In this article, we’ll talk about our own experiences in trying to make sense of the tsunami of statistics that will wash over you once you open the flood gates and become interested in trying to start building your own predictive NBA betting model.
This is not the place to come if you are hoping to find the latest computer code and tips on how best to tweak your algorithms. We are locked into the old-school ways of using stats by having the misfortune of falling on the wrong side of the technological revolution.
BUT THAT’S OK WITH US
We only know how to use hard work, knowledge, and experience to help us predict the outcome of NBA games and occurrences that happen therein.
If you came here hoping for the high-tech solution to your betting system problems then feel free to click away now.
If you believe that good old-fashioned love and instinct for the game, combined with a ton of research and analysis are still valid ways to predict who will win, and are ready to take the next step, then read on…
We recommend Australian sportsbook PlayUp for all your NBA Betting. They have great offers and promotions, keen NBA odds, and a huge array of other sports to have a bet on. Read our full review of PlayUp.
18+ | You know the score | Stay in control | Gamble responsibly
BUILDING YOUR OWN MODEL
At The Jump Hub, we have spent our fair share of time studying NBA sports analytics and trying to decide exactly what they all mean.
When we say ‘fair share’ of time, we actually mean ‘uncountable thousands of hours’
An NBA betting model won’t build itself.
None of this time is begrudged. There is almost as much fun to be had in analyzing a team’s performance and predicting how it will change when they have the home-court advantage the following week, or take a long road trip the week after that.
The potential for tying oneself up in knots in researching the plethora of other stats that are available and attempting to herd them into some kind of cohesive predictive model is colossal.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
There are a mind-blowing number of angles and elements to consider when embarking on an odyssey (yes, it is that epic) like this.
From offensive and defensive rating stats to effective field goal percentage – they can all tell us something. Exactly what can be harder to ascertain.
THE TRICK IS IN FIGURING OUT WHETHER THAT SOMETHING IS ACTUALLY WORTH KNOWING
The first thing to do before starting to collect material and study more variables than you even knew existed, is to read as much as you can about how other people do this.
You’ve made a good start by coming here to read this. We know a good bit about NBA statistics between us here at The Jump Hub and have spent decades trying and testing different schemes and strategies to give us the competitive edge over the sportsbooks that will bring in some sweet, sweet moolah.
We haven’t always been good at it, and have certainly made some very bad betting decisions over the years, but that’s how you learn.
Any betting models that we have created consist of reams and reams of paperwork, riddled in scribbles and highlights from when past revelations hit us.
Learn from those who have gone before you. They suffered so that you don’t have to.
YOU WILL SUFFER ENOUGH, BELIEVE US…
This extra help up-front doesn’t stop this from being a Herculean task. You’ve still got to climb Everest, but you might get lucky and catch a helicopter ride to base camp.
Read about The Best NCAA Basketball Teams to know which teams to keep your eye on during March Madness!
SIT DOWN AND THINK…
…about what it is you already know about basketball.
ASK YOURSELF IF YOU ARE MORE DRAWN TOWARDS CERTAIN ELEMENTS OF THE GAME AND WHY
Before deciding to start building your NBA betting model, think carefully if there are any areas of the game that you are particularly drawn to, and feel you already have good instincts for.
Addressing your interests upfront to see if you can incorporate them to form a fundamental part of your overall strategy is a good idea.
NOW CHALLENGE EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW
If you had to exhaustively explain the finer details of the game to someone who had never heard of it, what would you say?
How would you describe the home team vs the away team?
Would you say that one had the advantage over the other?
Is it always true?
Do this for absolutely every aspect of the game you can think of.
Challenge everything you think you know and ask yourself if it is actually true or not, then research each element and find out. In this case:
What is the actual league average for the home and away team performing as expected?
What factors might affect any discrepancies?
LINES OF INQUIRY WILL LEAD YOU DOWN NEW, EXCITING PATHWAYS AND RABBIT HOLES
Some of them will take you nowhere, others will cause you to question the conclusions you had already come to and make you want to pull your hair out.
