Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic
- Bettors should follow the money when breaking down Friday's slate of NBA games.
- Tonight's Toronto Raptors-Orlando Magic (7 p.m. ET) and Los Angeles Clippers-Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET) games are being affected by one-sided betting action.
- Using Bet Labs, we analyzed how NBA teams perform when they receive more money than tickets.
Professional bettors don’t always win but being on the same side as the smart money is advantageous. Money percentages and line movement can tell us which teams the pros are playing.
On Friday’s 10-game NBA slate, sharp action has moved the line in two games:
- Orlando Magic (+5.5) vs. Toronto Raptors (7 p.m. ET)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+5.5) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (10:30 p.m. ET)
Though only 39% of spread tickets (see live odds) are on the Magic, Orlando’s line has moved from +7 at open to +5.5. The Lakers are also receiving less than 50% of betting tickets but like with the Magic, the line has moved toward them (+6 to +5.5).
While neither the Magic nor the Lakers are the popular pick, each has received a majority of spread dollars. This means that bigger bets, often from respected bettors, have been placed on the home underdogs, which has caused oddsmakers to adjusted their lines.
The pros like Orlando and LA tonight, but with the lines already moving is it too late to follow the smart money?
No. Using our Bet Labs data, we find that it has still been profitable to bet an NBA game after the line moves, if it meets the following criteria:
- Team is receiving 50% or less of spread tickets
- More money than tickets on team
- Line has moved at least one-half point
Since we began tracking spread dollar percentages in the 2015-16 season, teams matching this system have covered the spread 55% of the time. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $4,135 following this system.
Games can fall in and out of this system based on changing betting percentages throughout the day. If you would like to get notifications when games match this system, you can try Bet Labs for a month.