The main thing I've learned about the NBA is that public perception seems to weight a ton in determining lines. I think the most obvious example I saw was last week when Cleveland and Houston hooked up in TX and the Cavs were a 3 point favorite. McGrady was hurt and the Cavs were rolling, which made the entire world get on the Cavs side at -3 (meaning they had to win by 4 or more for the bet to cash). What happened? Well Houston barely won, by 19.
So, what does this mean? Well it means that people, when it comes to sportsbetting, are stupid. This reminds me of a quote from Men In Black:
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."
The public, in terms of sports betting, is wrong more than they're right. It's quite amazing really. While sites should only make money off of their juice they certainly make money on the public's stupidity. Not all lines are made equal, the Cavs game is a perfect example. There vast majority of the money bet was on Cleveland's side yet the line didn't move enough to make up for the disparity. This means the sports books were taking a risk, however, it was a calculated risk. In instances such as this one you want to bet with the books, not the public. Trust me, they know a lot more than any of us.
This is how I bet, I look for spots where it would seem the sports books are taking a risk. There are many sites that offer information on the amount of action on each side of a bet. I then look at the line and see if it moves. If it doesn't, I have found a game I'm willing to bet. Most of my bets are based off of this information, not analyzing trends and player match-ups. I let the books do all of that work, and then I use their information against them.
I am not saying this is the end-all to sports betting. There is certainly more than one way to skin a cat; however, this approach has worked the best for me. One final note, I love home underdogs in sportsbetting. Unfortunately in the NBA home court advantage isn't quite what it is in other sports.
Bets I'm looking at for tonight
WAS +12.5 @ SA
The line opened at -14 and it seems more than 2/3's of the action went on the Spurs, yet, the line is down to 12.5. This is certainly interesting, the action warrants an increase in the line, not a decrease, and a 1.5 downward movement is typically a lot (although not as much in this case as spread opened at 14). I'll keep an eye, although I doubt I'd want to take this much lower. The one thing to note about the Spurs is teams tend to "back-door" cover against them quite a bit, as they don't usually blow teams out, even with big leads in the 4th quarter.
Over 208 GS@DET
The line opened at 206.5 and currently sits at 208. Interesting as it seems there has been more action on the under, at about a 3:2 clip. Generally I like to look for more of a disparity, however, when the line moves more than a point I don't need much. The reason the public is all over the under is because they see a 200+ point total in Detroit and automatically think to years past when the Pistons were stingy on D. Earlier in the year in Golden State the Pistons won 107-102. The question is how does the Warriors offensive system work on the road? Well they tend to score 11-12 points less a game on the road. OUCH, looks like I probably won't be taking this bet. Although the under may now look good, remember, no way am I betting with the public ever.
I'll update my bets later if I place them. I've been up since 2AM, so here's hoping I stay awake for a few more hours!