Betting on the Home Court Advantage
There is an automatic advantage when any team plays in front of its home-town crowd regardless of the sport, but you have to be careful how much weight you add to this advantage when handicapping the games.
This is particularly true when it comes to home court advantage in the NBA. Past betting statistics have shown that the home team will win about 60 percent of all games straight-up. Looking back at the results for the 2013/2014 regular season, the home team won 57.92 percent of the time SU. If the home team was favored in a game this number jumped to 69.7 percent and even the home underdogs won 34.2 percent of the time.
When you add in the betting spread for the games, the home team's winning percentage during the 2013/2014 season dropped to just 48 percent against the spread regardless of whether it was giving or getting points. This just goes to show you that you need to pick and choose your spots when it comes to betting on home court advantage in the NBA.
Current form is one of the most important aspects of assessing whether or not the home team is a solid play. Over the course of an 82-game NBA regular season there are going to be peaks and valleys for even the best teams in the league. If a team gets hot against the spread at home then you might want to try and ride that trend over its next few games, but the minute it cools it is time to get off that bandwagon. One of the biggest reasons why a team tends to play better at home is because psychologically the players believe they are supposed to. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not.
Fatigue is another by-product of a long, grueling NBA season. Look for mismatches between a well-rested team playing solid basketball on their home court paired-up against a team that has been on the road for a while or playing back-to-back games on consecutive nights. The best scenario is finding a road team that is playing its third game in four nights going against a home team that is in solid form.
The court itself can have somewhat of an impact on the outcome of the game even though they are all basically the same. Look for inter-conference matchups where the road team may not be all that familiar with the new surroundings. NBA players are all professionals and trained to quickly adjust to conditions such as crowd noise, lighting, court surface and any other physical characteristics that may exist, so be careful not to overestimate a courts' impact especially on a good team.
While any NBA referee would deny that a certain bias exists towards favoring the home team, it has been shown that there is some level of truth to this statement. A negative crowd reaction to perceived bad call can create an impact on a referee's mindset for the rest of a particular game. Over the course of time, you will find that most bad calls go against the opponent playing on the road as opposed to the team that is playing at home.
Probably one of the best handicapping strategies to employ when it comes to breaking down NBA games is to evaluate the matchup as if it was going to be played at a neutral site. This will heighten the importance of the factors that can have a huge impact on the outcome of the game.
Once you have uncovered the rational to choose one side or the other then factor in where the game is being played. Remember, home court will tend to add an extra three to four points to the spread if the home team is favored and reduce it by a couple of points if the road team is favored. If your confidence level remains high with road underdog then the pick becomes pretty easy. If you are leaning towards the home team as a favorite, then you need to be confident that it can compensate for extra few points it has to give up.