Wagering on NBA events has been popular for as long as the game itself has been around. Although wagering can be done for many reasons, a major one is the simple desire to win money. This has led many creative and intelligent individuals to design systems and techniques that can aid them in their NBA wagering journey. These strategies can vary, from general ones focusing on keeping your bankroll intact as long as possible, to systems that are NBA specific.

Most, with some exceptions, will not result in certain wins. Analyzing the game, getting to know the team, and keeping track of information regarding their physical condition are all crucial aspects of being a successful NBA punter.

All of them will be able to aid you one way or another. Although many will not increase your chances of winning, they will, instead, prove to be practical and organized ways of deciding how much to wager on any given bet. In addition, keep in mind that the vast majority of these strategies work exclusively with even money bets.

Negative Progression Systems

These types of systems typically involve lowering one’s stakes once you win and increasing them when a bet loses. The overall idea of these techniques is that you will be able to make up for your losses either with a single win or through multiple successful NBA bets.

Although negative progression systems can be interesting and a decent way to organize one’s bets, it is important to remember to be cautious. How they work is that if someone has an endless amount of money, the person will eventually cover all of their losses. No bettor has an infinity of money at their disposal, however. This means that, since the number of your bets increases after every single loss, you will part ways with the entirety of your bankroll in no time. Therefore, take care not to go overboard if you decide to give any of these techniques a try.

The Martingale

The Martingale betting system has been used by punters for quite some time. It dictates that a bettors should always double their stake after a loss, which will, in the long run, guarantee that the person will always win back their stake and earn a profit.

To demonstrate, let us say you wish to make an NBA moneyline bet, and you wager $10, while your bankroll is $160. This means that if you utilize the Martingale system, you will be able to place 4 bets, each doubling in size as you lose. The main outcomes at the end are two:

  • You lost three times and won the 4th bet, winning back your losses and a $10 profit.
  • You placed a bet 4 times and lost every single one.

While the Martingale, in theory, guarantees a small profit and that you will always make back what you lose, in real life, punters are clearly hindered by the fact that they do not have access to an unlimited sum of money. In addition, bookies often impose limits on how much you can wager. Last but not least, even if you do win, the amount of money will still be fairly small compared to how much you need to have wagered.This makes the Martingale appropriate only for low-stake betting sessions where you wish for a somewhat thrilling experience but also need an organized way to keep track of your bets.

The D’Alembert Betting System

This system is similar to the Martingale in the sense that you will, again, be increasing the money you wager with as you lose. You do so by adding your initial stake unit to all subsequent bets. To illustrate, if you start by wagering $10, your next bet will be $20 if you lose, then $30 ($20 + $10 initial stake), then $40, and so on. When it comes to successful wagers, you lower your stake by one unit for the next bet. For instance, if you had wagered $40 and won, your next bet would be $30.

As evident, this system is slightly safer than the Martingale, since you are not increasing your stake quite as fast. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that here, yet again, you are restricted by your bankroll and the bookie’s maximum bet limits. In addition, making up your losses will also require more wins here as opposed to the Martingale.

The D’Alembert system’s origins are quite curious. It was named after Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert, who believed in what we now call the gambler’s fallacy, i.e., that you are more likely to win after you lose. He was mistaken, of course, since bets are independent of one another in terms of probability. Nonetheless, his beliefs are the core principle behind this betting system’s creation.

The Labouchere

Created by roulette player Henry Labouchere, the Labouchere is a complex wagering system, unlike the previous two we focused on. It follows a principle similar to the Martingale, but it is far more involved and, technically, less daring. This is due to the fact that you attempt to win back your losses through several bets, not unlike the D’Alembert system it was inspired by.

