## Wizard Recommends

Last Updated: May 22, 2019

# Obscure Topics in Betting the NBA

## Introduction

This page is meant as an appendix to my main page on Betting the NBA. When I created that page, it was based on data from the 2013 to 2017 seasons. In September 2018 I updated it was based on the 1987 to 2006 seasons. However, there were some obscure tables I didn't bother to update. I put too much time into them to just throw them away, so copied and pasted the content off to this page.

## Buying and Selling Extra Points

In basketball, as well as football, you can buy extra points if you risk more money. Most casinos in Las Vegas will at most let you buy a half-point, if you lay 120, instead of the usual 110. Some Internet casinos will let you buy or sell lots of points.

Before going further, consider the following graph, showing the probability for margins of victory from 1 to 20. Per the rules, a basketball game can never end in a tie. Also note the rather low probability of a win of one point, compared to 2 to 9. It is my understanding that the reason for this is that if a team is down by two points in the last seconds, with the ball, they will go for a tie, pushing the game into overtime, rather than attempt a 3-point shot. Starting at a margin of victory of 10, the probabilities start to drop off.

With a tie impossible, point spreads of -0.5, 0, and 0.5 would all be worth the same. There is also a relatively small benefit in going from -1 to 0, or 0 to +1, because of the low probability of a margin of victory of 1. Most sports books take this into account. At Bet365 and Olympic they jump three spots, going right from -1 to +1 when buying half points.

The following two tables show the number of points purchased (negative for selling points), the lines at Bet365 and Olympic, the probability of winning, losing, and a push, the fair line, and house edge at Bet365 and Olympic. The first table assumes the player always buys the points, except if the starting point spread is zero. The second table assumes the player buys the points only if buying them does not cause the adjusted spread to cross zero. Both tables assume the Bet365/Olympic rule where buying a half point off of -1 moves the spread directly to +1.

The house edges are lower for buying points in the second table, which shows that the bettor should not buy the points if it causes the point spread to cross a tie. However, if selling points, it is a good idea to cross a tie.

If your only choice is to buy one half-point, and lay 120, or buy none, and lay 110, it is a toss up. The house edge is 0.01% less buying none, but that is within the margin of error. At Bet365, the house edge is minimized buying 2.5 points, for a house edge of 2.05%. At Olympic, either buy just one half a point, or none at all. If you can find a sports books that lets you buy more than one half a point, and charges 10 cents for each, buy as many as they will let you.

Points Purchased Bet365 Pays Olympic Pays Prob. Win Prob. Loss Prob. Tie Fair Line House Edge Bet365 House Edge Olympic
-8.5 375 19.53% 79.22% 1.25% 406 5.98%
-8 350 20.78% 77.86% 1.36% 375 5.13%
-7.5 325 22.14% 76.51% 1.35% 346 4.55%
-7 300 23.49% 75.03% 1.49% 319 4.56%
-6.5 270 24.97% 73.51% 1.52% 294 6.07%
-6 245 26.49% 71.82% 1.69% 271 6.91%
-5.5 220 28.18% 70.19% 1.62% 249 8.19%
-5 200 29.81% 68.5% 1.70% 230 8.88%
-4.5 180 31.50% 66.73% 1.76% 212 10.03%
-4 160 33.27% 64.71% 2.03% 195 11.48%
-3.5 150 35.29% 62.93% 1.78% 178 9.99%
-3 140 37.07% 61.04% 1.89% 165 9.14%
-2.5 130 38.96% 59.06% 1.98% 152 8.41%
-2 120 40.94% 57.02% 2.04% 139 7.90%
-1.5 110 42.98% 55.08% 1.94% 128 7.81%
-1 105 44.92% 52.99% 2.09% 118 5.83%
-0.5 100 47.01% 51.01% 1.98% 109 4.00%
0 -110 -110 48.99% 48.99% 2.02% 1 4.45% 4.45%
0.5 -120 -120 51.01% 47.01% 1.98% -109 4.5% 4.5%
1 -130 -150 52.99% 44.92% 2.09% -118 4.16% 9.59%
1.5 -140 -170 55.08% 42.98% 1.94% -128 3.63% 10.58%
2 -150 -190 57.02% 40.94% 2.04% -139 2.92% 10.92%
2.5 -160 -220 59.06% 38.96% 1.98% -152 2.05% 12.11%
3 -180 -250 61.04% 37.07% 1.89% -165 3.16% 12.65%
3.5 -200 -280 62.93% 35.29% 1.78% -178 3.83% 12.82%
4 -220 -310 64.71% 33.27% 2.03% -195 3.85% 12.39%
4.5 -245 -410 66.73% 31.5% 1.76% -212 4.27% 15.23%
5 -270 -450 68.5% 29.81% 1.7% -230 4.44% 14.58%
5.5 -300 -490 70.19% 28.18% 1.62% -249 4.79% 13.86%
6 -325 -530 71.82% 26.49% 1.69% -271 4.4% 12.94%
6.5 -350 -570 73.51% 24.97% 1.52% -294 3.97% 12.08%
7 -375 -610 75.03% 23.49% 1.49% -319 3.48% 11.19%
7.5 -670 76.51% 22.14% 1.35% -346 10.72%
8 -730 77.86% 20.78% 1.36% -375 10.11%
8.5 -790 79.22% 19.53% 1.25% -406 9.50%

