A+ A A-

NBA – National Basketball Association Picks explained

NBAEvery NBA basketball season there are a ton of new handicappers that want to bet on this great sport, and with those rookie bettors in mind we created this article called “NBA Picks explained”.


We know you aren’t really a “dummy” – when we use that term it just means the folks who are new to the sport and just don’t have the same knowledge that seasoned National Basketball Association handicappers have at their disposal when making NBA picks.  You could find the best NBA handicapper in the nation and he still was a “dummy” at some point in his betting career.  We aim to take our readers to the next level on the betting spectrum and this article will explain some basic things that you’ll need to know if you want to be successful at making NBA picks.


Every new bettor needs to know about the NBA betting odds and that is where we’ll start.  Like football, the three most common ways to make NBA picks are the point spread, the money line, and the total.  I’ve listed examples below and will explain each in further detail as we go along.

Point Spread: Nets +12 -110, Lakers -12 -110

Money Line: Nets +340, Lakers -400

Total: Nets/Lakers over or under 202 at -110


The point spread is the most common way to make NBA picks and you can tell from the example above that the Lakers are 12-point favorites.  The “-“ sign indicates the favorite while the “+” sign means the underdog.  For the Lakers to win this point spread bet, they need to win by more than 12.  For the Nets to win, New Jersey could win outright or lose by less than 12.  A 12-point Laker win means that everyone gets refunded.  The “-110” each way is fairly common in sports betting and means you have to risk $110 to win $100 on your NBA picks (you can risk more or less in your actual betting, but the risk to win percentage remains concrete in this example).


A money line wager means you are only making NBA picks on the team to win outright.  Using the odds above, you’d have to risk $400 to win $100 on the Lakers while a $100 wager on the Nets would net you $340.  That means that you’d have to win 4 times on your NBA picks for every 1 loss at these odds just to stay even.


The last of the popular ways to make NBA picks would be to go with the total.  Using our above example for making NBA picks, you can bet that the total points scored by both teams goes over or under the set number of 202.  Overtime counts, so it’s best not to bet on an under if you think the teams have a realistic chance of playing a close game.


There are various other prop betting options for your NBA picks and you’d be amazed at the vast variety of bets that are available out there.  A few examples are: the player to score the most points, the player to score the first point of the game, and the combined points, rebounds, and assists for a number of players on any given day. So don’t be afraid to experiment with NBA picks to get the best odds on your betting.


There are a few important considerations to keep in mind if you plan on getting the best value on your NBA picks.


Just as in any other sport, the first thing you need to realize when making NBA picks is that certain teams are going to be bet heavily by the public regardless of the opposing team or the situation.  In cases like these, you’ll want to make your NBA picks early if you like the team that the public is likely to bet for, and place your bets late if you prefer the more publicized team’s opposition.  You’ll increase your betting odds by wagering on the NBA in this manner, and the difference between making NBA picks at -105 and -120 is a large sum of money when you figure out the math over a few hundred bets.  Examples of the “public darling” type of teams in the NBA when it comes to NBA picks are the Los Angeles Lakers, and Boston Celtics, the New York Knicks, and, perhaps more than any other for the upcoming 2010-2011 NBA season, the Miami Heat.


A better understanding of basketball handicapping will also ensure you get more value on your NBA picks.  Many times people just assume certain things without taking a closer look at important statistics that are likely to affect a game’s potential outcome.  As an example, let’s say the Minnesota Timberwolves have beaten the Chicago Bulls, New Jersey Nets, and Golden State Warriors by an average of 22 points over their last 3 games.  Everyone is going to assume that the Timberwolves have everything figured out, and there will likely be lots of NBA picks on them in their next game.


What we failed to mention in our theoretical example is that the Nets, Bulls, and Warriors are poor rebounding squads and the Timberwolves’ next game is against the Dallas Mavericks, a team (for the purpose of our example) that is 4th in the NBA in rebounding.  A closer look before making any NBA picks indicates tons of second chance points and offensive rebounds for the Timberwolves in recent games, but the Mavericks are likely to take away those options and make this game much different than the recent outings for Minnesota.  You really need to understand the situation a bit in-depth to even fully grasp what “value” means in regards to making winning NBA picks.


Another point I want to make about getting the best value on your NBA picks has to deal with monitoring injuries.  Thanks to social networking sites like Twitter, sports bettors are now getting important injury information as quickly as the sportsbooks.  An easy way to make money would be to bet against a team when you first hear that a star or major role player is going to miss out on a game or two.  It’s almost worth betting that team blindly if you see the report as soon as it hits the wire, because a worst case scenario for you at that point would be to bet on the other side to ensure a profit.  For those looking at making NBA picks this way more than occasionally, the term is referred to as “scalping” and there is plenty of information available online.

Bonus Offers

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Back to top