To start using the Labouchere, these are the steps you must take:

  1. Pick a series of numbers that add up to how much you wish to win. It is best to keep it simple, so we will go with the following: 1 2 3 4 2 3. The numbers do not need to be in order.
  2. Your first bet is the sum of your first and last number, in this case, $4.
  3. If you lose, you need to add your stake to the sequence. In other words: 1 2 3 4 2 3 4 Your next wager will, again, be the sum of the first and last numbers. Therefore, $5.
  4. This bet won. After each win, the first and last numbers of the sequence must be removed. Your numbers now look like this: 2 3 4 2 3. Your next bet is $5. (2 + 3)
  5. If you win again, you will cross out the outer numbers once more, leaving you with 3 4 2. Yet again, the bet that follows is $5.
  6. Continue until you have crossed out all of the numbers.
  7. Below, you can see a summary of a completed Labouchere cycle:
    The Labouchere – Winning Streak
    SequenceBetBet ResultSequence Result
    1 2 3 4 2 34Lose1 2 3 4 2 3 4
    1 2 3 4 2 3 45Win1 2 3 4 2 3 4
    234235Win2 3 4 2 3
    3425Win3 4 2

It is easy to see why this system is often referred to as the split Martingale or the Cancellation system. Some punters also call it American progression. However one dubs it, this system is quite involved and therefore not the perfect choice for inexperienced punters. It allows you to limit yourself, in a sense, so from that angle, it can be great. It has its own fair share of risks, however. Although losing streaks are not as devastating as Martingale ones, you still face the risk of parting with your bankroll before you score enough wins to make up for your losses.

The Fibonacci

If you are an artistic person, a musician, or someone fascinated by math, it is very likely that you have heard of the Fibonacci, wherein each new number in a sequence is the sum of the previous two. Like other negative progression systems, when you use the Fibonacci in gambling, you increase your wager after each loss.

To understand how it works, we will use a hypothetical $1 bet as an example. Each time you lose, you will go to the next number in the Fibonacci sequence. This shows that your second bet will be $1 (remember, we count the 0), then $2, then $3, then $5, then $8, then $13, and keep doing this until you manage to win. When you make a winning bet, your next wager must go two numbers back. Let us say we won when we wagered $13. Our next stake must, therefore, be a $5 bet.

This system ensures that you will be able to win back your losses and then some each time you wager, provided you always have enough money left to place the next bet. As we have already seen, this is not realistic. The Fibonacci is thus yet another negative progression system best suited for giving you a degree of control and keeping track of your NBA wagers, and not much else.

Positive Progression Systems

Positive progression systems are, essentially, the parallel to what we earlier described as negative progression techniques. Here, instead of increasing your stake when you lose, you lower it. Wins, on the other hand, are followed by larger bets.

These systems are far less risky than negative progressions. They are, however, not foolproof either. In fact, just like negative systems, positive ones can also end in ruin if a punter fails to consider the risks and is not careful when utilizing them. Again, remember that you do not have an unlimited amount of money to spend on sports betting. Your funds are finite, so you need to balance things out so that you do not exhaust your bankroll in a short amount of time.

The Paroli Formula

The Paroli strategy is a positive progression system, which means that your bets increase when you win. There are several aspects to this formula, but all in all it is not too complicated.

First of all, you need to determine a base stake, and the size is dependent on your bankroll and how much of it you are willing to bet. Since you will likely be wagering multiple times, it is best to pick a relatively small sum of money. For instance, $10 will do if you are working with a $250 bankroll. The size of your stake as you progress is reliant on how you perform. A loss incurred during your very first bet means you can just wager your initial stake again and continue flat betting until the losing streak ends. If you do win, you double down. If you lose, however, you must start wagering with your base stake again.

When you enter a winning streak, doubling down can be done up to three times. Afterwards, you have to start wagering with your base stake yet again. This makes the Paroli formula a fairly tame system, which will, in general, not result in substantial losses in the short term even if things go wrong.

The Reverse Labouchere System

As its name implies, the Reverse Labouchere is the opposite of the original Labouchere system. Here, as opposed to crossing out numbers when you win, you do so when you lose. In addition, you need to add an additional number to your sequence every time a bet wins. To demonstrate, we will use this series of numbers: 1 2 3 4 5.

