Betting on the NBA and other top basketball leagues also attracts a lot of attention of those who love betting: according to Sports Show, basketball belongs to the top 3 world most popular sports, and the number of regular basketball tournament viewers goes beyond 2.2 billion people. In pursuit of a successful bet, professional bettors are ready to spend hours comparing dozens of aspects of team and individual player performance. These statistics become the basis for multiple basketball betting strategies, which, as some say, can be profitable in the long run.
In this article, we will focus on the most popular NBA betting strategies and analyse their pros and cons, as well as give examples of their use.
But before we do, here is the most important warning: no basketball betting strategy guarantees a profit, whatever may be said. Of all the basketball betting strategies, we selected the most reasonable ones, based on the experience of our experts. And this experience makes it evident that the main strategy power is to give self-discipline and protection against reckless betting. As for the profit, there is always an element of luck.
Rules differences and common aspects
First, check out the main common aspects of European and American basketball:
- From one to three points are awarded for accurate shots: one point is for free-throws, two points – for goals scored from the inside three-point arc area, three points – for accurate long shots made from the outside three-point arc area.
- The game consists of four quarters.
- In case of a draw, a five-minute overtime is held. The number of overtimes is not limited.
- The number of substitutes is not limited.
Further, in the NBA rules and the FIBA tournaments, the differences are observed:
|Quarter duration||12 minutes||10 minutes|
|Number of player fouls before disqualification||6||5|
|Team foul limit per quarter||5||4|
Why is it important to pay attention to rule differences? They directly affect the statistical indicators used in betting: handicaps, totals, foul number.
If basketball players exceed the specified foul number, they will leave the game and be replaced by players from the bench. If the team exceeds the specified number of violations per quarter, each subsequent violation, except for offensive fouls, will be penalised by a free-throw.
Strategies for betting on total over and total under
Over/under betting is one of the most popular basketball betting strategies. In this case, the bettor does not need to select the future match winner – it is enough to just correctly predict whether the total number of points scored will be more or less than that given in the bookmaker’s selection of betting events.
Betting on total over in the NBA
In the NBA regular season games, our experts recommend selecting the total over bet, if the event odds are higher than 1.75. Here are the criteria to select matches:
- Both rivals rank in the lower half of the NBA defensive rating, i.e. they have the largest average number of points missed. You can find such details on nba.com or on statistical services, such as teamrankings.com.
- Both teams rank in the top 15 in terms of point scoring rate (scoring points for fewer possessions).
- Point leaders of both teams will be able to participate in the game.
- The teams had time to rest – a day or more.
Example: the 2021-22 NBA regular season matches between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings. Houston has the worst performance in terms of missed points in the league, and Sacramento ranks second-last within the same parameters in the Western Conference.
- In betting on the game on March 31, 2022 the odds for total over 231.5 were 1.96. The match between two teams with poor defence and the main efficient players, Jalen Green and Harrison Barnes in teams ended with a score of 118:121 (total 239). The bet on total over won with a margin.
- The next clash between these rivals was on April 2, 2022. The odds to bet on total over 231.5 were only 1.66, but on total over 234.5, the odds already reached 2.03. Both bets were successful, because the game ended with a score of 117:122 (total 239).
Betting on total under in Euroleague
In betting on Total Under in Euroleague, select markets with odds of 1.75-1.95, if the match fits the following criteria:
- The teams are separated by less than four wins in the standings.
- The rivals are among the 10 worst in scoring.
- The bookmaker offered odds of less than 2.60 for the victory of each team.
Example: the 2021-22 Euroleague spring matches between Fenerbahçe and Panathinaikos, Žalgiris and ASVEL:
- The match between Žalgiris and ASVEL was on March 23, 2022. The teams were at the bottom of the standings with the worst scoring statistics. The odds for total under 152.5 were 1.91. The bet won absolutely irrefutably: the game ended with a score of 68:72. For risky ones, it is worth noting that the odds for total under 142.5 exceeded 3.50.
