NBA Betting: Winning Tips and Strategies (2020 Season)

In today’s lesson, we will be learning how to bet on the NBA and how you can consistently win NBA betting like a sharp.

Anyone of legal age can start placing bets on the NBA, whether you will do it inside a casino or with an online sportsbook. You can easily take part in the action in the most popular basketball league in the world.


The NBA betting season starts in the middle part of October and ends when a new NBA champion is crowned in June.

The NBA has seen its reach expand more and more every decade since Magic, Bird, and Jordan revolutionized the league.

And just like any other sports, NBA dynasties come and go, Celtics and Lakers of the 80s, the Bulls in the 90s, the Lakers again and Spurs in the 00s, and of course who can forget about the amazing championship run by the Warriors for the past decade, against the two Lebron James-led teams, the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

For this new decade, who do you think will win the most championship? Which NBA team will you place your bet on to win it all?

As a sports bettor, you should always look at the big picture.

You should be aware of how the team stands as a whole. Which ones are on the rebuilding phase, which ones are poised to contend for championships.

The 2020 NBA Season

Let’s make the 2020 NBA season as an example. At the beginning of the season, the two teams in Los Angeles are the favorites to come out of the still loaded Western Conference, and for the East, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks and the Bucks alone.

The Golden State Warriors with the best shooting guards in the league are not the clear favorites to win the Western Conference for the first time in the last 5 years.

The only consistent team in the league, the New York Knicks, is still predicted to stay the way they were before, and not make the playoffs in any shape or form. Sorry Knicks fans.

This NBA season is one of the most exciting season to date since they are no clear favorites to win it all, some may say that the NBA has parity now.

For sports bettor this is a great opportunity to make money and win betting on the NBA, because of how unpredictable it’s going to be.

NBA Betting Strategies For This Season

1. Bet against the worst teams

For this NBA season, the considered worst teams in the league are.

  • Cleveland Cavaliers (Stay strong Kevin Love)
  • Charlotte Hornets (Goodbye Kemba)
  • New York Knicks (Because why not?)

Winning Percentage by Underdogs for the 2018-2019 NBA Season (Bottom 15 Teams)

TeamsWinLossWin. %
LA Clippers152934.09%
LA Lakers122532.43%
New Orleans153430.61%
New York135918.06%

As you can see, the worst teams last season were the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks. This season we don’t expect much to be different, we just added Charlotte Hornets to that club.

The Cavaliers and the Knicks did not improve much during the NBA offseason, and the Hornets was left with no All-Star on their roster after Kemba Walker packed his bags to join a good Celtics team.

If you’re going to consider NBA betting, those three teams should be one of your targets to bet against.

2. Consider Live Betting

Today’s game is played at a much faster pace because of the rule changes made by the NBA for the past decade compared to earlier NBA seasons.

Live Betting the Over

Teams cannot stay in the paint for too long and this made scoring easier for explosive NBA players. The shot clock rule change allowed more possessions for each team.

Some teams are taking more threes than twos, and emulating the “live and die with the three” concept in real life.

Yes, I’m talking about the Houston Rockets and their “Morey Ball” philosophy.

What do all of those have to do with live betting?

Simple, you can expect more points to be generated in today’s game.

Teams coming from a road game or playing on back-to-back sets usually start the game slow. If the point total for the said game goes lower by 10 to 15 points, you may consider placing a live bet on the over for that game.

Another good scenario to live bet is when the home team is down early and the leading team is one of the fast-paced NBA teams.

The NBA betting strategy here is to live bet the over for the game total when it goes down by 10 to 15 points from the opening game total set by your sportsbook.

Team Rankings Based on the Number of Possession Per Game and Points Per Game for the 2018-2019 NBA Season

RankTeamPossesions per Game
2Oklahoma City106.9
3New Orleans106.8
4LA Lakers106.8
8LA Clippers105.9
13Golden State104.2
16New York103.3
26San Antonio101.2
League Average103.8
2Golden State116.9
3New Orleans115.4
4LA Clippers115.1
8Oklahoma City113.9
15LA Lakers111.8
17San Antonio111.0
28New York104.6
League Average110.8

Live Betting the Under

Of course the same thing can be said when betting the under total during the game, some slow teams may start hot and then cool off the rest of the game.

The same betting strategy can be done here, once the game total goes over by 10 to 15 points, you may consider placing the bet on the under for you to win some extra cash.

Also, there are still a handful of coaches who like their teams to take things slow and take the best shot by making the most out of their shot clock.

A good example are the Denver Nuggets, they have a talented team there and play some great defense. Due to their team play and their home arena’s location, Nuggets’ home games usually go under.

The fact that they have a center running most of their point guard duties can also be a significant factor.

