9 Facts That Rookies to NBA Betting Must Know

NBA Betting Rookie Advice

The NBA draws new players to sports betting every year. The number of NBA fans is growing annually, in direct contrast to MLB, losing fans.

With so many new fans transitioning into the sportsbook, it’s essential to address the rookies.

Sports betting is a tricky business; knowing what you’re facing makes the experience more enjoyable.

Some of the gamblers in NBA games are transitioning from other sports to the NBA. You’ll appreciate knowing some of the critical differences between handicapping NBA games and other major sports. The 82-game season in the NBA provides a ton of opportunities for bettors. Simultaneously, the high number of games can be a pitfall for gamblers.

Today, we’ll clear up a lot of confusion novice NBA bettors have. Here are 9 facts that rookies to NBA betting must know.

1. Your Bankroll Is Your Greatest Tool

For NFL bettors, the task of navigating a 17-game schedule can be challenging. For NBA bettors, the number of games skyrockets to 82 games.

That adds a ton of additional pressure to your bankroll.

NFL punters face fewer games that are spread out over a few days. NBA fans have games to bet on every night of the week.

That makes it easier for NBA bettors to get swept up in the action. You must start your gambling career with solid bankroll management.

Your bankroll dictates not only how much you can bet on each game but also how long you’ll be able to gamble. Set a strict limit to how much you’re betting on each game.

Please Note:
The average sports bettor should only be wagering 1-5% of their bankroll on each game. That allows you to weather the ups and downs of sports betting without going bankrupt. You should have a plan for building your bankroll that includes making regular deposits. As your bankroll grows, the average bet amount will also increase.

It would be best to place as much emphasis on building and maintaining a healthy bankroll as handicapping games.

2. Key Statistics to Focus

Each sport has its metrics where gamblers should focus their attention. The same statistics that are key to MLB bettors won’t translate to the hardcourt.

I focus on three stats when looking for value in NBA matchups. These are as follows:

  • Rebounds
  • Turnovers
  • Points in the paint

These won’t be the Holy Grail of NBA betting success. However, when looking at games where you see favorable lines, these can be strong selling points.

In any area of sports betting, it’s essential that you look at the overall value. The more time you spend researching games and studying results, the better you’ll become. When you’ve passed from NBA rookie to veteran, you’ll be able to use these statistics and others to spot value from a mile away.

It’s essential that you get the hang of the NBA betting landscape before you build a model using too many metrics.

3. Home Court Advantage Is Often Overvalued

A lot of alleged experts will try to sell you on the importance of one home-court advantage.

Yes, most teams play better at home than on the road.

However, there’s a tendency to place too much stock in the home team. This bias can cause severe damage to the upper end of NBA talent.

Many bettors believe that the more talented two teams are, the more significant the advantage of playing at home. So, the Warriors would get a more substantial bump at home against the Suns than the Rockets would against the Pelicans. That’s not a profitable view for sports bettors. Whether two teams are at the top or the bottom, the home court affects groups on a case-by-case basis.

Don’t get sold on the idea that playing at home will propel one team over their opponent. If the value you’re finding is as minimal as being home vs. away, you should find a game with more value.

4. When the Line Is Out of Whack, There’s Good Reason

As a rookie sports bettor, learning all the nuances of gambling on sporting events can be a challenge. One of the significant areas where newbies get tripped up is the lines offered by sportsbooks.

Please Note:
Sportsbooks don’t make money by hoping that more people lose than win. That’s not a sure thing, and casinos demand a sure thing before taking bets on anything. The casinos make their money in the sportsbooks by charging a vig on every losing bet. So, a player bets $110 to win $100. The sportsbook takes all of the $110 bets from losers to pay the winners. That leaves the casino with a $10 profit on every losing bet.

So, the casinos’ primary goal is to get even money on both sides of a bet. When the casino convinces half of the betting public to take option A and the other half to take option B, they can’t lose.

Whenever you see a no-brainer with a grossly inflated line, you should be cautious.

Professional handicappers hired by the sportsbooks are almost superhuman in their ability to get the action ideally in the middle.

5. Fading the Public Is a Viable Strategy

Sportsbooks are full of suckers that are betting based on bias rather than fact. That opens up the potential to fade the public and enjoy success.

Long-term success in sports betting often comes down to thin margins. When you adopt a contrarian approach, it can spell success.

There are some drawbacks to this as the public is sometimes correct. That means if you merely bet against public opinion on every wager, you may still lose.

Please Note:
The public influence will be the most pronounced during the NBA Finals. If you have experience in the NFL, you probably know to stay away from the Super Bowl.

NBA bettors should avoid the Finals for the same reasons.

6. The Referees Do Play a Role

Referees in the NBA strive to get calls right. However, they’re human, which introduces error.

No matter how imperceivable, each referee will have tendencies.

Sometimes these tendencies will favor the home team, the favorite, the road team, or the underdog.

These can influence the games, but referees rarely dictate the outcome of a game. However, a group’s tendency to call every foul or let them play can affect the over/under. A referee that calls a lot of fouls will typically make for a higher-scoring game. Players don’t want to get into foul trouble, so they play lighter on defense.

It would help if you didn’t allow the ref’s tendencies to talk you into making a wager, but paying attention can help you become a better NBA bettor.

7. Staying on Top of Line Movement Generates Revenue

Watching line movement has several advantages for rookie NBA bettors. The sharp bettors are placing millions on games, which forces significant activity.

Watching these lines will give you an indication of where the smart money is going. You’ll have to get into the market early to watch significant shifts, but the late movement can be just as valuable as I stated earlier.

Another key to staying on top of lines is that you’ll always get the most value. That requires you to have accounts over several sportsbooks and shop for each game you like.

For example:
If you like the Mavericks at +8, shop all the sportsbooks to see if any have the Mavs at +9. That one point won’t help every time, but it adds value to your bet.

When you can find a more favorable line, you’re in a better position to make money.

8. Fatigue Factors into the Equation

One area of opportunity for rookie NBA bettors to get ahead of their contemporaries is the fatigue factor.

The NBA schedule is fraught with inequity.

Some teams will be on their third game of back-to-backs against a team coming off several days’ rest.

Please Note:
Playing tired in a physically demanding game like basketball can have huge implications. The oddsmakers are going to account for fatigue, but you can still find value in certain games.

Don’t ignore the schedule leading up to a contest. It would help if you didn’t overvalue a fresh team that’s decidedly weaker.

9. Live Betting Can Be Profitable in Addition to Exciting

Live betting has ignited a fire in the sports betting world. The odds are constantly shifting, and the prop bets included are exciting.

When live betting, you’ll do better by waiting for stoppages. That will ensure that you don’t miss essential plays that could influence your bet. You have a tremendous advantage in live betting because you can see the flow of the game before you make any wagers. But the NBA is a 4th quarter league, don’t get fooled by sleepers.

If you learn rotations for a particular team, it can have tremendous opportunities for bettors.


The 9 facts that rookies to NBA betting must know will significantly reduce the learning curve.

You’ll have a ton to learn before you break into the realm of profitability, but you’re starting on the right foot. As you grow as a sports bettor, you’ll develop the variables considered when handicapping.

Remember that you don’t need to bet on all 82 games played. Keeping the sample small initially will help you learn from your hits and misses.


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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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