Understanding Basketball Betting
Basketball is an adrenaline-fuelled, energetic, end-to-end event. What on the surface appears to be a fairly basic and simplistic sport is actually a complex and prolonged game of tactical chess. It might seem like it´s just a case of one team going down one end and shooting, then the other team going down the other end and doing the same, back and forth ad infinitum, yet the reality is very different. Of course, this complexity is reflected in the betting market, and with an eye for detail and a reasonable amount of research you can quite easily get a head start over the bookmakers.
The NBA Season
In the recent history of the NBA, the champions have been selected from a relatively small pool: the LA Lakers, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs all chalking up numerous titles. Because of this dominance you´re unlikely to find much value, and the chances of a team such as the Minnesota Timberwolves springing a surprise are fairly unlikely. For this reason, you should save your money. Similarly you should probably avoid backing a winner in either of the Eastern or Western Conferences.
The most valuable player (MVP) may prove more to your tastes. The award for MVP is decided by a number sportswriters and broadcasters and the award is given to the best overall player, based on criteria such as their contribution of points scored, number of assists, number of successful dribbles, and also defensive play. Several legends including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and LeBron James have all won the award in successive years, implying that it's unlikely you'll see the award being given to an outsider! A better bet is to back a more established player on the basis of early season accolades for example Player of the Month awards from their respective conferences. For that reason this season Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City is a good value bet (having never won the award before).
Betting on a per-game Basis
If you prefer betting on the more regular, gritty, everyday fare of the match markets you should seriously consider spreading bets over several different events. There are so many here it would be impossible to explain them all, but to give you a flavour there are: match winner, total points in the match, winning margin, handicap betting (bet on a particular team winning a match with an assumed head start or deficit), period betting (bet on a team winning a particular quarter or half), whether or not there´ll be overtime, and also the race to various point thresholds.
The bet you place in a particular match is obviously dependent on which 2 teams are playing. In a reasonably tight fixture such as the New York Knicks vs. the LA Clippers you should think about sensibly spreading your bets on both sides in the period betting stakes (i.e. the Knicks by 1-3 points in the first quarter, the Clippers by 4-6 points after the third quarter).
If the game is a clear mismatch then consider backing the winning margin market, or try some handicap betting. An example of this would be Miami Heat vs. the Charlotte Bobcats. You would expect the clear favourites to cruise to a victory, but your returns from simply backing the win would be very minimal. Here you should back the Heat with a starting handicap of at least 20 points, or similarly back the winning margin to be at least 20 points.