Is NBA the new WTA?

13/12/2014 | By | Reply More

During my recent travels in the US I sat down at a bar one evening and watched some Basketball. It was an entertaining experience. Fellow bar attendees proffered their opinion and curiosity overwhelmed me, so I reached into my pocket fired up the Betfair app and had a look at the market.

Here is something you may not know.  You CAN’T actually log in and place a bet from the US, but you CAN actively look up a market and their odds. Instant expert status conferred, I proffered an opinion. I quickly learnt that Betfair live video was actually way ahead of the TV I was watching so at that point I started commenting on individual plays. It was so funny. I went from basketball novice to expert in a few moments!

For your interest, I’ve put a video on You Tube showing you the difference in speed.

There is first time for everything

This was really the first time I had seriously looked at Basketball and I can see it’s appeal, as a spectator and a trading sport. It was really interesting to see just how much money was being traded on it as well, much more than I expected. I had joined in the 3rd quarter and there was around £600k matched.

But also interesting was the way it was played. One team runs up one and of the court and tries an offense play, they try and get a basket. The other team defends. It all happens pretty quickly and the ball whizzes from one end of the court to the other. An errant shot or a great block can make all the difference. Sound familiar?

It was at this point I realised that Basketball is actually very similar to Tennis. Curiously it was even closer than I imagined. A Basketball team tends to score more or less the same number of points in a game as that in a set of Tennis. So both teams combined will score enough points to replicate a least a couple of sets, maybe three.

Of course the action is pretty slick on a basketball court and the scoring is different from something like Tennis. You get two or three points for a basket  depending on where you score from, or one for a free throw. The game is split into four quarters of 12 minutes but each game can last up to an hour subject to overtime and timeouts.

Curiosity piqued I did some research.

Some key elements of Basketball

Home advantage : Unlike Tennis however and other two participation sports like snooker or darts, you do have a home advantage in Basketball so that will feel different to conventional trading such as Tennis. Basketball teams often have to travel significant distances to play their next game so that is bound to have an impact.

Teams : There are fewer players in a basketball team versus a football match, so injuries or form have a greater impact in Basketball.

Volatility : The markets move quickly because a basket is worth more than one point. So if a team falls behind you will be surprised how quickly they can make up that deficit.

Statistics : Like Tennis, there are plenty of really good stats sites and inplay data available. Use these to identify how a coaches tactics are changing the game from quarter to quarter.

Players : Because basketball is physically intense and split into four quarters, expect the coach to rotate players during the match.

Overtime : Overtime can often extend a match and therefore if one team is just a couple of points away from the other the game is most certainty not over.

Courtsiders : Even with the fast Betfair feed the market was still ahead of the action. Therefore there must be courtsiders present at the match. Be aware!

The basketball season

This year’s NBA season started on October 28th and will end on Wednesday the 14th of April. There are regular games throughout the week and even on Christmas Day! There are quite a few markets on Betfair for you to participate on but it’s the individual games that generate the most liquidity.

Something to turn your hand to while the tennis is off-season…

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Category: Alternative markets, Trading strategies

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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