2016-17 NBA Betting: Most Profitable Referees

At approximately 9:00 AM eastern on game days, the NBA announces the daily referee assignments on their website. For every game, there are three referees. Like with NBA head coaches, bettors must pay attention to the refs because under certain conditions some refs are more profitable than others.

For example, since 2005, home teams have covered just 49% of games, which means that there’s quite a bit of value on road refs. Thus, it’s vital for bettors to know who is officiating, noting the referees on each three-man unit with a similar edge.

One important caveat is that these officiating trends do not carry over into the playoffs as the number of bets noticeably increases due to the influx of casual bettors, which causes oddsmakers to shade their lines accordingly. For the purpose of this post, we solely focused on the regular season.

The following tables display the five most profitable active referees for home teams, visiting teams, overs and unders since the start of the 2005 season.

Best Home Refs

Referee Record (ATS) Units Won (u)
Mark Lindsay 280-240 +25.65
James Capers 261-235 +12.82
Scott Twardoski 144-130 +7.57
Tom Washington 293-271 +6.72
Tyler Ford 37-29 +6.37

Best Road Refs

Referee Record (ATS) Units Won (u)
Scott Foster 312-245 +53.92
Tony Brothers 299-238 +49.34
Brent Barnaky 189-149 +31.83
Michael Smith 285-241 +31.39
Scott Wall 260-224 +23.72

Best Over Refs

Referee Record (ATS) Units Won (u)
Ed Malloy 305-255 +33.74
Scott Foster 303-264 +24.23
Eric Lewis 300-262 +23.26
Ben Taylor 100-78 +17.61
Michael Smith 283-253 +15.59

Best Under Refs

Referee Record (ATS) Units Won (u)
Curtis Blair 243-195 +36.82
Haywoode Workman 238-193 +34.96
Ron Garretson 296-249 +33.06
Eric Dalen 235-192 +32.64
Marc Davis 305-259 +32.51

One ref that bettors should pay close attention to is Scott Foster, who is one of two refs who appears in the top-five in more than one category. Currently, he’s the most profitable road ref and the second-most profitable over ref. Despite being a profitable ref for bettors to follow, in an anonymous survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times in January, Foster was voted the worst referee in the NBA by several players and coaches.

Bettors can track the latest odds, public betting trends, injuries and even futures by visiting our free NBA odds page.

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Andrew Fine

Andrew is a Sports Betting Specialist for Sports Insights. He can be reached at andrew@sportsinsights.com.

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