A new season is upon us, and the first trades are making huge waves in the NBA community. The Brooklyn Nets have established a super team in the east by signing James Harden and are hoping to contend with AD & LeBron and their dominant Lakers team in the west. New stars like Luka Doncic are making their mark on the scene, and old stars like Blake Griffin are beginning to fade into obscurity, all in all, it’s an exciting time in the NBA. And an even more exciting time for NBA online betting.

Let’s face it; anyone can get lucky and be successful with NBA online betting. After all, you essentially have a 50% chance to win at random every time you try.

But some just get luckier than others. And most of the time, it’s not about luck at all, but all about knowing your stuff. Below we list 4 common beginner’s mistakes from betting expert Evelyn Balyton, which you should avoid at all times if you want to increase your betting game!

1) Blindly trusting the stats

Sure, stats are important. In the modern NBA era, probably more than ever. But often, they can be misleading. To be a successful online better, you need to dig a little deeper and truly understand the numbers and where they are coming from.

Let’s assume it is early in the season. The 4-0 Hawks are playing the 1-3 Jazz. Easy bet, right? Obviously, the Hawks team is off to a better start, so it’s quite obvious that they’ll beat the Jazz… or is it?

Not necessarily, because especially early in the season the small sample size of games means they’re not a very good comparison point. The Hawks might be 4-0, but maybe these wins all came at home against bottom ranking teams. Similarly, maybe the 1-3 Jazz records includes losses against 3 of the toughest teams in the leagues. Put effort in, understand the stats, because simply looking at the wins column can be misleading.

Similarly, TV anchors and sports writers love to bring up team records. Something along the lines of “The Hawks are 6-2 in their last 8 games against the Jazz!”. But that, too, does not always mean something. If it’s the first time this season these teams are facing each other, it’s essentially a useless stat. A nice little fact bite to throw in for entertainment, sure, but not something to place your bets on!

2) Ignoring niche stats

While you shouldn’t blindly trust them, you also shouldn’t ignore the stats. However, it is important to not simply look at the kind of superficial box score stats like points and FG%, but again dig a little deeper into those advanced metrics that really tell you how a team is performing.

Don’t simply look at the point, also look at where those points are coming from. Just because the Warriors have a higher point average than the Lakers, it doesn’t mean they are the safer bet. Teams that score more from the paint are generally a more reliable bet than teams that rely heavily on 3 point shooting.

What are the teams turnover numbers? How do they relate to their general game pace? If a team has 85 possessions, but on average 15 of those result in a turnover, they will ultimately have fewer possessions than a team that has 80 but turns it over only 7 times.

 Another good stat to check, especially for bettors that like to place over/under bets, are the teams offensive and defensive efficiency rating. Combining all these information will give you a pretty good picture of the performances of the teams you are betting on.

3) Ignoring game location

One of the most common rookie mistakes to make is ignoring the physical location of the game. In general, home teams perform much better than the visiting teams, and for some teams this is especially relevant.

In the NBA playoffs, the Golden State Warriors are considered to have some of the biggest home-court advantage as the Oracle Arena is one of the loudest stadiums in the entire NBA. The Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz both have an extreme home court advantage over visiting teams as their arenas are located much, much higher than regular arena, 5200ft and 4300ft respectively. 

 Also important to keep in mind is the travel schedule of a team. Sometimes a visiting team will be at the end of a multiple game road trip, and it’s no surprise why teams, in general, perform worse in situations like these.

4) Betting with your heart, not your brain

Often you will have an intuitive idea of who is likely to win a game. Don’t just blindly trust that. Do your research and know what you are betting on before placing any money down. Look at the stats, locations, team schedules and other factors you think are important.

There you have it! 4 mistakes that you want to avoid the next time you are betting on NBA game. Bet smart today!