Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 5:00 PM
As promised, we’ll have our first NBA discussion of the new season today here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. I’m plenty mad about a football game or two at the moment, so it will be good to channel that energy profitably. This year in particular, early season NBA handicapping is full of great opportunities because so many teams have made changes.
*About a third of the league has a new head coach
*Many teams are dealing with dramatic gains or losses in personnel
*Many teams have stars healthy right now, who missed time last season.
*A few are already dealing with bad injury luck
*Oddsmakers are taking some wild guesses because of extreme results.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a great example. They have a new head coach. They have two new superstars in the lineup in LeBron James (by way of Miami) and Kevin Love (by way of Minnesota). They were expected to be fantastic…but laid an enormous egg on opening night when they lost outright to New York as a 13-point favorite. Since that very same New York team had just been crushed by Chicago, Cleveland was posted as an underdog at Chicago only to win outright.
Oddsmakers are chasing the last game too often…are really struggling to pin down how good or bad the vast majority of the league is going to be.
Whenever oddsmakers are vulnerable, smart handicapping is post powerful!
Here are some quick tips that should help YOU get up to speed quickly.
*List all the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS for each team, and monitor their health. I always encourage you to do this in all sports. But it’s more important in basketball than in football or baseball because only five guys are on the court for a team at any given time. GAMEBREAKERS have much greater power in determining pointspread results in this game than any other. A superstar baseball slugger may not even bat in the ninth inning, and great starting pitchers are never on the mound. NBA PLAYMAKERS have the ball in their hands when a winner is being determined.
*Pay close attention to schedule flow so you know which teams are rested and which are tired. There have been several games already where one team was on night two of a back-to-back and the other was fresh as a daisy. Now, I’m not suggest that the fresh team will cover every one of these. But, you need to know which teams have the depth to deal with fatigue spots, and which are going to fade in the fourth quarter because they don’t have the legs or bodies for it. No other high energy sport offers this particular advantage to handicappers. Be sure you utilize it.
*Ball movement is more important now than it’s ever been in terms of handicapping the league as a whole. There have always been teams who moved the ball well, dating back to Bill Walton’s Trailblazers, Walt Frazier’s Knicks, and even Bob Cousy’s Celtics. But, those teams were the exception rather than the rule (bog-hogging was the rule!). That’s why they did so well. Now, EVERYBODY is trying to be like the San Antonio Spurs…whipping the ball in and out for either layups or three-pointers. Teams who can do this have a big edge over those who can’t. And, oddsmakers are well behind the curve in catching up to this reality. You should study three-point production, and assisted basket percentage and watch as many games as you can so you can take full advantage.
*One key that’s been true forever in NBA handicapping is that it pays to study DEFENSE. Highlight shows are still all about slam dunks and three-pointers. Announcers and crowds go crazy for shotmaking…but rarely for solid “hand-in-the-face” defense that forces guys to miss shots. Study defensive shooting percentage and defensive efficiency (points allowed adjusted for total possessions) so you know who the best defensive teams are. You’ll really love pocketing the cash when fresh, strong defensive teams are underdogs or cheap favorites against tired ball hogs!
We’ll talk a lot more about the NBA through the season. Though, the bulk of those articles will come once football is finished. You regular students know that I emphasize the gridiron in November and December…and then switch heavily to basketball from January onward (through March Madness and then the NBA Playoffs). If you want to supplement your current football portfolio with nightly basketball, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card.
Questions about full season packages can be answered personally by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about combination packages that include football and basketball. If you love college hoops…we’re just days away from the beginning of that season!
I’ll see you again later this week as we move back to football to get you ready for a particularly huge weekend of marquee matchups. The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and hard work!
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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon
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