How sharps bet the NBA Totals Market

NBA totals have been a money maker for sharps aka professional bettors for years. It’s no secret that books rather shy away from taking these big money bettors action on totals. I will break down to you the process of how sharps us their money, influence, and opinion to sculpt the NBA totals betting marketplace.

The average recreational bettor usually doesn’t start betting basketball until the football season starts winding down. When they do engage in wagering on basketball games their focus is mainly on betting sides which is the pointspread winner of the game. Totals are something they choose to pass on. How many times have you spoke to someone new to sports betting and they say I usually don’t bet totals in basketball.

That leaves the NBA totals marketplace mainly to professional bettors to voice their opinion on. That can be a bad thing for professional bettors. With the absence of public recreational money on a total books are strictly exposed from sharp money on these totals. Linesmakers respect sharps opinions on these totals. They know how beatable they are. That’s why we see the opening number on a NBA total swing from 2 to as many as 5 or 6 points on any given night.

I’m sure you have heard the stories or experienced this yourself. Walk up to a betting window in many sportsbooks on the Las Vegas strip and tell the ticket writer you want to bet big on a NBA total and see what happens.

I’ll share my own story and I will spare the books name in this blog. During a visit to Vegas in 2010 I wanted to get a measly 5 grand down on a NBA total. I had got information from an associate of mine back in New York that a particular total on this NBA game just moved two points at local NYC books due to some sharp influence. I was on the strip going to grab lunch when he called me and ran into the nearest sportsbook to get down on this move.

I rush into the sportsbook which was rather quiet as far as business goes. I remember it was a weekday. There were a few guys chatting and hanging around but no line for me to wait on to place my bet. I told the ticket writer I want to put 5 grand on this particular total. I was denied and he told me the limit was $1,000 on this total. I was so upset because here I am in Vegas the so called betting capital of the world and I can’t get down 5 g’s on a game. Back home with my local he would take this bet no questions asked. I said screw it and bet it at the $1,000 limit.

The example I’m trying to make is books want no part of NBA totals. I had never been in this sportsbook in my life and this guy denied me to bet 5 grand on this total. It’s not like I was betting there all week and beating them. He doesn’t know me from a can of paint. I’m from New York and am not known or affilated with any “Vegas” betting circles, runners, or syndicates at casinos. There was no reason for him to limit my action. I could have been some tourist fool from off the street and he still wouldn’t take part of my action because books are scared of taking big money on NBA totals period.

Many sharp bettors and syndicates coast to coast are like vultures trying to get at the opening numbers when wagering on NBA totals. This is how the process works of how sharps voice their opinion. I’m going to use games from Monday January 23 as an example of how things work.

If any of you use live odds services take notes because you will now have a better understanding of watching the market sculpt before your eyes daily.

Let’s take New Jersey Nets and Chicago Bulls game as good example to start with. Sportsbooks didn’t open the total on this line until the morning of 1/23 around 10:40 AM EST. It opened at 184 here at a local book in the city I deal with. Within 15 minutes it had been bet down to 183.5 and 5 minutes later it was bet down to 183. So sharps initial move was on the under. At around 12:30 AM EST books take some heavy bets on the Over and pulled the game off the board immediately.

What had happened was sharps caught wind that Derrick Rose was playing and nailed it over. Books pull the game off the board and readjust. At 12:45 AM EST it reopens at 187. In my local books eyes Rose was worth 3 points on the total from their opening number of 184. Whoever had the info of Rose playing and bet it over at 183 had the best of the number. But even that didn’t stop other sharps from getting in on the action. By 5:00 PM EST the total crept up to 187.5, within 5 more minutes it was up to 188, and by tip off it closed at 189. The game went over the total by more than 15 points.

Let’s take another game from Monday. The Suns and the Mavericks. This game opened Sunday afternoon during all the mix of the football games at 181. Sharps are the ones betting NBA Monday totals during Sunday NFL Championship games. Within 1 hour of opening this line was up to 181.5. Ten minutes after moving to 181.5 it gets slammed up to 182.5 and hits as high as 183 late in the evening.

Sharps are betting these games the night before without 2 key things: injury report updates from game day and ref assignments. Two very important keys to NBA totals but taking the risk before the rest of the betting marketplace is all worth it to them.

Monday morning it gets bet up to 183.5. Before tip off around 5 PM EST sharps buy off their position on the over for whatever reason. Their buy off forces books to adjust the total back down to 182.5 here at local NYC shops. Their buy off was a smart move because the total ended finishing at 180 and their over tickets would have lost.

Those are two examples that give you a clear view at how each game is treated uniquely. It also proves you can not simply follow line moves betting NBA totals. You need to have access to someone on the other side of the betting counter to understand the line movement.

Head fakes are another common practice by sharps when betting NBA totals. For example a total opens at 202. A betting syndicate feels the line should be 201. He wants to bet this under but at the opening number of 202 one point of betting value isn’t enough. So all morning he bets the over at different sports books. Different associates of his also help out by flooding the market with over money. Shortly before tip they have drove the line up three points to 205. He now comes “over the top” by betting bigger on the Under at 205 which was the true position he wanted all along.

He knows at 205 he now has 4 points of value looking at his personal numbers betting the under which was much better than the one point of value he would have gotten when it opened. This is common practice by many sharps and syndicates. As a regular Joe bettor you may follow the move on your live odds service and bet the Over but you followed head fake money because the move was just to get a better number to bet the under the whole time. That’s why I stress following line moves in NBA totals on the blind is a recipe to go broke.

If you check my track record I’m definitely one of the most consistent handicappers when it comes to betting the NBA year after year. I am able to utilize many different sources of mine to differentiate between head fake and true positions, etc. You will see me focus mainly on totals the final 2/3 of the NBA season as in years past which is when we have done most of our damage. It’s still not to late too sign up for my NBA Season pass which carries you through the NBA Finals. For daily NBA action and information make sure to check me out daily at the site or by calling me directly at the office at (757) 462-9030.

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