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Tips for Betting the NBA and NCAA

Tips for Betting the NBA and NCAA


1) Don’t worry if your bet is sharp – Quit worrying about the sharp side of a game and/or fading the public. There is not a sharp/square side to every single game, nor should it really matter what side they are on (the sharp number could easily be gone). A lot of times the sharp side is the public side, but the sharps may have just gotten the number ahead of the majority of the public. Instead try to make solid bets over and over again, and focus on knowing as much as you can about the teams who are playing the game.

2) Let-downs, Look-aheads, and Sandwiches – If a team just had a huge upset and is now taking their inflated egos and numbers on the road, always look for a let-down. Teams in college especially come out flat for these games because they are not mature enough to understand how to handle praise, media attention, or expectations. Similarly if a team has a huge top 10 game or an Auburn-Alabama kind of rivalry in their sights, they tend to look-ahead to the game and come out flat the game before the rivalry. If a team just came off a huge upset and is playing a rivalry game next, that game in between is called the sandwich game. It is one of the best spots you can ask for to fade a team.

3) Young NBA dogs are the best dogs – In an NBA season that will have many teams resting or taking the night off, the most reliable dogs ATS will be the young teams that are healthier and are playing for spots on NBA rosters next year. Those ugly, young dogs that the public hates will offer more value and more effort per game than any favorite can or will. Look for times when these teams really start to gel and play them before the media starts to stroke their egos.

4) Bad teams and unders have inherent value – Books know the public hates to bet bad teams (and loves to bet overs hoping for a high-scoring affair), so the lines are usually adjusted slightly because of this. This does NOT mean to bet every bad team and every under in every spot. Favorites are going to cover a good % of the time, but I have learned all sharp bettors have developed an almost natural bias to dogs and unders!

5) Get the best of the number – The lines that Vegas closes at are going to be pretty close to accurate over time. The real key is to try to beat the closing number when you bet.  If a game opens at Raptors +9 and closes at Raptors +6, then you got the best of the number if you grabbed it at +9. Try to start understanding and predicting where a game you like will move and hit it at the best of the number. This is so much more valuable and profitable than blindly trying to follow wise guy steam.

6) Bet the small games for small amounts – Manage your bankroll and bet less than .25% of your entire roll on each game (part of managing your bankroll properly), but also focus your attention away from the big games (which offer substantially less value and return) and look for your edge in small NBA games or Conference USA basketball. You have a lot better chance of finding an edge in games where the book has less money, time, and attention dedicated to knowing what will happen.  Small games for small amounts…

7) Old NBA teams without much rest should be faded or stayed away from – The Celtics, Spurs, and Suns are three teams that immediately come to mind when mentioning old age in the NBA. These teams also understand the season is a marathon, not a race; they will physically and mentally take games off during this condensed season, so any bets on these teams must be well-researched. These teams are great teams to fade when they are favorites on the road, playing in b2b’s, or when they are playing in those 7 games in 10 days situations (or whenever you can make a strong case they just need some rest).

8 ) Always look to fade recent #1’s in college or teams on a roll in the NBA – When a team becomes the new number one team in college, a series of things happen: the lines are automatically inflated because of their new status, the public tends to place a large amount of bets on this team on the rise, and the players come out feeling great about themselves but lack focus on their upcoming schedule. The same thing happens when a young NBA team wins 4 or 5 games in a row. Look for situations to fade these teams.


by Rance Young  email me: ranceyoung@behind-the-bets.com

One Response to “Tips for Betting the NBA and NCAA”

  1. Reid Mahne January 13, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm #

    Great article. I appreciate you offering your knowledge for free. You have no idea the difference you make for small guys like myself who use our winninga for things like diapers and formulas. Next time I am in VegS, let me buy you dinner or a drink.