- The second game fitting these parameters was held on April 8, 2022. Fenerbahçe hosted Panathinaikos in Istanbul. The match between these two almost equal teams from the lower part of the standings ended with a score of 59:62 (total 121), when the odds for total under 154.5 was 1.97.
Martingale strategy in betting on efficient players statistics
The Martingale strategy implies the increase of the stake amount after each loss to get the desired profit after the first win. This is a high-risk strategy; you can read the details in the article of our expert Andrew Heaford.
The stake amount for each step under the Martingale strategy can be calculated by the formula:
Stake amount = (potential winnings from the first bet + the amount of lost bets) / (odds – 1)
In basketball, the strategy can be used to bet on the personal statistics of the team leader, specifically on total over. To select a player, analyse the statistics of the most efficient basketball players of the team in the season. In the bookmaker’s selection of betting events, the total indicator will be close to the average score, and the odds will remain at the level of 1.70-2.10. It is advised to select bets on this player if this one failed to score the expected number of points for two or three times in a row.
If the first bet loses, in the next matches, bet on total over for the selected player and increase the stake amount according to the formula above.
Take for instance the individual statistics of Stephen Curry from the Golden State Warriors. Let’s say, your bankroll is €1000, the desired profit amount is €100. Under the Martingale strategy, the betting table will be as follows:
|Stake amount||Total indicator||Odds||Result||Bankroll|
Betting on clear favourites
In the selections of basketball betting events, bookmakers can pick clear favourites. Betting on such teams to win is not interesting because of poor odds. For this reason, in the long run, the bettor is likely to be in the red.
But there is still a chance to take advantage of the power of the favourite. Among the popular NBA basketball betting strategies, there are bets on the favourite to win with a handicap in a quarter. Such bets help to enhance odds, raising the risk mildly.
When selecting a suitable match, pay attention to the bookmaker’s odds for 1/X/2 bets. For the favourite to win bet the odds will be no more than 1.50, and for the outsider, the odds will be at least 2.60. A perfect example will be the 2022-23 NBA match between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons. The odds for the home team to win are 1.11, and for the away team to win are 7.90.
Next, you need to decide on the handicap indicator to bet on the favourite to win in the quarter. For this:
- Analyse the statistics of the last five games of the better team, in which it was also the bookmaker’s favourite. At home or away, it does not matter.
- The favourite must win in at least one of the first two match quarters in each of these games.
- If the selected team wins only the endings of their matches, it is not recommended to bet on such a favourite. In the final quarters, it is difficult to predict both the favourite’s performance and the odds offered in the live mode.
Let’s take a look at the results of the last five matches of the Milwaukee Bucks:
|Rival||Odds for Milwaukee Bucks / Odds for rival||First quarter handicap||Second quarter handicap|
|New York Knicks||1.42/2.90||−1,5||−3,5|
Further, you need to analyse the bookmaker’s offers for betting on the Milwaukee Bucks to win with a handicap in the first and second quarters. The odds must be at least 1.90. In the match against the Detroit Pistons, the bookmaker offers to bet on the favourite to win in the first quarter with a handicap of -4,5 at odds of 1.91. Based on the table above, such a market is good enough for us.
Next, under the strategy of betting on the clear favourite, before the start of the match, place a bet on the selected team to win in the first quarter. If the bet loses, select a bet on your team to win with a handicap in the second quarter based on the Martingale strategy principle. This betting system is for only one winning bet. If the bet on the win in the first quarter is successful, do not bet on the second quarter.
The result: the first quarter of the 2022-23 NBA regular season match between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons on October 31 ended with a score of 34:23. The bet on the Milwaukee to win with a handicap of – 4,5 points won with a margin.
Even/odd quarter total
Placing bets on even or odd quarter total indicators is another popular basketball live betting strategy. Such betting is kind of a lottery: the chance of an even or odds total in the game period is 50%.
However, the even/odd total betting strategy is based on a statistical pattern – only 6% of basketball matches end strictly with even or odd total indicators in all quarters. The bettor needs to select any option (an even or odd total) and practice only this type of betting until the first win.
