Basketball 101

The NBA is a tough eight-month grind, similar to baseball. That means riding hot streaks as well as cold ones, and managing your bankroll carefully, are all very important over this long period of time.
 
Bet a little more (about 10%) when winning, but don't get too cocky. When losing, scale back a bit until you start to win again.
 
Having the right feel for the NBA is huge. It's developed through experience, watching the games, analyzing player strengths and weaknesses and understanding situational aspects. These include, but are not limited to, road trips, teams being played next, injuries and home court advantage.
 
When we mention "teams being played next," we are referring to the fact that teams look ahead and past who they're playing on a given night and occasionally "look ahead" to the next opponent, especially if it's one of the NBA glamour teams such as the Heat, Lakers, Celtics or Magic. Watch out for coaches who rest their better players on a given night so they'll be fresh and ready to go against one of those glamour teams, or against a particular rival.
 
As there are only about 5 to 7 NBA teams in a given season with a winning road record, it's very important to keep track of who are the better road teams as well as how long any particular team is away from home. Seeing a team playing its fourth straight road game and also playing Denver or Utah ... two teams who play "at altitude" is a red flag pointing to a loss. Near the end of the 2010 season, in fact, Boston was playing its fourth straight road game at Denver and a tired Celtics team got beaten badly by the Nuggets.
 
Because of the long NBA season, there will be short windows of opportunity to take advantage of inside information, such as a key player unexpectedly not being in the lineup because of injury, suspension or other personal reasons.
 
Of course, totals on games can always be played. Determining factors here include team match-ups and which teams are more or less committed to playing good defense. The totals' line, will, of course, reflect the public's perception of the teams' offensive and defensive abilities. The total, for example, is set much higher when two bad defensive teams like Sacramento and Golden State play one another, than when two good defensive teams like Los Angeles and Boston meet.
 
Finally, getting in touch with the rhythm of the NBA takes time. Studying player match-ups and coaching styles are very important factors when determining who to bet on in any NBA game. The bottom line with the NBA is to keep plugging, exploit hot streaks, yours and any particular teams, take advantage of any inside information when available and lay low while wagering less during the inevitable cold spells. The NBA can be beaten, but not by impatient and greedy gamblers. Be smart when handicapping the NBA, bet with your head, not over it.
 

College basketball picks from Real Money Sports handicappers give college hoops fans the edge during March Madness.  Our NCAA Picks have selected the March Madness winner for the past three years.

 

College basketball is similar to college football in that the "big name" teams seem to get the bulk of the public's play most of the time. NCAA teams like Duke, Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina, Arizona and UCLA get the bettors' "Love" and the lines on those college basketball teams usually run 2 to 5 points more than they should really be. The value is simply not there.

 

There are simply so many NCAA basketball games, usually 70 to 85 on a college basketball Saturday, that it's difficult for oddsmakers to make accurate numbers on every game. They make mistakes and those mistakes are usually on what we call "no-name" teams.

 

When NCAA March Madness conference play begins, it's important to see who these teams played earlier. Did they play cupcakes to bolster their records or did they play tough opponents to better prepare them for a tough conference season? As teams play each other on a home-and-home basis, look to see who has the edge at home and whether or not one team has an advantage.

 

Does one team dominate the series or not? Revenge and rivalries play an important part in NCAA conference play. Watching the attitude of teams both in tight games and in blowouts toward conference rivals is important. Players and coaches have long memories with regard to who "stuck it to them" or who just ran out the clock in a blowout situation. No one likes to have the score run up needlessly against them. We watch these situations very carefully.

 

Before March Madness begins, we'll give you some factors to consider around tournament time.  Our March Madness picks have proven to be the best college basketball picks around.  Our NCAA Picks have selected the winner 3 years in a row.