You have a better chance of a winning wager when you bet on professional basketball than on other major North American sports. This is largely because there are fewer variables that can affect your bet.

Before making your wager, however, be sure to spend time carefully studying the teams and gathering information on their recent performances. This will enable you to arm yourself with a betting strategy based on solid research rather than intuition alone.

Here are tips to help you...

Read and study game previews. Review recaps. Carefully look at the box scores of the most recent six or so games each team has played. They will tell you which players are getting the minutes.

Be on the alert for injuries sustained by players. You can find this information on any reliable injury-reporting site such as CBSsportsline. Ask yourself how important the injured player is to the outcome of the game. Also ask yourself if the substitute player can adequately fill his role and perhaps match his performance.

In addition, examine how the team has performed in the past when a key player was absent. Be prudent when doing your evaluation, however. Although you can profit by betting against a short-handed team, there’s always a chance that a backup can turn out to be a surprisingly good player.

Look out for teams that have played back-to-back games against teams that have had a night off in between games. The former will be at a physical and mental disadvantage because of fatigue.

Watch out for home teams that are well rested playing against a road team that has played the night before. Also be in the alert for young, inexperienced teams playing against experienced teams. Experienced teams have a better record.

When wagering on over/unders, key factors to consider before deciding how to bet include the following.

  • Styles of playing.
  • Does a team have a good shooter?
  • Are they good or bad at passing?
  • Are they good at rebounding the basketball?
  • Is the game going to be fast-paced?

By watching teams play you’ll be able to get a feel for their characteristic style. By analyzing box scores and recaps of their most recent games and also of the entire season, you will be in a good position to predict the kind of game to expect.

Matchups. When doing your research, examine how well or badly matched two teams are. This could give you clues to the scoring and consequently to how you should probably bet.

Some experts suggest that when making over/under wagers in an NBA (National Basketball Association) game, you should bet the under only in the first half. They reason that 5 to 10 per cent of NBA games end up in a tie and so get a further five minutes of playing time.

These extra minutes will almost always take an over bet over the top with the extra points and late-game free throws strengthen the case for betting unders only on first halves.

Experts also suggest that you classify players as either “over” or “under” so as to give yourself a betting advantage. Simply put, an over player may be considered more of an offensive player and helps a game go over, while an under player is and does the opposite.

While you shouldn’t base your entire betting strategy on the above suggestions, you should nevertheless consider them seriously before making your basketball betting decision. Remember, too, that timing is important. The more quickly you can obtain relevant information, the better an edge you are likely to have on your bet. And finally, find a spread that attracts you and make your wager with confidence.