They also rout some of their opponents now and then, they’re a good team to monitor when it comes to live betting the game total for the under.

Other teams that come to mind for betting the under are the Orlando Magic, a very good defensive club, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Any team with a scarcity of talented players on their roster will surely have a hard time scoring the ball, right?

For live betting or in-game wagering, timing is everything.

Do not wait for better odds, if you’re confident the bet is going to win, it would be better for you to place it already.

Lines or odds will change constantly during the game, and you might lose your chance of winning your NBA bet.

NBA live betting is not only limited to game totals, but you can also bet on the money lines and point spreads as well. For now our recommendation here is to stick with the game total strategies we shared with you.

3. Pay Attention To Teams’ Schedules

NBA teams play for 82 games in the regular season and an additional set of games during the playoffs.

Lebron had eight consecutive Finals appearance in the past decade, the Warriors made it to five straight NBA Finals, and those two made a very competitive and interesting rivalry for basketball fans.

As most experience NBA bettors know, teams that enjoyed continued success for long periods are known to take some games off. They rest their superstars during the NBA regular season where games do not mean much to them. Since these teams are already looking ahead to the NBA playoffs.

Seasoned NBA bettors are familiar with the term “look ahead”.

This is a practice where a team prepares for a more competitive game and not pay that much attention to the game they will be playing before that game.

Some teams do rest players on these “look ahead” games. It’s not a league secret that teams rest superstars due to load management.

All NBA teams would indeed like to win as many games as possible but for those poised for the playoffs, resting their players is a way to make sure they’ll be ready for the big games.

Teams will still give their best and try to win the game. One or two players may step up and win the game.

But the point spread may be too much for the short-handed team to cover. Perhaps you should consider placing a bet on the underdog’s point spread.

The Perfect Example

Some teams don’t mind winning by 20 points or just a single point. A win is a win no matter what. However, in sports betting a single point can have a huge impact on your bankroll.

Let’s have an example of a “look ahead” game from the previous NBA season, the game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers that was played on March 20, 2019.

According to, the line closed with the Bucks favored by at least 5 points, and a money line odd of -250.

This was game number 72 for the Bucks. They had a game before this against a poor Lakers team last night.

This game was played a couple weeks before the NBA playoffs begin. They have already clinched a playoff spot thanks to a historic regular season showing by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks decided to rest their superstar for this game against the underwhelming Cleveland Cavaliers. This is before their game with the Miami Heat.

Giannis suited up for that Miami game.

Without one of their star players, the Bucks were down early and never recovered from there.

They went on to lose the game by 5 points despite being the favorite before the game started.

That was the second to the last back-to-back games for the Bucks.

NBA Teams Record with No Rest Days

Now, let’s look at how teams perform when they had a game the previous night for the NBA 2018-2019 season.


The data above shows that NBA teams tend to lose more games after playing the night before.

As for the over-under trend, we’re unable to find that much difference as the over and under records were almost identical.

To make sense of those graphs, we must look at data we used to create them and you may notice a couple of teams who’ll stand out.

NBA Win/Loss Records With No Rest Days

TeamWinLossWin. %
Golden State9469.20%
Oklahoma City7558.30%
LA Lakers7653.80%
LA Clippers7750.00%
San Antonio4930.80%
New Orleans31023.10%
New York21313.30%

NBA Over/Under Records With No Rest Days

TeamOverUnderPushOver %Under %
San Antonio8565256.70%43.30%
New Orleans8165055.50%44.50%
LA Clippers7773251.30%48.70%
Okla City7177348.00%52.00%
Golden State8188047.90%52.10%
New York6878246.60%53.40%
LA Lakers6282143.10%56.90%

Betting Tip

After looking at the data above, you can see that the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers are still two of the worst teams when it comes to back-to-back sets.

If you’ll check the NBA schedule, and see that the Knicks or Cavs are coming out of a back-to-back set, you may consider betting on those games.

You may also notice that the Denver Nuggets games tend to go under the game total set by oddsmakers when they play consecutive games.

The Nuggets do have a great home-court advantage and play good defense, so those may factor in as well.

4. Players Playing Against Their Former Teams

Another betting strategy you can use when betting on the NBA is to bet on a player’s over and under points total if he is playing against his former team.

This strategy applies to both traded players and those who left their former team for a much better opportunity and better team.

Let’s make one of the greatest players of all time, Lebron James, as an example here.

Lebron left the Miami Heat for the Cleveland Cavaliers and went on to take his talents to California afterward.

Lebron James torched his former teams in the 2018 season when the Lakers played the Cavaliers and Heat.


A good player to watch go up against his former team for this season is Anthony Davis. The former star of the New Orleans Pelicans, now a Laker just like Lebron.

Without much interior presence for the Pelicans, Davis could feast once those two teams face one another.