### Buying/Selling Extra Points on the Spread — Bet except if Spread Is Zero, or Moves across Zero

Points Purchased Bet365 Pays Olympic Pays Prob. Win Prob. Loss Prob. Tie Fair Line House Edge Bet365 House Edge Olympic
-8.5 375 19.1% 79.74% 1.16% 418 8.12%
-8 350 20.28% 78.24% 1.48% 386 7.25%
-7.5 325 21.79% 76.9% 1.32% 353 6.10%
-7 300 23.05% 75.43% 1.52% 327 6.29%
-6.5 270 24.57% 73.94% 1.49% 301 7.59%
-6 245 26.03% 72.2% 1.78% 277 8.43%
-5.5 220 27.81% 70.59% 1.60% 254 9.42%
-5 200 29.36% 68.84% 1.80% 234 10.12%
-4.5 180 31.22% 67.08% 1.70% 215 10.89%
-4 160 32.99% 64.94% 2.07% 197 12.15%
-3.5 150 35.11% 63.14% 1.75% 180 10.47%
-3 140 36.87% 61.15% 1.97% 166 9.53%
-2.5 130 38.84% 59.21% 1.95% 152 8.72%
-2 120 40.86% 57.05% 2.09% 140 8.01%
-1.5 110 42.97% 55.12% 1.92% 128 7.85%
-1 105 44.88% 53.00% 2.12% 118 5.88%
-0.5 100 47.00% 51.04% 1.96% 109 4.04%
0 -110 -110 48.99% 48.99% 2.02% 1 4.45% 4.45%
0.5 -120 -120 51.04% 47% 1.96% -109 4.46% 4.46%
1 -130 -150 53% 44.88% 2.12% -118 4.11% 9.55%
1.5 -140 -170 55.12% 42.97% 1.92% -128 3.6% 10.55%
2 -150 -190 57.05% 40.86% 2.09% -140 2.83% 10.84%
2.5 -160 -220 59.21% 38.84% 1.95% -152 1.83% 11.93%
3 -180 -250 61.15% 36.87% 1.97% -166 2.90% 12.41%
3.5 -200 -280 63.14% 35.11% 1.75% -180 3.54% 12.56%
4 -220 -310 64.94% 32.99% 2.07% -197 3.47% 12.04%
4.5 -245 -410 67.08% 31.22% 1.70% -215 3.84% 14.86%
5 -270 -450 68.84% 29.36% 1.80% -234 3.86% 14.06%
5.5 -300 -490 70.59% 27.81% 1.60% -254 4.28% 13.4%
6 -325 -530 72.20% 26.03% 1.78% -277 3.81% 12.41%
6.5 -350 -570 73.94% 24.57% 1.49% -301 3.45% 11.6%
7 -375 -610 75.43% 23.05% 1.52% -327 2.93% 10.68%
7.5 -670 76.9% 21.79% 1.32% -353 10.31%
8 -730 78.24% 20.28% 1.48% -386 9.56%
8.5 -790 79.74% 19.10% 1.16% -418 9.00%

There are no significant totals to avoid when buying extra points off of an under or over bet. The difference between the predicted total and actual total tends to be greater than that of the point spread. Thus, buying extra points off of an under or over bet is not as effective, give the same price. The following table shows the number of points purchased (negative for selling points), the lines at Bet365, the probability of winning, losing, and a push, the fair line, and house edge at Bet365. The bottom line is buying points is not as effective off the total as the spread.

