Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Handicap Betting NBA

As my regular reader already knows, I'm not a big fan of handicap betting. The idea of an imaginary finishing line certainly makes for wild finishes in-play but these markets just seem too much like gambling. It's hard enough to find a winner as it is without complicating things further! Who can really say that backing a team -9.5 is value, but at -10.5 isn't? While I don't mind putting my money on a team to win, I do mind putting it on a team to win by some random number.

I've long suspected that there might be value in laying teams that start as big favourites, but have also suspected that the probability of that team resting top players once they gain a big lead (or just easing up, as is human nature) has been factored into the price. So I've pretty much stayed away from these bets.

However, since the start of the year, I've been tracking the NBA handicaps, and while the sample to date is small, so far my initial suspicion is being borne out.

Of 49 games where the spread was 6.5 or more, the favourite has failed to cover 33 times. Something to follow as the season goes on.

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