NBA Matchups Go a Long Way to Winning in the Pros

One thing that is certain in a league that is as selective as the NBA only the very best of the best gets a chance to play. At any given time, there’s a total of just 360 players league-wide on active NBA rosters. Victory is dependent upon many factors, including how NBA teams matchup against one another. Understanding matchups can be key in your making smart sports betting picks.

Overall Talent and Depth

The most basic matchup to consider has to do with overall talent and depth. Sometimes one team is simply overmatched by the other. As an example consider the Los Angeles Lakers versus the Golden State Warriors during the 2009-2010 season. The Lakers took the regular season series four games to none. Overall, the depth and talent on the Lakers simply was too much for the Warriors to handle.

However, a general analysis of team depth and talent is rarely enough when it comes to informed sports betting. Usually you have to dig deeper. Here’s the next step.

Bulk and Size Underneath

Does one team look to dominate the other under the boards? Are the big guys tough rebounders who know how to block out opponents and on the offensive end create second shots. Consider that statistic carefully—how many second shots do their front men create through rebounding?

If one club has a center who can block five shots a game and stay out of foul trouble, he’s going to be a factor. If a team has to double-up coverage on a front court player, that’s going to create an open man somewhere else in the paint. An enforcer on the boards and a guy who can draw fouls and shoots frees at around 80% can also tip the balance.

NBA Defense Versus Offense

Here are the basics of defense versus offense. If a run-and-gun offense runs up against a ball control, patient defensive team that can alter the tempo of the game, the defensive focused team has a good chance of winning.  Defense can and does win games. There’s a reason why some of the top scoring clubs in the NBA don’t make the post-season. That’s often because they can’t play defense. Do not discount defense in the front and backcourt.

The backcourt game can slow down opposing offenses and the front can clog the alley, grab the ball off the boards and create a transition game from offense to defense.

Speed and Quickness

Speed and quickness are not the same. Speed has to do how fast a player and a team can get up or down the court. Quickness relates to an individual’s ability to make transitional moves such as going from stealing a ball to making an outlet pass, cutting in one direction and then switching to another or blocking a shot and grabbing the ball, taking in the other direction. Both are important.

Number of Money Players

One money player does not make a championship team. Two can be helpful, but some version of a third money player will often be the difference maker. Examples of present day money players are Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, all of whom are on the Celtics. When this trio first came together in 2006 Boston won the championship and continues to be a contender. Another money player, Shaquille O’Neal, has been added to the Celtic’s 2010-2011 roster. Although aging, he is still considered a money guy.

When a team with three money guys plays a club with one or two, then chances are that team with an impressive volume of premium talent will win.

NBA Player to Player

With player-to-player matchups, you’re asking if one guy can stop the other. Zone defense is not allowed in the NBA and that fact means that player matchups are a crucial factor in sports betting. The question becomes can anyone stop Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or Dirk Nowitzki? Those players are tough to match up against as are others.


What’s the injury report look like? Is a key player sitting down for a game or out for a week or two or more? Is someone playing injured and is that affecting his game? It may be difficult to tell if a player is hurting. Look for a fall off in production, a guy slowing down, or someone sitting out more than normal.

NBA Point Spread and Matchups

Finally, once you analyze the matchup, you’ll need to determine how to play the point spread. As an example, although the Lakers beat the Warrior four times last season, they did not always cover. In one game they won by 33 and another 10. But the other wins were by six and three points. Those are hardly blowouts. If the point spread had Los Angeles at -12 points for the March 15th game and you took the Lakers, you lost big because the Warriors lost by just three.

Do You Want to Win?

If the answer is “yes” that you want to win when it comes to sports betting, then it is essential that you perform a thorough analysis regarding matchups. This will give you the best chance at success.