Two Profitable Over/Under Trends for NBA Summer League


Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox

Let’s get this out of the way first: Betting on the NBA Summer League does not make you a degenerate — especially if you use data to back up your plays.


These exhibition games in Vegas showcase the league’s newest stars and rarely feature defense, similar to the NBA All-Star Game. In the last 10 years at All-Star weekend, the over is 7-3 despite the average total being 270 points. This trend holds for Summer League, as well.

Since 2016, when we began tracking Summer League results, overs in the desert are 128-100-4 (56.1%). For comparison, the over is 1,799-1,845-46 (49.4%) during the regular season in the same time. Clearly, motivation to try (at least on defense) is lacking during the summer months.

Making overs even more appealing this July is a shot clock rule change. After an offensive rebound, instead of the shot clock resetting to 24 seconds, it has been shortened to 14 seconds, which should help speed up the game even more.

Overs have been profitable in Summer League, but wagering on every game isn’t optimal. To improve our results, I’ve found two winning strategies using Bet Labs with matches for Tuesday’s slate.

Line Movement

There are a lot of unknowns when handicapping NBA Summer League games, which means lines are not as sharp as they are in the regular season. This often leads to big line movement. When totals increase, it has been profitable to tail the line movement.

Since 2016, if the total increases by half a point or more, the over has gone 54-35 (60.7%). The over win rate continues to increase the more the line moves.

Tuesday Action:

  • New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers (8:30 p.m. ET): Total opened 169.5 and has moved to 170.

Follow the Crowd 

As contrarian bettors, we often fade the public, but not in Summer League games. Sure, squares bet these contests, but the recreational gamblers don’t have the same impact on the exhibition games as they do on regular-season ones. Thus, following the crowd is another strategy that improves the win rate of betting overs. Since 2016, when 60% or more of tickets have been placed on the over bettors, have gone 86-54-1 (61.4%).

Tuesday Action:

  • Portland Trail Blazers vs. San Antonio Spurs (4 p.m. ET): Total opened 169.5 and more than 70% of tickets are on the over.

Game matches will be added throughout the day, so be sure to check back. Or sign up for Bet Labs and get alerts sent to your phone!

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