Your first wager is 6, that is, the sum of the numbers at each end. If you are lucky and your bet wins, you shall then add this number to the sequence: 1 2 3 4 5 6. If you happen to lose, however, you must remove the numbers on each end: 1 2 3 4 5. The aim is to continue until you have lost all numbers of your sequence, at which point you either start a new cycle, or you cut your losses and stop wagering.

  1. This happens to be one of the best systems to practice self control, since you have clear, visible results that are shown in the crossed out numbers. Here is how a losing streak may look like after one winning bet:
    The Reverse Labouchere Losing Streak
    SequenceBetBet ResultSequence Result
    1 2 3 45Win1 2 3 4 5
    1 2 3 4 56Lose1 2 3 4 5
    2 3 46Lose2 3 4

Is it a surefire way to stop? Not necessarily, since you could simply start a new cycle. Nonetheless, it will be more difficult to begin anew when you can see with your eyes just how much you lost during an unlucky streak, which makes this system pretty effective in keeping you in check if this is what you are looking for in a system.

The Contra D’Alembert System

The Contra D’Alembert System is similar to the original but in reverse. Since it is a positive progression strategy, this time, we will increase our wagers when we win, as opposed to doing so after losses. As for a concrete example, we will set our base unit at $5. This means that when we win our NBA bet of choice, we will always add one base unit to our stake. Winning with a $5 stake will result in the next wager being $10, then $15, then $20, and you can continue as so until you are satisfied or happen to lose.

As evident, there is not much to this system that makes it an absolute breeze to use. It is also not as risky as the actual D’Alembert, which is an added benefit. Alas, it is not perfect either. Like all progression systems, your ability to always win back your losses is hampered by the finite nature of your bankroll. In other words, certain sequences, even ones where the winning bets dominate in frequency, can still ultimately end in a loss. As always, practice caution when you use the Contra D’Alembert.

Additional Bankroll Management Strategies

The following strategies can also be used as ways to control your bankroll. Bankroll management is especially important for new bettors who might have a tendency to be reckless and wager on bets that do not have a lot of value.

They introduce two different approaches to managing your bankroll and the amount of the bets you will place. One focuses on stability and discipline, and it allows you to wager for longer periods of time. Its simplicity makes it especially friendly to fresh punters who have yet to learn the true ins and outs of wagering on NBA events. The second system is more complicated and far riskier. It is, therefore, more appropriate for those who have at least some experience with sports betting.

NBA Flat Betting

This strategy is, once again, related to how much money you wager when you place a series of bets. Unlike the ones we discussed earlier, however, this system recommends you do not change the size of your wagers when you place bets. Instead, just bet the same percentage of your initial bankroll each time, and this is why we refer to this system as flat betting. It is not extremely popular among NBA punters, but you still see some bettors implement it, and successfully at that.

Flat betting is considered one of the best ways to bet for recreational bettors, as it involves a relatively smaller amount of risk when it comes to situations where some of your bets lose while others succeed.

The Kelly Criterion

The Kelly criterion is a formula that has seen practical use in various fields, most notably in investing and gambling. In sports betting, some sharp punters use it to calculate the optimal amount of money they should place on a bet. For it to work, the bet in question must have odds of great value. In addition, this technique relies on your exact chances of winning which, as one might expect, is not easy information to piece together when it comes to wagering on NBA games.

In fact, due to just how many aspects factor into the actual chances of a bet winning, it is often considered that making the perfect estimate is incredibly difficult and that you will likely make errors. So long as they are not too major, you can opt for using a fraction of a Kelly instead, which will make up for any mistaken estimates.

As for the formula itself, this is how it looks like: (bp – q) / b = f

Here, b is how much of your stake you can win, p is your probability of winning, q is your chances of losing, and f is the Kelly Criterion, i.e., your optimal bet.

