Tips for Betting NBA Futures and Props
The San Antonio Spurs were still putting the finishing touches on a five-game romp over Miami in the 2014 NBA Finals and most of the major sportsbooks had already released their futures odds to win the 2015 NBA title. The actual numbers might make a nice read for entertainment purposes only, but they should never be used in an actual wager. Too many things can happen in an NBA offseason with the draft, free agency and trades to put any kind of credence in these opening odds.
The other thing that you need to take into consideration when betting NBA futures as they pertain to winning the conference and/or world title is that favorites win most of the time. The Heat and the Spurs were preseason favorites to meet in the NBA Finals and they did. You might have been hot on Brooklyn taking the East or loved a team like Houston in the West before the season started and there was probably some solid value in these team's odds, but in the NBA the cream almost always rises to the top.
If you still feel compelled to bet on these types of futures, then limit your wagers to the top two teams in each conference. Place a small bet on each team to win their respective conference as well as a NBA title and go on your way. Anything beyond that is probably a waste of money.
If you are looking for solid value in a NBA futures bet, then focus your energy on projected win totals for all 30 teams. This is something that can be properly handicapped based on historic data, a team's current roster and its overall schedule.
There are always some surprises with a team playing better or worse than expected from one year to the next, but unless it made some dramatic additions or lost some major talent, there is a good chance its overall win total will not vary all that much from one year to the next. Bad teams that did nothing to improve will probably lose even more games the following season and conversely, good teams that maintained their current roster will most likely maintain their win total the following year.
Betting NBA Prop Bets
The sportsbooks will actually release two types of prop bets for the NBA. The first deal with odds set for things such as league MVP or rookie of the year which are very general and wrapped around a season-long proposition and the other are the daily player props that are released for a performance in a particular game.
The first type of NBA props are fun to play, but any actual wager you place should remain small in nature since the value in the numbers usually remains low. Betting on daily player props is a whole other story and if you are willing to spend some significant time handicapping the actual numbers they can be quite lucrative over the long run.
Oddmakers will release props for things such as total points, total rebounds and total assists or a combination of all three for a set number of players for that night's games. These betting odds are somewhat based on current form, but they also rely heavily on a player's season average in these categories.
The net result is that certain players will end-up getting undervalued or overvalued in relation to their current form. This, in turn, leads to some bad lines for these player props on almost a daily basis. The trick is to uncover the undervalued players that are set to go off that night and crush the prop bet odds by going way OVER the total. You also want to find the players that are overvalued in light of the betting odds for a play on the UNDER in that prop bet.