### Buying/Selling Extra Points on the Total

Points Purchased Bet365 Pays Prob. Win Prob. Loss Prob. Tie Fair Line House Edge Bet365
-7 160 33.23% 65.25% 1.52% 196 12.08%
-6.5 155 34.75% 64.55% 0.71% 186 10.69%
-6 150 35.45% 63.00% 1.55% 178 9.82%
-5.5 145 37.00% 62.37% 0.63% 169 8.72%
-5 140 37.63% 60.88% 1.49% 162 8.20%
-4.5 135 39.12% 60.23% 0.66% 154 7.42%
-4 130 39.77% 58.56% 1.66% 147 6.86%
-3.5 125 41.44% 57.93% 0.63% 140 6.13%
-3 120 42.07% 56.38% 1.55% 134 5.90%
-2.5 115 43.62% 55.69% 0.69% 128 5.53%
-2 110 44.31% 54.05% 1.64% 122 5.31%
-1.5 105 45.95% 53.3% 0.75% 116 5.06%
-1 100 46.70% 51.48% 1.82% 110 4.79%
-0.5 -105 48.52% 50.82% 0.67% 105 4.61%
0 -110 49.18% 49.18% 1.63% 100 4.92%
0.5 -120 50.82% 48.52% 0.67% -105 7.40%
1 -130 51.48% 46.7% 1.82% -110 9.22%
1.5 -140 53.30% 45.95% 0.75% -116 11.02%
2 -150 54.05% 44.31% 1.64% -122 12.41%
2.5 -160 55.69% 43.62% 0.69% -128 14.10%
3 -170 56.38% 42.07% 1.55% -134 15.14%
3.5 -180 57.93% 41.44% 0.63% -140 16.66%
4 -190 58.56% 39.77% 1.66% -147 17.01%
4.5 -195 60.23% 39.12% 0.66% -154 16.06%
5 -205 60.88% 37.63% 1.49% -162 16.25%
5.5 -215 62.37% 37.00% 0.63% -169 17.18%
6 -225 63.00% 35.45% 1.55% -178 16.77%
6.5 -235 64.55% 34.75% 0.71% -186 17.11%
7 -250 65.25% 33.23% 1.52% -196 17.83%

## Teasers

The following tables show what basketball teasers pay at some sports books in Las Vegas, listed in order of best to worst odds.

### 4-Point Basketball Teasers — Odds Survey

Sports Book 2 Teams 3 Teams 4 Teams 5 Teams 6 Teams 7 Teams 8 Teams
Golden Nugget +100 +180 +300 +450 +700 +1000 +1500
Lucky's -110 +180 +300 +450 +700 +900 +1200
Harrah's -110 +160 +280 +450 +600
MGM-Mirage -110 +160 +250 +400 +600
Cal Neva -110 +160 +250 +400 +600 +800 +1000
Venetian -120 +150 +200 +350 +500

### 4.5-Point Basketball Teasers — Odds Survey

Sports Book 2 Teams 3 Teams 4 Teams 5 Teams 6 Teams 7 Teams 8 Teams
Lucky's -120 +160 +250 +400 +600 +800 +1000
Harrah's -120 +150 +260 +400 +550
Cal Neva -120 +145 +220 +350 +500 +700 +900
MGM-Mirage -120 +140 +200 +350 +500

### 5-Point Basketball Teasers — Odds Survey

Sports Book 2 Teams 3 Teams 4 Teams 5 Teams 6 Teams 7 Teams 8 Teams
El Cortez/South Point -110 +150 +200 +350 +500 +700 +800
Golden Nugget -120 +150 +200 +350 +500 +800 +1200
Lucky's -130 +150 +200 +350 +500 +700 +900
Harrah's -130 +140 +240 +350 +500
Cal Neva -130 +135 +200 +300 +450 +600 +800
MGM-Mirage -130 +120 +180 +300 +400

### 5.5-Point Basketball Teasers — Odds Survey

Sports Book 2 Teams 3 Teams 4 Teams 5 Teams 6 Teams 7 Teams 8 Teams
El Cortez/South Point -120 +130 +180 +300 +400 +600 +700

### 6-Point Basketball Teasers — Odds Survey

Sports Book 2 Teams 3 Teams 4 Teams 5 Teams 6 Teams 7 Teams 8 Teams
Golden Nugget -130 +110 +160 +250 +350 +600 +1000
El Cortez/South Point -130 +110 +150 +250 +300 +500 +600

If you must bet an NBA teaser, never cross or touch a tie. For example, on a 4-point teaser, only tease underdogs, or favorites of 4.5 points or more. Off of totals there are no significant numbers to avoid. The following tables show the probability of winning and house edge following this strategy.