The good thing here is they both play at the same conference, so they’ll be facing more often compared to being on different conferences. You’ll have at least four games of Lakers versus Pelicans to look forward to.

5. Brewing And On-Going Rivalries Between NBA Teams

Which NBA matchups first comes up to your mind when you think about the word “rivalry”?

The Los Angeles Lakers going up against their old nemesis, the Boston Celtics?

The Batte of Los Angeles – Clippers vs. Lakers?

What about the Battle of the Boroughs in New York – Nets vs Knicks?

Or the latest rivalry, the Golden State Warriors versus any James-led team?

What about the brewing rivalry the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks, because of the matchup between their young superstars?

When it comes to betting on NBA rivalries, you may notice that these are the games that get the most public attention, so bookmakers tend to be very sharp when it comes to giving out betting lines for these games.

The public usually takes the over or the point spread of the favorites. As a smart sports bettor, you may consider going against the public for these types of games or apply a contrarian strategy.

Why You Should Bet Against The Public

If you’re going to practice this strategy, the best time to bet against the public is before the game starts. About 10 minutes before the game begins.

Those betting on favorites or over for the total tend to place their bets early on to get better odds, so placing your bets late is advisable.


Some Tips Before Placing Your Bets On The NBA

1. Look For The Best Odds

If you’re only placing your bets on a single sportsbook or bookmaker, then you might be losing some cash.

In today’s competitive market, most bookmakers are trying to attract more customers by providing better odds than their competitors.

If you’re wondering if that’s even legal to do, yes, it is. As long as you follow the laws and regulations in your area, you won’t have to worry about using multiple bookmakers.

Think of it this way, you’re buying some clothes for yourself, you find a good pair of jeans at a very convenient price, but in a nearby store, you found the same jeans at a better price.

Will you buy it from the first store you saw it or the second one that offers a better price for the same pair of jeans?

You’ll choose the one that is cheaper, right?

The same can be said to sportsbook, why should you settle with one bookmaker when you can find a better deal someplace else.

You should implement using multiple bookmakers in your strategy to improve your chances of succeeding in sports betting.

2. Utilize A Spreadsheet

First of all, using a spreadsheet is a great way to handle your bets and easily interpret both your successful and failed bets.

By using a spreadsheet, you will get a more comprehensive overview of your betting history and pattern.

Since we recommend that you should sign up with multiple bookmakers, having a spreadsheet to compile your bets on is a must-have to know where your money is.

3. Minimize Your Bets

How many bets should you place for a single game?

Five? Ten?

To be honest, it depends on you and your confidence level and your bankroll as well.

Placing a single bet should be enough for you to make money betting on the NBA.

A single game of basketball only has one final result, the home team will win or the away team will, there is no draw in basketball, unlike soccer.

For game totals, there are only two outcomes as well, either the total goes over or goes under.

For a whole number total, there is a chance for it to push or hit the exact game total set by bookmakers, this means you get your money back for that bet alone.

Do you recommend betting on the winner of the game and the game total at the same time?

We don’t.

Experienced NBA bettors know how hard it is to make the correct pick for one NBA game. Having to choose two picks in a single game every time is not a sustainable betting practice.

Your goal when betting on the NBA is to find an edge or value before placing a bet.

No Risk Bets Explained – Everything You Need To Know

If cannot find any value in any of the matchups, you should not force yourself into placing a bet. Doing so, means you’re placing bets just for you to join the fun.

4. Find Your Niche

There will be a lot of opportunities for you to make money betting in the NBA.

Even veteran basketball bettors who have been in the game for a long time have these certain areas of the betting market that they avoid at all costs or simply do not bet on. These are NBA bettors who found out where they’re good at and decided to stick with them.

There is no reason for you to bet on everything you see on the market to make money. This is only a good way to lose money.

Study your betting history. Take notes of the markets or a market that you’re good at, it does not matter if its the point spreads, game totals, prop bets, or even future bets.

As long as you can make money out of it consistently, stay with it.

5. Know When Enough is Enough

Winning an NBA bet is one of the best feelings in the world. It will be even better when you can do it consistently.

Unfortunately, thats not the case for some who lose their NBA bets more often than not. One way to start a losing streak is by not enjoying what you’re doing.

If you’ve been suffering from consecutive losses or you’ve gotten yourself into a bad beat, maybe it’s time to take a break.

Sit on your couch to watch a game without betting on it, and just enjoy the show. Always remember that gambling is just some form of entertainment.

Always practice good bankroll management.

If you don’t enjoy the show, you’re free to find another channel you’ll want to watch.

Never bet more than what you can afford to lose.

Never chase losses because you might never get them back in the first place.

Stay within your betting means and never go over it.

Good luck and always remember to gamble responsibly.

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