NBA Betting Tip: Focus on Favorites in Game 82

NBA Betting Tip: Focus on Favorites in Game 82 article feature image

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook

  • Player availability and motivation determines which teams are favored at the end of the NBA regular season.
  • Using Bet Labs, we share a profitable against-the-spread system for Game 82.

Two key factors oddsmakers consider when creating a line for an NBA game are player availability and team motivation. This can be difficult in the middle of the season, but at the end of the year it is pretty easy.

On Wednesday’s slate, the Detroit Pistons are 9.5-point favorites on the road against the New York Knicks (8 p.m. ET). Why? The Pistons are the current 8-seed in the Eastern Conference and need to win to make the playoffs.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are favored in Milwaukee (8 p.m. ET), this is just the second time the Bucks have been home underdogs this season. Why? Giannis, the MVP favorite, will not play.

The bookmakers don’t overthink it in the final games of the season and neither should bettors.

Normally we wouldn’t recommend wagering on favorites in the NBA. Since 2005, the chalk has gone 8,679-8,749-310 (49.8%) against the spread (ATS) in the regular season per Bet Labs. A $100 bettor wagering on each favorite would have lost $49,636. That all changes down the stretch.

In Games 81 and 82, the team favored to win has an impressive 215-176-6 (55.0%) ATS record. It can’t be overstated how important player availability and team motivation is when closing out a season. Betting favorites in the last two games of the regular season is a simple idea but a consistent winner.

Going chalk in Games 81 and 82 has been profitable in nine of the past 13 seasons.

There are 11 games on Wednesday’s slate, for some bettors placing a wager on each contest isn’t ideal. We can shorten the list of potential plays by considering a few additional factors:

  • Favorites with winning record: 140-105-3 (57.1%) ATS
  • Favorites with at least a 1-point line move (-7 to -8): 98-72-1 (57.6%) ATS
  • Road favorites: 61-40 (60.4%) ATS

Betting favorites at the end of the year is the starting point. Layer on additional handicapping to optimize your bets and build your bankroll before the playoffs begin.

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