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How to win money betting on basketball

The National Basketball Association (NBA) format and season

The NBA comprises 30 teams that play in the Eastern Conference (15 teams) and the Western Conference (15 teams). Each conference is further subdivided into three divisions. Eastern Conference divisions are called Atlantic, Central and Southeast. Western Conference divisions are called Northwest, Pacific and Southwest.


Playoffs and NBA Finals

NBA playoffs commence in late April with eight teams from each conference competing for the championship. Playoff games take place between the winners of each of the three divisions and the team with the next best record from the conference. These four teams are given the top four seeds, and the four teams with the next best records are given the lower four seeds.

The playoffs follow a knockout tournament format. Each team plays an opponent in a best-of-seven format in each conference. The winners of each conference then play in the NBA Finals to determine a champion.

Markets

Moneyline
This is an outright market. You bet on a team at given odds.

First half moneyline
This in an outright market to determine which team will be leading at halftime.

First quarter moneyline
This is an outright market to determine which team will be leading at the end of the first quarter.

Handicap or spread betting
In this market, the favourite is allocated a number of points with a minus (-) sign. For example, if the Boston Celtics are showing -10.5, the team will have to win by more than this figure for you to win the bet.

First-half point spread
This market ends at halftime. Handicap rules apply.

First quarter point spread
This market ends at the end of the first quarter. Handicap rules apply.

Total points over/under
The total number of points scored by both teams determines the winner of this market.

First half total points
The total number of points scored by both teams at halftime determines the winner of this market.

First quarter total points
The total number of points scored by both teams at the end of the first quarter determines the winner of this market.

Strategy

Having a solid betting strategy is a vital component to making money on the Betfair exchange. Spotting trends can be especially profitable when trading on the exchange. For example, the Oklahoma City Thunder has been averaging 119.0 points in their last four games while shooting 51.4 percent. This is a perfect example of a team that must be followed in the short term until their form starts to level off. No team can sustain this level of play for extended periods, so it is crucial to stop when the numbers drop.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Milwaukee Bucks recently fell to 2-21 against Western Conference opponents. This is an example of a longer-term trend that can pay dividends. This team should be opposed until they win two or three consecutive games against the West.

In-play strategies

Knowing when to bet against the market is crucial to securing a profit. One strategy I am fond of is backing a team with a double-digit deficit at halftime.

Always back a team that has a winning record and is playing a team with a losing record. Statistics are valuable when trading on basketball, and I find them especially valuable when trading in play. At halftime I go to NBA.com and check the relevant percentages of the game I wish to trade on. For example, the Miami Heat may be trailing the Orlando Magic by 15 points at the interval. Orlando may be shooting the ball at 55 percent, but their average is only 44.4 percent. They would be unlikely to continue to shoot at this level for the whole game, so they should be opposed. On the other hand, Miami is averaging 50.7 percent for the season, and based on this percentage, the team would be likely to stage a comeback. A win bet on Miami should be placed.

The format at NBA.com is user friendly, and both defensive and offensive stats can be read on one page. The page features a filter icon with which you can add or remove statistics to suit your needs. I use this filter to read first-half statistics. This enables me to make an informed decision quickly.

The same page can be used to trade the total points in the in-play market. For example, if the Phoenix Suns are playing the Los Angeles Clippers, the average total points score for the game will be 212.8. This score is based on a combined figure of both teams' seasonal averages. If the total points scored at halftime is 90 or under, a bet on the over total points should be placed. Statistically speaking, both teams should score heavily in the second half. Do not be afraid to go against the market in these situations. A healthy profit can be garnered following these rules.

Opposing a big-market team can yield a healthy profit. The New York Knicks are one of the most recognized teams in the NBA and often trade at shorter prices than they should, particularly when they are leading at halftime. I use Basketball Reference along with NBA.com when opposing a big-market team. Basketball Reference includes an excellent game results graph that provides the season results for each team and the margin of victory at a glance.

The adage 'No one ever went broke making a profit' certainly applies to trading basketball. A basketball game may have several lead changes, and most teams have the ability to score heavily in bursts. As a result, it is not uncommon for both teams to trade at odds on during a game. An opportunity to trade out for a guaranteed profit may present itself throughout the course of a game. If you are trading in play and have the opportunity to make a profit, I would recommend carefully considering this option.

Resources

With several games being shown live on Betfair Video, the only other resource needed to watch the action is NBA.com. For the die-hard NBA trader, a League Pass is recommended because every game is shown live. In addition, the site has statistics covering most aspects of the game.

One resource I simply cannot live without is Basketball Reference. This site has almost every important statistic covered and is user friendly. Their team gamelogs are an outstanding source of information that is easily accessible.

The Betfair platform is ideal for trading basketball. A host of markets cater to the beginner as well as the experienced trader. Basketball is not only an exciting game to watch but to trade on.

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