The NBA regular season is over. Many casual fans and enthusiasts alike were glued to their screens as the final buzzer sounded on each game. The playoffs are right around the corner. If you’re one of these people, then you’re probably wondering what is the big deal about the NBA betting lines. More specifically, what is the point of having such massive betting spreads?
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in North America. According to the latest statistics from the United States Tennis Association (USTA), about 44.3 million Americans played tennis in 2018. For comparison, about 40.7 million people watched the 2018 FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) final on TBS. More people watched the Super Bowl in 2018 than played in the World Series. The point is that betting on sports is a multibillion-dollar industry. And the NBA occupies a special place in that regard.
The biggest difference between the NBA and other professional sports is that the latter usually feature smaller markets and, as a result, tighter spreads. Take the 2019 WWC, for example. The United States men’s national team is known as the “Mighty Ducks”. They’ve never really been able to shake their nickname. Despite a relatively mediocre performance in the tournament, they went into the final game of the tournament as 14/1 underdogs. But thanks to a last-minute goal by Justin Mercer, who is not a “Mighty Duck”, the USMNT was able to shock the world and win the tournament. The win moved them from a 15/2 underdog to a 7/4 favorite the following day. Small spreads like that aren’t really worth reporting, since they rarely occur. In fact, over the past three years, according to research, the average spread for a USWNT game is just 3.26 points. (Compare that to the 10.87-point average spread for a Toronto Raptors game and the 14.71-point average spread for a Golden State Warriors game.)
What is the point of such small spreads in NBA betting? There are a couple of reasons why. First, the size of the spread essentially represents the confidence level of the bookmaker. Second, smaller spreads mean that there is more liquidity in the market. In plain English, that means that there are more willing participants in the betting markets. Finally, the general public has more access to professional basketball, which means that there is more opportunity for casual bettors. (Forbes)
Why Are NBA Spreads So Wide?
There are four phases to betting on sports. First, you need to read up on the game. Second, you need to set your line. Third, you need to monitor the game. Finally, you need to collect your money and/or winnings. In the case of NBA betting, a lot can go wrong in the fourth phase. That’s why the third phase is so important. You need to be constantly analyzing the game to figure out what is going on and, crucially, if everything is going as expected. In the fourth phase of betting, you either win or lose the wager. With NBA betting, things can go very wrong in the final phase. That’s why it is very important to have a good line in the first place. You don’t want to be in the awkward position of being completely wrong about an outcome that determines your financial fate. (Forbes)
Setting your line in NBA betting is actually quite simply. You want to find the favorite and the opposite (or “reserve”) for each team. The amount of money you lay will be determined by the point spread. For example, if a bookmaker sets the spread at -2 points, then you’ll lay $100 on every NBA wager. In such a case, the favorites will be the New York Knicks and the Dallas Mavericks, with the Wizards being the underdogs at -2. Setting your line at -2 points in the 2019 NBA Draft is a fairly common practice. It allows you to lay $100 on the outcome of the draft, which is mostly predetermined. The draft order is determined by several factors, including record, pick swap, and most importantly, standings at the end of the regular season. In late April, as the NBA playoffs approach, lines usually begin to firm up. That’s mainly due to the fact that the quarterfinals, semifinals, and, occasionally, the finals are televised games. These are the types of games that generate the most interest from bettors. In general, the further the teams, the wider the spread. The reverse is usually the case for conference finals and, to a lesser extent, NBA Finals. (Forbes)
Every team in the NBA is guaranteed to play at least a few home games during the regular season. This provides you with the opportunity to monitor the game closely. You can’t watch every game, so you must rely on statistics, game recaps, and photos to catch the highlights. (Yahoo Sports)
How To Watch NBA Games
The NBA offers its fans a variety of ways to watch games. If you’re fortunate enough to live in Canada, you can watch the games legally via the league’s direct broadcast satellite TV channels. The most popular of these channels is the SportsNet Canada Group. (Yahoo Sports)
If you don’t live in Canada, you have several options. First, you can purchase the NBA TV package at your local cable provider. Second, you can use an online streaming service to watch games legally. (NHL, College Football, and others) Finally, you can purchase a VPN and use that to watch games online. (ExpressVPN)
If you’re still deciding which option to go with, remember that each one has its perks and its limitations. For example, subscribing to the SportsNet Canada Group and watching the games legally is undoubtedly the best option. However, if you’re looking to watch games on your phone, you might have to pay a monthly subscription in order to do so. (Yahoo Sports)
Important Points To Keep In Mind
There are several important things that you need to keep in mind if you decide to place a bet on the NBA. First, never bet against the run of play. That is, never bet if your team is winning or losing by a considerable margin. Second, never bet on a game that you aren’t thoroughly familiar with. Familiarity with the game is one of the most important things. You can’t call yourself a professional sports bettor and expect to win money if you don’t know what you’re doing. Familiarity with the game means that you can study stats and formulae, as well as figureheads and players, which increase your chances of winning. Finally, make sure that you are following the rules of the bookmaker you are using. If you’re betting at a reputable online sportsbook, they will have set rules for how to place, manage, and withdraw funds. (Yahoo Sports)