Let’s look at an example of even/odd total betting. Let’s take the NBA match of October 30, 2022 held between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets and a bet on an even quarter total for €100. The bookmaker offered identical odds for both markets: 1.89 on total even and total odd. The potential winnings are €89:
The first match quarter ends with a score of 26:31 (total points is 57), which is an odd total. The bet loses. The account balance is − €100.
In total, the teams scored an odd number of points (57) that is why the bet lost. But under the even/odd total betting strategy, the next bet should cover the losses and bring profit. To calculate the next stake amount, use the following formula:
Stake amount = (positive balance amount + the desired profit amount) / market odds.
In this case, the amount calculation looks like this: (100 + 100) / 1.89 = €105.8 – the stake amount for the second quarter.
The second quarter ends with a score of 29:20 (total points is 49), which is an odd total. The second bet also loses. The account balance is − €205.8.
In the second quarter the total even bet lost again. Let us calculate the next stake amount and keep on betting on total even at odds of 1.89:
- (100 + 105.8) + 100 = 305.8.
- 305.8 / 1.89 = €161.8 – the stake amount for the third quarter.
The third quarter score is 38:34 (total points is 72), which is an even total. The bet wins. The account balance is + €100.
The third bet wins, and you get the desired profit of €100.
The use of the even/odd total strategy stops after the first win. The required outcome can recur in the next game quarters as well, but placing another bet is too much of a risk, which does not fit the selected NBA betting system.
For clarity, let us look at the results of the last ten NBA matches at the moment of writing this article and analyse the even and odd quarter totals statistics.
|Game||Quarter results||Even/odd total|
|Lakers — Nuggets||26:31, 29:20, 38:34, 28:25||1/3|
|Suns — Rockets||29:24, 36:32, 25:30, 34:23||1/3|
|Mavericks — Magic||29:34, 31:26, 28:23, 26:22||1/3|
|Spurs — Timberwolves||26:23, 31:24, 28:23, 22:28||1/3|
|Celtics — Wizards||34:15, 24:32, 29:21, 25:26||2/2|
|Pistons — Warriors||29:37, 34:18, 37:36, 28:23||2/2|
|Cavaliers — Knicks||35:30, 27:29, 22:34, 37:15||3/1|
|Clippers — Pelicans||25:18, 27:34, 15:26, 24:34||1/3|
|Mavericks — Thunder||25:27, 26:19, 20:26, 28:27, 12:18 (OT)||3/2|
|Bucks — Hawks||32:30, 27:21, 32:33, 32:31||2/2|
In all these ten matches, there were quarters with both even and odd total points, and that proves the statistical regularity. However, do not exclude the random factor, when, in all game quarters, an even or odd total points will be recorded. If you lose with the Martingale betting strategy, under the conditions of our example, you will lose over €600. One such loss can be covered only with 7 wins of €100 each.
Betting on total even/odd is the simplest basketball betting strategy based on a statistical regularity. The bettor does not need to analyse detailed statistics of playing teams. Such an approach is good for beginners, but it can hardly be called a strategy in the true sense.
What is the most profitable basketball betting strategy?
It is difficult to clearly answer, which basketball betting strategy is the most profitable. On this page, we went over four popular betting systems for basketball tournaments. You can select one or several basketball betting strategies and discover which of them will bring you more profit. Keep in mind, that betting should be viewed as an entertainment, but not a way to make money.
What is the most popular basketball betting strategy?
Betting on quarter totals is the most popular basketball betting strategy. There are several types of quarter betting – on total over or total under, total even or total odd, quarter handicaps for the favourite etc. On the page above, we analysed some of these basketball betting options. Many basketball betting systems are based on the Martingale strategy principle, under which the stake amount depends on the results of previous bets. That way, the bettor can return the lost funds and make a profit. The main Martingale strategy disadvantage is that it requires an impressive bankroll.
What is the basketball betting strategy for beginners?
For beginners, betting on even or odd quarter totals is the most suitable basketball betting strategy. It does not require analysis of playing teams and team leader statistics. It is only necessary to select the option: an even or odd total indicator for the next quarter. The strategy is based on a statistical regularity: only 6% of basketball matches end strictly with an even or odd total points in all quarters.