Posted December 1, 2017 by Rob in Casino Tips

The NBA = $$$

While football accounts for over 40 percent of all sports bets over any given year, most professional-level sports bettors will confirm that basketball — not football — is actually the “bread-and-butter” sport for full-time gamblers. In the NBA, after all, every day is “Sunday.” Along with college games, the more than 1,200 NBA games during a “normal” year make up the nucleus of a professional handicapper’s action.

The general betting public lays much less action against NBA lines than NFL lines. One of the reasons must surely be that basketball action comes very fast. Pro football “happens” once a week, which gives part-timers enough time to handicap the next games. On the other hand, pro basketball “happens” every day, so do-it-yourself part-time gamblers can easily fall behind in their record-keeping. With so many games coming so quickly, it is very difficult to keep abreast of the stats and injuries and myriad subjective factors that influence each and every game.

Some part-timers get by by having effective outside help, usually by being lucky enough to have found a respectable sports service. Unfortunately, we can’t advise part-timers to get help from a sports tout or a sports service. It’s too risky. Ninety-nine percent of touts and services are out-and-out frauds. Besides, we have a conflict of interest; — we offer our own sports service, PROFESSIONAL GAMBLER Newsletter, which is delivered daily by way of FAX or email.(*)

Nevertheless, make no mistake about it, most any professional-level handicapper will tell you that pro basketball is easier to beat than pro football, and there is plenty of evidence to substantiate that claim. With bookmakers throughout the world, the “rules” concerning betting on pro basketball can be quite different than the rules concerning betting on pro football. For example, some bookmakers will not allow parlays on sides and totals of the same NBA game. Others will not allow parlaying NBA totals at all, and betting limits are generally much smaller on NBA bets than NFL bets.

These different standards are the result of bookmakers taking defensive action against sharp NBA bettors. Bookmakers, too, know they can be beaten against the NBA.

Over the years our own percentage of wins against the NBA is roughly the same as our record against the NFL — between 56 and 58 percent winners. That seems to be about average for most other genuine pro gamblers.

It may seem to many readers like a contradiction when we say the NBA is easier to beat than the NFL, but that our winning percentage against the NBA is about the same. To inexperienced gamblers, if the NBA is easier to beat, it naturally seems like we should be winning a higher percentage of our NBA bets than our NFL bets. However, that’s not the case.

Here’s why: Any genuine pro gambler will tell you that a long term winning percentage of, say, 60 percent or more, is actually too high. It means you would not be taking advantage of all the opportunities being presented. Although there are situations that do occasionally offer a 60% (or more) probability of winning, such opportunites are relatively few and far between. With the break-even factor at about 53% when risking 11 to win 10, where is the wisdom in not pulling the trigger at 55%, 56%, 57%? There are relatively many more propositions offering between 55% and 58% winners than those which offer 59% or higher probabilities. Consequently, the fact that the NBA is “easier to beat” does not translate into a higher winning percentage, nor should it; — it results in relatively more opinions. Remember, the whole idea is not to rack up as big a winning percentage as possible; — to a real pro the goal is to make as much profit as possible with as little risk as possible.

Consider casino craps as an analogy. The house’s edge against a sharp craps player is only slightly more than one percent, and yet they advertise those craps games in signs 100 feet tall. The reason is, they want all the bets they can get. The bosses know that the object is to wear down the players by using every possible advantage as often as possible. When was the last time you saw a casino that allowed only bets on propositions wherein their winning expectation was at least 58%-59%?

In an average year against the 600 NFL sides and totals (including exhibition season) wherein we have enough information to form an opinion, we average about 230 opinions. That’s about 37% of the time. Against the 2100-or-so NBA sides and totals wherein we feel comfortable forming an opinion, we have upwards of 900 opinions. That’s about 45% of the time.

Note that with more than 900 opinions against the NBA and about 230 opinions against the NFL, a single year of betting against the NBA equals about four NFL years. All things considered, once one understands the overall situation, it’s not hard to understand why the NBA is much more important to a professional gambler’s bottom line than the NFL.

Yeah, I know you’ve heard or read claims of 70%, 75%, or even higher percentages of wins from sports touts peddling 900-numbers. They promise to make you rich if only you’ll let them charge $10 to your credit card. Those men are lying. They are not professional gamblers at all; they are con-men, selling empty promises to naive newcomers. Make no mistake about it, it is tough to make a living as a professional sports bettor. Anyone who claims it is easy is not a pro at all.

No doubt, the recent strike/lockout in the NBA has hurt professional gamblers — although we’re not expecting much sympathy from non-gamblers, and no government body will let us apply for unemployment. Well over 220 actual bets have been lost by most pro gamblers because of the labor strife. Even at slightly less than 57% winners — say, 125-95 — that works out to more than 20 units’ profit gone for good. At 2% of one’s working bankroll per bet, that’s a whopping 40% of one’s beginning bankroll that has simply never materialized, and never will. Considered exponentially, that works out to just a who-o-o-ole bunch of money over the next few years.

…But that was then; this is now. The NBA season in 1999 is shortened, but at least it finally got off the ground. No sense crying over spilled vigorish.

Most pro-level sports bettors won’t be at full speed until there are a dozen or so “regular-season” games in the can (if you can call this a “regular” season.) That will be sometime around the First of March. However, there are certain subjective factors that can contribute to a valid opinion, even very early in the going, before stats can give you a starting point. During these early games in February, we suggest you consider these points:

1. Younger teams figure to tend to do better than older teams. The aging veterans of the league do not figure to have kept up their body-building regimen during the long layoff; — at least, not as well as rookies and 2nd-year men. Basketball requires extreme durability. It doesn’t take long for too many Big Macs to effect a basketball player’s performance. At least during the first few weeks of the “regular” season, we expect younger teams to carry the day against older teams.

2. Early-season games figure to be lower scoring than many people expect. For all the same reasons we think younger teams will do better than older teams, we think the average early game will tend to be lower scoring than in years past. With all the extra calories on the court, look for a lot of second-stringers to get plenty of playing time, and expect games to slow down, especially late in the second half.

3. Teams with the most new starters figure to make the most mistakes. The Indiana Pacers figure to be the team to beat this year, in large part because they’re coming back virtually intact from last year. You can regard the Chicago Bears, on the other hand, as no longer existing. Okay, they exist, but just about the only important thing returning from last year’s team is the logo. You can pretty much regard this year’s Bears as being an expansion team. Those teams with the most new starters figure to take the longest to get into sync, therefore they figure to make the most mistakes in the early going.

There are other more specific subjective factors that apply to individual teams, of course, but the above three principles can be generally applied to the league as a whole. Keep in mind, too, that early stats figure to be very unreliable, and last year’s stats can be pretty much forgotten. If you use stats in your predictions, begin a new database after the “regular” season begins. Don’t use stats from exhibition games, and be especially careful when mixing home stats with visiting stats. Check our website Ffor scores, lines, schedules, and a daily complimentary pick. We’ll also pitch you a subscription to our service.