Betting Trends in the NBA

Where to begin….

Sports betting will always revolve around numbers. Whether it’s about the odds, the scores, your wager, or your money, you can always find data if you keep track of your bets historically.

And that’s the beauty of sports betting. While luck is a huge variable in winning, there is a noticeable trend that you can analyze in sports betting. It may not give you a perfect record, but at least it will elevate your chances of winning. In short, it’s better to win some than to lose a lot.

Betting trends to consider in basketball

There are a few trends that most basketball punters usually try to look at before finalizing their wagers. The majority of these trends involve the point spread and the point totals.

Each market has a noticeable trend relative to the teams involved. For example, this year’s New Orleans Pelicans would always result in ‘Over’ on the suggested Over/Under odds. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns have covered the spread twice in every three games this season. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to determine the betting trend for each market.

Point spread

The point spread is the betting line set by bookmakers. For example, the Los Angeles Lakers battle their Staples Center co-tenants Clippers. The Clippers are -3.5 favorites to win against the Lakers in their match-up. On the other hand, the Lakers will possess a +3.5 handicap on their end. The +/-3.5 refers to the point spread.

Now, two probable results could happen after the game. If the Lakers either win or lose by 3 points or less, bettors who wagered on the Lakers will still win money because of the +3.5 handicap. It is called betting ‘against the spread,‘ or ATS. ATS usually involves betting on the underdog because you know they can overcome the bookmakers’ spread.

Meanwhile, if a punter still bets on the favorites despite the negative betting line, the strategy is called betting ‘with the spread,‘ or WTS. Using the same example, as long as the Clippers win by 4 points or more, people who placed their money on the Clippers at -3.5 win money.

However, if the Clippers win by three points or less or lose the game, the bet automatically goes to the Lakers. WTS bettors usually wager on the favorites because they are confident that the team can cover the spread.

This season, the top five NBA teams who have covered the spread are the following:

  1. Phoenix Suns – 64.8%
  2. Memphis Grizzlies – 62.3%
  3. New York Knicks – 61.8%
  4. Utah Jazz – 60.0%
  5. Los Angeles Clippers – 58.9%

On the other hand, the following are the five other NBA teams that have covered the spread the least:

  1. Houston Rockets – 31.7%
  2. Indiana Pacers – 39.7%
  3. Toronto Raptors – 41.1%
  4. Sacramento Kings – 41.8%
  5. Miami Heat – 42.6%

Based on the data gathered above, if the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets face each other, the wise thing to bet on is to go with the Phoenix Suns’ betting line. If they’re the underdog, then go against the spread. If they’re the favorites, then it’s logical to bet with the spread.

However, if the Suns face a team like Memphis Grizzlies or the Rockets play against the Indiana Pacers, try to wager on a different market if you’re looking for conclusive data analysis on whom to bet for.

You can find the data on all 30 teams on this website:

Point totals

If you’re not sure how much one team will win over the other, why not give point totals a try. Point totals refer to the total score between the two teams that played. The betting line set for point totals is the odds for Over/Under.

For example, the Lakers and the Clippers’ Over/Under are at 237.5. If the Lakers and Clippers’ final score against each other ends up 238 points or more, then punters who bet on ‘Over’ wins. But if the final score is 237 points or less, the people who wagered on ‘Under’ are the winners.

If the final score is the Lakers beating the Clippers, 121-116, is it Over or Under? 121 + 116 = 237 points. 237 is 0.5 points lower than 237.5; therefore, the final score totals is Under.

For the 2020-21 NBA season, the top five teams involved with the most point totals going Over are:

  1. New Orleans Pelicans – 65.6% Over
  2. Indiana Pacers – 60.6%
  3. Milwaukee Bucks – 60.4%
  4. Brooklyn Nets – 60.0%
  5. Denver Nuggets – 58.2%

Meanwhile, the five teams that usually goes Under the most are:

  1. Los Angeles Lakers – 63.6% Under
  2. Dallas Mavericks – 59.3%
  3. New York Knicks – 58.9%
  4. Golden State Warriors – 58.2%
  5. Houston Rockets – 55.5%

Like in the point spread, it’s easy to bet on Over if the Pelicans play anyone between the Pacers, Bucks, Nets, or Nuggets. You can apply the same strategy by betting on Under if the Lakers go up against anyone between the Mavericks, Knicks, Warriors, or Rockets.

But if the Lakers and Pelicans, two contrasting results on point totals, face each other, you can also refer to the point spread. The bigger the point spread, the more likely the game ends on a lower point total.

For all 30 teams’ point totals this season, you may refer to this website:

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