Do you remember the feeling? Of watching Kobe Bryant drop 40 in the fourth quarter, and the tears of joy streaming down your face? Thinking. We did it. I can’t believe we did it. Do you remember the feeling? Of your dad taking you to your first-ever NBA game. The electricity in the air as you entered the stadium. The nervous hum of energy pours in, as everyone in line makes their predictions about the game. They trade facts and fiction about their teams. Everyone was so certain, that they were going to win. Not a single doubt in their mind. As you finally got to your seat, somehow even more of the excitement washes over you. It’s as if the joy and the elation of 20,000 people have wormed their way into your body. Infecting you with every cheer. You watch in awe and exasperation as someone who you’ve only ever seen on tv is right in front of you. Sinking bucket after bucket. Running up one end of the court then breaking down for the other. Constantly in motion, it’s like watching someone move in fast forward. The fluidity and the grace, and the craft of his playing is something that will stay with you forever. This game is something that will stay with you forever. It’s something that will become so fundamental to you, so elemental to your being. That you won’t be able to articulate its importance for years to come.
That’s the power of sports. That’s the power of the NBA. To see someone clear out all the nonsense of their lives, and achieve pure focus. To see someone dig deep and give everything they have to reach their goal. It’s inspiring. It makes us challenge ourselves, and our notions of what is possible. But what happens when you’re a little older now, and some of that thrill has left? You still love the game, but you’ve seen over 1000 matches and each one just isn’t as exciting as it used to be. What do you then?
Well, my friend, that’s when it’s time to add a little sweetener to the pile. How do you do that you may ask? By entering the wide world of sports betting of course. Now when you hear a term like betting it’s completely understandable if a seedy image comes to mind. But I’m here to assure you, we’re talking about a far lighter and reputable version of the art than say talking to the guy who won’t stop muttering to himself in the alley outside the bar. No, what we are advising is making a small pool with some of your friends, or officemates. This is a low-stakes way to give a certain extra tension to each game that will keep you coming back again and again.
Though now we come to a new question. If you’re new to the world of wagers, where do you start? How do you make sure you’re making the best picks possible? Well, there are some great tips and tricks to share that will help you get started. Of course, there is no better teacher than experience, but I think you’ll find that some of this advice will at least instill the fundamentals!
First things first. How familiar are you with your team? Do you bleed your league’s colors? Are you a walking Wikipedia for fun facts and trivia on your favorite squad? If not, don’t worry. You don’t have to obsess over your teams history. But having a fundamental knowledge and understanding of the historical context in which your team plays can be crucial to anticipating a game, and making a bet accordingly. Imagine watching Lakers v. Celtics, and not factoring in the rivalry to your wager. Knowledge is power and having a keen understanding of who you’re betting for is key to any new better!
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re covering the spread. Now, what does that mean? Essentially the spread is the margin by which a team must win. For example, if a team is an underdog team with a -7 spread. That means that if the team either wins or loses with less than a seven-point difference then the spread is covered. This allows you to have a wider margin of error for your wagers, and offers some security in your betting!
When it comes to the world of making picks in the NBA. There’s a lot of contexts you have to apply. No team exists in a vacuum and understanding the relational context of the NBA is hugely important to your ability to make a solid pick. Keeping track of not only your team, but your opponent is a great way to understand this context. Once you do have that solid foundation, you’ll find that picks can come almost intuitively. My final piece of advice is that you shouldn’t be free to experiment either! One of the wonderful things about sports is that you can never discount the human element, and this can also apply to your bets. Don’t be afraid to surprise yourself, and you’ll be making the best NBA picks in no time!