Overall, it can be of use for those who wish to optimize their bankroll management, but it is not the easiest to utilize because of its intricacies. If you do plan on trying it out, keep in mind that many experienced bettors advise against using a full Kelly altogether. It is, in general, safer to go with half a kelly or an even smaller fraction.

Betting Strategies for Sharp Punters

The following techniques are more or less aimed at punters who wish to turn NBA betting from a fun pastime into a profitable hobby or job. Most of these strategies will take a significant amount of time to utilize successfully, and you will also need a substantial sum of money to use as your bankroll.

These types of systems are not exactly new concepts, but thanks to the internet, seasoned punters have had the opportunity to test and perfect them to the best of their abilities. Most of these techniques involve wagering at multiple sportsbooks simultaneously, which, as expected, is not exactly easy to do with how busy the life of today’s average Joe is. All of them involve risks, the most major of which being account closure or wager limitations that sportsbooks can impose if they catch on that you are using them to make money. So long as you are careful and patient, however, these strategies can be a great way to earn some extra cash.

Arbitrage Betting

This strategy is a popular way of becoming a professional NBA punter. It involves seeking opportunities where you can win money by placing a bet on both outcomes of an event. This is done on multiple sportsbooks, and if everything goes right, you will definitely make a profit regardless of which side actually won. NBA Player props are especially popular among arbitrage bettors.

Many would believe that this sounds a bit too good to be true, and, in a way, they would be correct. While it is indisputable that arbitrage betting can be done successfully, there are lots of risks associated with the practice. First of all, sportsbooks can and will limit your account if they find out that you are partaking in arbitrage wagering, and bet cancellations, as well as account closure, are also a concern. Furthermore, arbitrage opportunities usually have a short lifespan, and some might last no more than 15 minutes before they are gone. The profit margins are usually quite small too, so you will need a substantial bankroll at your disposal and a lot of free time in order to hunt down the arbitrage opportunities before they disappear, all the while dodging situations that might get you caught.

All of this combined indicates that are betting takes a considerable amount of effort. For some, it is worth the hassle, especially if they stick to betting exchanges and the few arb-friendly bookies where arbitrage betting is actually encouraged. For others, it might be too much, however.

Matched Betting

Like arbitrage betting, this technique involves wagering at multiple sportsbooks and betting on both outcomes of an NBA bet. This means that you can make a guaranteed profit. The key difference between the two is that matched betting utilizes the welcome bonuses offered by bookies to achieve this. Thus, you will place the free bet and then make a normal wager at another sportsbook. The second bet will act as a hedge. If you do everything correctly, you will make a profit no matter the winner. It is considered risk-free since you can use websites specifically made to aid matched bettors in finding offers to and instruct punters on exactly how much to wager.

Typically, matched betting is something you can do for a limited amount of time because you will quickly run out of sportsbooks. This is why you might come across the concept of gnoming if you decide to research the topic. Gnoming is the act of wagering on accounts created by friends and family you trust. As for how this aids matched betting, striking a deal with trusted individuals means that each of them can create an account at one sportsbook, and you can then take advantage of said bookie’s welcome offers more than once.

It is better to steer clear of this practice, however. Since you are lying to the sportsbook regarding your identity in order to make money, this can potentially be seen as fraud. We would thus discourage you from gnoming, and we recommend you stick to conventional matched betting. If you wish to earn money from wagering on sports long-term, arbitrage betting is a better option.

Value Betting

Value betting does not really share many similarities with the previous two techniques we discussed. You use multiple sportsbooks, yes, but that is about it. For one, there are no 100% profitable bets here, and you are not wagering on the two outcomes of a bet. Instead, what you are doing is comparing the odds of the exact same wager across various bookies and searching for odds that are higher than the actual probability of the outcome occurring.

