2017-18 NBA Betting Against the Public Report

2017-18 NBA Betting Against the Public Report

Another week, another sport about to begin. It’s that time of year! A bettor’s paradise: Football, basketball, baseball, hockey. Summer’s over and we’re all about to become pale, gross slobs (at least I am), but there will be no shortage of action.

As is the case with pretty much every other sport, fading the public in the NBA can be a very profitable endeavor. NFL bettors are off to a great start this season, with teams getting 30% or less going 14-6 ATS and teams getting 35% or less going 21-11 ATS.

I expect similar success with the NBA this year. Given the popularity of the sport and the increasingly growing top-heavy nature of the league, there will be plenty of opportunities for public bettors to load up on popular teams—and for you to do the opposite.

When you bet against the public in the NBA, you’re never going to be taking teams like the Warriors, Spurs, or Cavs…unless Ty Lue decides to rest every starter, which is about once a week. Instead, you’re often going to be taking teams like the Bulls, Kings, Suns, etc. Teams with little or no expectations that the public won’t want to touch.

Since sportsbooks know that public bettors will be all over the good/popular teams every night, they’ll often shade the lines towards them to begin with. Public bettors don’t care if Golden State is -13 or -14, but these inflated lines can create value on the other side.

With that being said, you can’t just bet against the top teams every night, you need to pick your spots. Below, we’ll dive into several situations where betting against the public can be particularly lucrative.

This strategy can be a scary thing for those who are new to betting or those who have bet their whole life using their gut instinct, the latter of which can be found asking you to spare some change on the streets.

Have no fear, though. To help illustrate how profitable betting against the public can be, take a look at our contrarian plays below. These are sent to pro members and focus only on teams that aren’t getting any love from the public.

Contrarian Plays

YearRecord (ATS)Win RateUnits

As you can see, you don’t need a mind-boggling win percentage to put up long-term, consistent profits. All those guys on Twitter who say they win 75% ATS have a B.A. in bullshit. Sports gambling isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s a long term commitment. Grind out wins, build that bankroll, increase your unit size, and repeat.

So how does betting against the public do on the most rudimentary level? The table below shows how each level of betting against the public does based on the percent of spread bets teams are getting at our seven contributing sportsbooks (5Dimes, Bookmaker, BetUS, Carib, GTBets, Sportsbook, and SIA.)

Straight Betting Against the Public

Percent of SPD betsATS Record (Win%)Units WonROI
<50%7340-7420 (49.7%)-446.32-3.0%
≤40%4491-4428 (50.4%)-163.98-1.8%
≤35%3094-3013 (50.7%)-76.97-1.3%
≤30%1893-1787 (51.4%)+8.65+0.2%

The return on investment (ROI) gradually improves as you take each step down the ladder, but even at 30% or less, it’s barely profitable.

“But Mahky, you basically just said betting against the public would make me wicked rich. What the hell, bro?”

Woah there, hold on a minute. Betting against the public is a great strategy and gets you headed in the right direction, but you still need to take some other steps in order to see substantial profits.

In years past, one of the first things we have done to find contrarian value in the NBA is to look at teams on the road. As you’ll see below, the stats still look great on paper according to the data compiled at Bet Labs Sports.

BAP on Visiting Teams

Percent of SPD BetsATS Record (Win%)Units WonROI
<503602-3500 (50.7%)-64.51-0.9%
≤401978-1856 (51.6%)+30.53+0.8%
≤351150-1064 (51.9%)+33.71+1.5%
≤30513-446 (53.5%)+43.28+4.5%

A 4.5% ROI at the 30% threshold is great considering that big sample size, but unfortunately, the times are a changing. Books have either caught on to this market inefficiency and adjusted their oddsmaking process or visiting teams have just coincidentally had a really rough stretch over the past two years.

The graph above merely shows road teams against the spread. If this represented the DOW, we’d have another damn Great Depression on our hands. We’d be waiting in line for hours for bread and soup and whatnot.

I find it hard to believe that the previous two seasons were the worst two full seasons we have on record dating back to 2005 just by coincidence. Visiting teams still have the edge historically, covering around 50.8% of the time, but this recent trend is a bit startling.

This year, we won’t look at anything regarding home or road splits. Instead, I have a few new ideas that I’m especially psyched out of my mind about that bettors can bank on this coming season.


BAP w/ Inflated Line

Percent of SPD betsATS Record (Win %)Units WonROI
<501989-1972 (50.2%)-72.92-1.8%
≤401302-1275 (50.5%)-32.96-1.3%
≤35960-877 (52.3%)+37.99+2.1%
≤30645-527 (55.0%)+87.01+7.4%

This first trend looks at teams who are getting value because the line has moved an entire point or more towards their opponent. For example, let’s say the Warriors open -9 against the Trailblazers and the line moves to -10. We’ll call this one point move the “inflated line”. Historically, teams in the Trailblazers’ situation have performed well against the spread—especially when we hit the 30% mark, where they’ve covered 55% of the time.

Unlike visiting teams in recent seasons, this trend has done very well as of late. There have been six straight profitable seasons, with the past two seasons performing extremely well—107-68 ATS (61.1%), +34.12 units, and a 19.5% ROI.

BAP Against Teams on 4+ Win Streak

Percent of SPD BetsATS Record (Win%)Units WonROI
<501018-961 (51.5%)+1.56+0.1%
≤40739-649 (53.1%)+48.66+3.5%
≤35552-470 (54.0%)+51.66+5.1%
≤30350-275 (56.0%)+56.00+9.0%

This system is one that I like because you are going contrarian in more than one way. Obviously, you’re taking a team getting a low percentage of bets, but you are also fading a hot team that could be catching the eyes of bettors and oddsmakers.

I also like how it provides a good foundation right from the get-go, but also takes a big step in the right direction at each level. Furthermore, there aren’t any terrible data points. This works well with four game streaks, five game streaks, six game streaks, etc. Very consistent all-throughout and has never had a losing season at the 30% level.

BAP On Nonpostseason Teams vs. Teams w/ 66% Win percentage

Percent of SPD BetsATS Record (Win%)Units Won ROI
<501308-1268 (50.8%)-31.96-1.2%
≤401037-959 (52.0%)+21.20+1.1%
≤35816-733 (52.7%)+39.05+2.5%
≤30585-504 (53.7%)+50.04+4.6%

I guess you could say this is the most “complicated” of the bunch seeing as there are a couple factors in play, but still pretty simple if you ask me. Like the previous system, I like this one on a couple of levels. You’re betting on a team that didn’t make the post-season in the previous year, meaning that they probably don’t have excellent expectations set for them. You’re also betting against a team that has won at least two thirds of their games, which is a 54 win pace.

This combination of taking a not-so-good team against one of the better teams in the league has worked out nicely. The returns aren’t as good until you hit that 30% mark, but that’s not a bad thing. Even at that lowest level, there is over a 1,000 game sample size—something you can place your confidence in.

Like the others, this has worked particularly well in recent seasons, with close to 28 units won and an 8% ROI since the 2013-14 season.

There you have it, folks. Thee betting against the public report…don’t put away those reading glasses for too long, though, as I should have another one of these dissertations coming out for the start of college basketball.

Mark Gallant

I'm the guy who does his job. You must be the other guy.

1 Comment
  • Dahny W.
    10/12/2017 at 5:41 pm

    Hey Maaaaaahhhhkkkyyy – Are these BAP strategies used when selecting Best Bets ?

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