So far this week, we’ve discussed how dogs are crushing it in MLB (119-126, 48.6%, + 31 units) and favorites are dominating the NHL (436-259, 62.7%, + 24 units). In the NBA, it’s a much different ballgame without a clear edge either way. One of the reasons why betting the NBA is so difficult this season (especially right now) is the unexpected nature of late-breaking injuries.
When betting MLB and NHL, we can wake up and be pretty confident of who will be in the starting lineup. However, the NBA is a totally different story. You often wake up with several key players on almost every team who are “questionable” with an injury. To make matters worse, we routinely see several big-name players ruled out late in the day, many of whom come out of nowhere. This makes it supremely difficult for bettors because the lines can skyrocket one way or the other based on a star player being in or out. Simply put, you could spend all morning or afternoon handicapping a game only to see your hard work thrown out the window once a star is ruled out and the line is blown to pieces.
One thing I’ve found helpful: wait until later in the day to bet the NBA. I’m calling it the “6 P.M. Rule.” In other words, don’t bet a game too early in the morning or afternoon. Wait until 6 p.m. ET once all of the injury reports are updated and you know for sure who’s in and who’s out. On the one hand, waiting this late may cause you to miss a good number that you could have pounced on earlier in the day. But on the other hand, it will protect you from getting locked into a bad number that looks foolish once a star player is ruled out.
For example, on Monday night the 76ers opened as 8.5-point favorites at home against the Warriors. Early sharp money appeared to be backing Philadelphia as we saw the line move from -8.5 up to -10. But then we saw Ben Simmons a surprise scratch, which tanked the line down to Philadelphia -4.5. Steph Curry and the Warriors ended up winning 107-96. Imagine how frustrating it was for bettors who laid the points with the 76ers early, only to see Simmons a late scratch and the line plummet in the other direction.