t bet like a sports fan. Be sure to time your bets just right and pay attention to which teams are giving stars the night off.

The offense might be more exciting, but monitor a team’s defensive performance and don’t ignore the other side of the floor.


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Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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