An easy way to demonstrate such a discrepancy is a coin flip. The chances of getting heads or tails are 50%, which translates to 2.00 odds if you were to wager on one or the other. Now, imagine that one bookie offers 2.00 on heads, while another offers 2.50 on the same bet. The probability of this event has not changed, and yet the odds increased for the second option, making it a value bet. The principle is the same across all sports bets, including NBA ones. As for why such differences occur, bookies often adjust the odds to entice punters into wagering on both options equally. Sometimes, this happens in response to new information being released about an upcoming game, while in other cases, it is a matter of popularity. If one outcome is unpopular, the bookmaker will usually increase its odds to make it a valid option against the other choice.

Comparing the odds on your own can be time-consuming, so you can also use websites that gather the necessary information. Just be careful with how often you place such wagers and, in general, know that the risk of getting gubbed is not small. Bookies are not fond of players who win too often. It is better to be prepared and slow down your pace if necessary so that you can avoid bookies limiting your accounts.

Situational NBA Betting Systems

The following strategies are pretty unique, at least compared to the systems we have covered thus far. Unlike bankroll management techniques, these systems do not really apply to other sports when it comes to wagering and are, instead, NBA-specific for the most part.

The strategies we will look into here all address specific circumstances that can affect a game and its possible results. Trends are also put into consideration and are the basis of many of these systems.

Additionally, we would again like to emphasize that such strategies alone will not always be effective. In fact, to be able to utilize them properly, it is crucial to have a good grasp of how NBA basketball is played. Basically, make sure that you are familiar with NBA wagering and the sport itself before you give these techniques a try.

The Blowout System

This system revolves around blowout games, where the team you are planning to wager on has managed to achieve an exceptionally strong 15+ winning margin in their previous game.

The idea is that, since they managed to outperform to such an extent, their next game will likely not be as successful. Many factors can explain why this is a common trend, the most prominent of which is the fact that the players will be very tired during the second game. In addition, they may also be far too at ease due to overconfidence, which can also affect their performance negatively. All in all, it is observed that such teams will typically be unable to cover a +10 point spread, which is why punters are advised to wager against such teams.

The Zig-Zag System

This theory seems fairly simple on the surface. To utilize it, all you need to do is bet on a team that lost their previous game during the NBA’s playoffs. It sounds simple, and it really is, but it is still good to know just what peculiarities make this strategy sound.

First and foremost, a loss can be a bitter pill to swallow, especially for teams with players skilled enough to have made it to the playoffs. In such situations, the next game can be an opportunity for a redemption of sorts. The players will, thus, be more focused on victory, and certain updates might be introduced to their gameplay to ensure a better future performance.

Either way, remember that this is just a strategy and not a certain way to win. Use the zig-zag system as an aid if you are uncertain about who you wish to wager on, but avoid relying on it.

The High Totals System

Created by Allen Moody, the High Totals System works just as the terminology suggests. If you wish to use this strategy, all you need to do is find over/under bets where the points offered are 220 or higher, and then place a bet on over. The reason Allen Moody would choose such bets was that, often, sportsbooks would be too cautious with the totals offered for non-conference NBA events. When he first tried this system, he found that around 63.5% of his bets were successful.

It is just as straightforward as it sounds, making it a breeze to utilize even for novice punters who are just dipping their toes into NBA betting. In addition, it is not all that difficult to find over/under bets that fit the necessary criteria nowadays. Basketball’s winning margins have continued to increase in recent years just as they always have, and over/under options that exceed 220 are far from uncommon now.

The Home Court Advantage

This system focuses on how home court teams tend to play better than their road opponents. As for why this is often the case, home teams do not need to deal with additional travel in order to play the game. This has a role in preventing fatigue and is a privilege road teams do not have.

In addition, the familiarity of a home court and an enthusiastic crowd also have a positive psychological effect on the home players. All of this combined makes them likelier to be even more competitive than the team they will play against.

For the most part, this strategy sees most use when punters wager on the moneyline. In general, the win rate between home and road teams this last season hovered around 55% in favor of the home teams, which is pretty decent as far as winning rates go.

