Basketball betting - Market Movement/Following The Market

Updated: 4362 Basketball

I am once again addressing some of the more specific aspects ofbasketball betting with emphasis on the NBA in this being my thirdblog on the topic over the past month. After looking at specificmarkets and how are they structured, I

Basketball betting - Market Movement/Following The Market
Darren Brett Tipster Competition Manager

Horse Racing, greyhounds and snooker specialist with thirty years experience of writing about sport across multiple platforms. A QPR and Snooker fan

I feel it is wise to also explain something many readers have contacted me about, the so-called “market movement”.

Given NBA basketball is much more dynamic than football, people might need some further clarification on the significance of line movements and odds changes.

You can read more about why betting odds change on a range of sports at the betting school.

These basketball market movements happen on an hourly basis rather than a daily/weekly one. 

Market Movements

You need to always understand WHY a team is moving or drifting in the betting odds.

If you have more questions, feel free to get in touch on twitter or even leave a comment below. 

Market Movement

Those with sufficient betting experience are no doubt well aware of the term “market movement” 


I define it as the reaction of the bookies on certain developments surrounding a specific game/market. 

Market support for one or more of the teams/players is one such occurrence that usually plays a part in odds deviations.

When it comes to NBA basketball, however, in the context of games being played every night, market movements can be much more dynamic.

These movements could turn an early favourite into a complete outsider in a matter of minutes. 

This is one of the main reasons why unlike in other sports, placing your basketball bets in the early hours of the market opening is not advised. 


Injuries in the NBA happen in tune with the dynamic schedule, and this is the first reason why bets placed early could turn out to be a real let down.


If a player of big enough significance is ruled out of a game, markets will inevitably react.

You would understand that if Messi is out for Barcelona, they still have a whole lot of superstars who can very well make up for it, but if Kevin Durant is out for the Oklahoma City Thunder, that is horrible news for the team supporters and the entire setting of the starting line-up.

I purposely chose Durant as an example because last season the Thunder could not even make the playoffs with him being out the majority of the time 

You would have seen how Thunder went from second favourite to win the title to eight/ninth when he fell again.

Individual games lines also inevitably started to move against Oklahoma City as with him playing they were up to 12 point favourites.

With him, on the side-lines, the spreads dropped to 5.5 on average.

Resting Players

You might feel you can get ahead with the injuries, but then in NBA there is one very questionable tactical move, deployed from time to time and mostly by favourites, which is called resting players.

basketball court

It is not necessary for a player to be injured to be rested and we now often see entire starting line-ups being rested in favour of a ‘bigger goal' or simply preserving superstars for the important part of the season, the playoffs. 

There are two teams who have done that and the poster child is SAN ANTONIO SPURS with their coach Gregg Popovich in a way inventing this tactic. 

He was initially criticised by fans and pundits alike, but as he has to navigate through an 82 game regular season and the usual long playoff series, criticism seem to have gone cold lately. 

Unfortunately, the decisions to rest people are taken often on the day of the game.

This means the market will move and unless you have some sort of Spurs live news feed application on your smartphone, you are very unlikely to be ahead of the bookies with that. 

What you can do is keep an eye on the schedule and when this team has back-to-back games as the coach usually allows players a day off on the first or second night of those sets, depending on the opponent. 

I remember some time ago Spurs losing heavily a game, which they were 1.22 favourites to win.

When the markets opened but once the information got out, they were up to 3.00 on the money line. 

Another team that is recently known for doing that, being it not so visibly is the ATLANTA HAWKS but with them, it is more resting a player or two rather than entire starting line-ups.

Market Movement Conclusion

Whether or not to follow the moves has been one of the biggest debates.

I have seen many punters argue in favour of a bet because of market support and I have done that too.


In horse racing following the market is a key task, to finding winners.

In basketball, blindly following the movement without knowing what is going on or why certain lines are changing or odds dropping is never a good idea. 

Even if there are a lot of bets going towards a particular team early on, you having the injury and team news is imperative. 

If you see a top team being valued as an outsider, you should go and discover why that is and not just back the outsider because of the valuation somebody else did for you.

It is risky business to bet too early on NBA lines and spreads and I would advise you wait until the so-called shootarounds that happen before games. 

A player might be listed as healthy but tweak an ankle during warm-ups would automatically affect the odds. 

Placing a bet no earlier than 6-8 hours prior to tip-off is what would give a basketball newbie a better chance to analyse all the variables.

To place a virtual bet on basketball please visit the basketball tipping pages. 


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