We found spider-web diagrams to be very useful at this early stage. It’s easier to link items together and see the bigger picture…
Once you feel that you have got a good understanding of what it is you actually know for sure and that it is based on facts, not old wives’ tales, it is time for the real work to begin…
GET ORGANIZED AND MAKE NOTES
It will be difficult to make coherent notes at first, as information comes flying in from all sides and is hard to collate. Stay focussed and be methodical. This mindset will serve you well if you adopt it from the word ‘GO’ and is the only real way to stay on top of things once you really get going.
START WITH TRADITIONAL BOX SCORE STATISTICS
Study assists and rebounds, player fouls, and turnovers.
Use online tools like CBS’ excellent stats pages to compare them in all the ways possible. Look for patterns and discrepancies. Compare teams directly against each other, then against the league as a whole. Do the same for players. Soak it all up and make note of anything that strikes you as interesting. It may mean nothing and you can discard it later, but, for now – note it down. You are building your NBA betting model piece by piece, and at first, it may not be obvious which pieces are needed, or where they go.
You may spot that the Toronto Raptors have made fewer field goal attempts (FGA) than any other side in the NBA this season so far (true) but they jump 10 places if we look at it in terms of their 3-point field goal percentage (3FG%)
Is that significant? What does it tell us about their style of play?
We can see that they make very few attempts to score during the course of a game, but are reasonably accurate when it comes to hitting 3-pointers.
They’re not sitting at the bottom of the league, so are clearly keeping other teams out even though they are not scoring themselves. Check this out and see if you’re right. Have their opponents’ scores been lower than usual when playing the Raptors?
At The Jump Hub, not only do we review odds for individual games but also the latest odds for the NBA futures markets, including one of the most popular NBA Futures bets, the NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) Betting market.
It turns out that, although they make the fewest attempts at field goals (FG) per game, they restrict their opponents to the lowest number of attempts in the league too!
Seems like we might have discovered something worth knowing. Maybe it tells us that there’s a higher probability of any upcoming games involving Toronto being lower-scoring affairs and that can help us to make an educated over/under bet?
It may be worth diving into further, later on, so we note that tidbit in the relevant section of our file and move on.
START TO DO THIS FOR UPCOMING MATCHUPS AND SEE IF YOU CAN MAKE SOME SIMPLE PREDICTIONS BASED ON YOUR FINDINGS.
Don’t go mad. There are so many NBA games on the schedule in any given season that you’re not going to run out of chances to practice. Next time you check the schedule to see which games are up next and see that Toronto is playing you pull out their file and see what it tells you when compared side-by-side with what information you have on their opponents.
THIS IS REALLY THE CRUX OF THE MATTER
You need to spend the time studying everything you can and coming to conclusions, then testing them. Our article on NBA over/under strategy (LINK) has a comprehensive list of things to look out for and delve into further, from injury news and the latest gossip to pace and player efficiency.
Your model (or models, for those of you mad enough to work on simultaneous ones) will need to incorporate as many of these elements as you deem necessary, and give each as much weight and significance as you feel is appropriate.
YOUR MIND IS THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL IN THE BOX
There’s no way to sugar-coat it.
When you’re creating your own NBA betting model, unless you are a computer whizz who can set up a predictive model to analyze a huge sample size of stats using a complex algorithm, then you are stuck with the old ways like us.
But, at the same time, for some, that’s where the fun lies.
Would we swap our years of experience and knowledge gleaned from poring over facts and figures without rest?
If you are only interested in starting an account with a betting site to make money on games then it is a perfectly legitimate way to go.
Any advantage you can get over the bookies is ok by us, and nobody is saying that it’s any easier than doing it our way.
There is no doubt that the complexities of creating a sports analytics and betting model that uses an algorithm to represent something so fluid, and where human achievements play such a huge factor is nothing short of miraculous.
At The Jump Hub, we just don’t happen to have the inclination or the ability to work it all out for ourselves, and besides,