The Back-to-Back System

The term back-to-back refers to a situation where one team has two consecutive games and no rest days in between. While it is true that the league itself has made multiple attempts to lower the number of B2B’s for each team, B2B’s are not yet completely gone and are likely to remain if future NBA seasons continue at their current pace. Back-to-back games are, at the time of writing, an integral part of being an NBA sports bettor.

The system in question is easy to follow. All you need to do is factor in how playing a second game in a row can affect the team in question, and how much worse players’ performance could be.

To get a grasp of how things might play out, you can take a look through the team’s history and see how they have dealt with B2B’s in the past. According to statistics, players in such situations tend to underperform due to fatigue, but not all teams are created equal. Some do relatively well despite the difficult situation, while others might be affected more negatively. Moreover, check their travel schedule and whether they will have time to sleep enough the night prior. This is all information that will help you place an educated wager.

The 3 in 4 Games System

This is yet another system that takes into account the numerous back-to-back games NBA teams need to play throughout the season. In this case, we are looking at a very specific scenario. Mainly, a situation where both sides will be playing their third game in the past 4 nights.

If you are a punter, coming across such a listing means that placing an over/under bet is a smart move, as long as you pick over. It has been observed that exhaustion lends itself well to players going for an offensive approach, as defense-oriented gameplay tends to take far more energy and effort to execute. Therefore, it is in the best interest of either team for them to focus on scoring more than defending, which, in turn, leads to point-heavy results.

The 1/3 System

This system bears a resemblance to the Martingale strategy, at least to a certain extent. Here, you will, again, be increasing your wager as you lose. The stake rises as follows: X, 2X, 4X, 6X, 8X, 12.5X. The overall idea is that you will make a profit provided at least two of these bets win, which is why punters call this system the 1/3 strategy.

This technique is reserved for wagering against the spread. In addition, it has the same problem the Martingale system suffers from, namely that losing many bets in a row can be very costly. This is why a more cautious approach is popular among punters who try this strategy. You will often be advised to wager only 5 bets, and if none of them are successful, it is suggested you lower your stake to its starting amount. Reaching the full 6 bets is not recommended in such scenarios.

Betting Against the Public

This contrarian technique is based on the fact that the vast majority of bettors are recreational. This means that few bother with doing anything but the most basic of research. There are even punters who only wager on the NBA teams they like more and then call it a day.

Because of this, the less likely to happen outcome will often be the popular choice in a given listing, which, in turn, means that the odds of said less-attractive choice will not be great. Instead, the odds of the technically better option will be improved, and this is the perfect scenario for a sharp punter. If you wager against the public here, you will be getting the best of both worlds; a relatively safe bet with great odds to boot.

Now, this does not mean that it is recommended to always wager against the public. On the contrary, this is ill-advised. Your ability to analyze the statistics and information regarding a game is what truly allows you to find situations where betting against the public is worthwhile. While square punters will often wager on a poor bet, they are also likely to nail the better option. Thus, it is always best to practice care when you contemplate your wagering approach.


At the end of the day, there are a plethora of ways to wager on NBA events. The league is incredibly popular worldwide, so many punters have taken their time to figure out what approaches are best for NBA wagering.

If you are looking for something to help you manage your bankroll and stake amount, systems like the Martingale, the Paroli, flat betting, or the Kelly criterion could be practical options. In addition, there is a strategy for sharp punters who do not mind spending a sizable amount of extra time on wagering, so long as they can make consistent profits from sports betting. The system in question is arbitrage betting. Matched betting is also a great, albeit temporary, strategy. Last but not least, if you wish to go with NBA techniques that take into account a given specific aspect of wagering on NBA basketball games, then you will not be disappointed with what you can find in terms of situational systems.

So long as you utilize them properly and know not to rely on such strategies completely, all of these techniques are likely to improve your NBA betting skills.

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