NBA Statistics You Should Know to be a Better Bettor

Betting on the NBA is one of the most exciting aspects of being a fan, if you have the guts, and the money, of course, to put a few bucks on the line for your favorite team. It introduces an entirely new level of excitement in watching games, and it always feels good to get your bets right.

However, the bets you make shouldn’t be only dictated by what your favorite team or who your favorite player is, nor is it simply about who you think is the better team. Every matchup in the NBA is unique, and it opens a host of possibilities for bets.

While it’s virtually impossible to get every bet right, there is a way to increase the likelihood of winning your wagers. Today’s league is obsessed with statistics, and sports bettors should be too. There are a variety of simple and advanced game statistics available online which aren’t just for math enthusiasts who happen to like the game of basketball. These statistics, when used correctly, can guide you in making smarter bets that will pay off more often than not.

If you want to become a better NBA bettor, there are a few statistics that you should never miss to take into consideration. 

Turnover Percentage

The number of turnovers each team has can change not just the momentum of the game, but ultimately determine who wins and who loses a particular matchup. A team’s turnover percentage is basically the approximated number of turnovers a team has every 100 possessions.

Naturally, you’d often find teams with high turnover percentages at the bottom of the league standings and vice versa, and looking at the turnover percentages of two teams in a matchup can help you decide which team to bet on. Of course, the turnover percentage is just one, but is an important factor, among many factors to consider.

Looking at the turnover percentage is most useful when deciding to bet on a game straight up on the moneyline or when betting on the spread.

On/Off Splits

It’s an unfortunate reality that NBA teams can’t avoid having injured players. The physicality of the game poses great injury risks to everyone in the league, and the injury report can practically decide who will win or lose in a matchup. The on/off split of a player is a reflection of his contribution to the team.

On/off splits show the rating of a team when a specific player is both on and off the floor. For example, when player X is on the floor, his team outscores the opposition by 7.5 points, while when he is off the floor, they get outscored by 5.8 points.

Before betting on a game, look at the injury report first and if any player is injured, look at that player’s on/off splits to help you predict how his team will perform without him in the lineup. Do this not just for stars, but also for role players.

Pace

Final scores are often decided by how many possessions a team has in the game. The more possessions there are, the more opportunities for scoring a team has.

Pace is basically the number of possessions a team uses on the average, per game. While teams with higher pace are more likely to outscore the opposition, the final result is still of course reliant on other factors, such as field goal percentage, rebound percentage, and injuries.

Looking at each team’s pace is most useful when betting on the over/under. If a matchup features two teams with low pace, you can expect a low-scoring game and can often comfortably bet on the under, especially if the bookmaker has set the final score at somewhere around 220.5. On the other hand, higher-paced teams will more likely finish with higher scoring totals thus making it more profitable to bet on the over.

Net Rating

Good NBA teams can win a game against any team, but it takes great teams to win a game and to win it emphatically. The best teams often win with considerable margins that tell you that their games aren’t exactly nail-biters.

A team’s net rating is a measurement that estimates how many points a team outscores or gets outscored by the opponent on any given night. The best teams clearly have the highest net ratings while the worst teams have negative net ratings.

Consider looking at the net rating of a particular matchup to help you decide when betting on the point spread. A team’s net rating is not necessarily a precise measurement of how much that team is going to outscore the other team on that matchup, but it should help you foresee whether or not the team you’re betting on can cover the spread. 

Rebound Percentage

It may not seem obvious at first glance, especially for casual fans, but rebounds play a significant role in determining who will win a game. Simply put, team with more rebounds has more possessions, and therefore has more opportunities to score, giving them a higher chance of winning the game.

A team’s rebound percentage is an estimate of how effective a team is at crashing the boards. It’s easy to see how teams with higher rebound percentages are more likely to win than those who have low rebound percentages.

Take rebound percentages into account when betting on the spread and the moneyline. More often than not, the team with the higher rebound percentage has the greater probability of winning the game.

Per-Game Averages

One of the best measures of a player’s performance and how well he performs his role is his per-game averages. Whether a player is an explosive scorer, a pass-first guard, a rebounding machine, or an all-around player, his averages gauge how great he actually performs when he’s on the floor.

The most common and most accurate per-game averages that indicate a player’s performance are his points, rebounds, and assists per game. These should tell you how good a player is performing in comparison to other players in his position.

It’s a must to look at per-game averages when making proposition bets. There are many bets you could make based on a player’s stats by the end of the game, such as whether or not he would notch more than 25 points in a game. That player’s average points per game should tell you how many points you could reasonably expect him to score, and should be taken into prime consideration when making your bet.

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