### 4-Point Basketball Teasers — House Edge

Pick Pays Prob. Win (Spread) Prob. Win (Total) House Edge(Spread) House Edge (Total)
2 -120 43.97% 35.47% 19.39% 34.98%
2 -110 43.97% 35.47% 16.05% 32.29%
2 100 43.97% 35.47% 12.06% 29.07%
3 150 29.16% 21.12% 27.1% 47.2%
3 160 29.16% 21.12% 24.19% 45.09%
3 180 29.16% 21.12% 18.36% 40.86%
4 200 19.33% 12.58% 42.0% 62.27%
4 250 19.33% 12.58% 32.33% 55.98%
4 280 19.33% 12.58% 26.53% 52.2%
4 300 19.33% 12.58% 22.66% 49.69%
5 350 12.82% 7.49% 42.30% 66.29%
5 400 12.82% 7.49% 35.89% 62.55%
6 600 8.5% 4.46% 40.49% 68.77%
6 700 8.5% 4.46% 31.98% 64.31%
7 800 5.64% 2.66% 49.26% 76.09%
7 900 5.64% 2.66% 43.62% 73.43%
7 1000 5.64% 2.66% 37.99% 70.78%
8 1000 3.74% 1.58% 58.88% 82.60%
8 1200 3.74% 1.58% 51.4% 79.43%
8 1500 3.74% 1.58% 40.19% 74.69%

### 4.5-Point Basketball Teasers — House Edge

Pick Pays Prob. Win (Spread) Prob. Win (Total) House Edge(Spread) House Edge (Total)
2 -120 46.57% 36.75% 14.62% 32.62%
3 140 31.78% 22.28% 23.73% 46.53%
3 145 31.78% 22.28% 22.14% 45.41%
3 150 31.78% 22.28% 20.55% 44.3%
3 160 31.78% 22.28% 17.37% 42.07%
4 200 21.69% 13.51% 34.94% 59.48%
4 220 21.69% 13.51% 30.6% 56.78%
4 250 21.69% 13.51% 24.09% 52.73%
4 260 21.69% 13.51% 21.92% 51.37%
5 350 14.8% 8.19% 33.40% 63.15%
5 400 14.8% 8.19% 26.00% 59.06%
6 500 10.1% 4.96% 39.40% 70.22%
6 550 10.1% 4.96% 34.35% 67.73%
6 600 10.1% 4.96% 29.3% 65.25%
7 700 6.89% 3.01% 44.86% 75.93%
7 800 6.89% 3.01% 37.97% 72.92%
8 900 4.7% 1.82% 52.96% 81.76%
8 1000 4.7% 1.82% 48.26% 79.93%

### 5-Point Basketball Teasers — House Edge

Pick Pays Prob. Win (Spread) Prob. Win (Total) House Edge(Spread) House Edge (Total)
2 -130 49.14% 38.20% 13.05% 32.42%
2 -120 49.14% 38.20% 9.90% 29.97%
2 -110 49.14% 38.20% 6.18% 27.08%
3 120 34.45% 23.61% 24.21% 48.07%
3 135 34.45% 23.61% 19.04% 44.53%
3 140 34.45% 23.61% 17.32% 43.34%
3 150 34.45% 23.61% 13.87% 40.98%
4 180 24.15% 14.59% 32.38% 59.15%
4 200 24.15% 14.59% 27.55% 56.23%
4 240 24.15% 14.59% 17.89% 50.4%
5 300 16.93% 9.02% 32.28% 63.93%
5 350 16.93% 9.02% 23.82% 59.42%
6 400 11.87% 5.57% 40.66% 72.14%
6 450 11.87% 5.57% 34.73% 69.35%
6 500 11.87% 5.57% 28.79% 66.56%
7 600 8.32% 3.44% 41.76% 75.89%
7 700 8.32% 3.44% 33.44% 72.45%
7 800 8.32% 3.44% 25.12% 69.00%
8 800 5.83% 2.13% 47.51% 80.84%
8 900 5.83% 2.13% 41.68% 78.71%
8 1200 5.83% 2.13% 24.18% 72.33%

### 5.5-Point Basketball Teasers — House Edge

Pick Pays Prob. Win (Spread) Prob. Win (Total) House Edge(Spread) House Edge (Total)
2 -120 51.47% 39.4% 5.64% 27.77%
3 130 36.92% 24.73% 15.08% 43.13%
4 180 26.49% 15.52% 25.83% 56.54%
5 300 19.00% 9.74% 23.99% 61.03%
6 400 13.63% 6.11% 31.83% 69.43%
7 600 9.78% 3.84% 31.53% 73.14%
8 700 7.02% 2.41% 43.87% 80.73%

### 6-Point Basketball Teasers — House Edge

Pick Pays Prob. Win (Spread) Prob. Win (Total) House Edge(Spread) House Edge (Total)
2 -130 54.03% 40.95% 4.42% 27.55%
3 110 39.71% 26.2% 16.61% 44.98%
4 150 29.19% 16.77% 27.03% 58.08%
4 160 29.19% 16.77% 24.11% 56.41%
5 250 21.45% 10.73% 24.91% 62.45%
6 300 15.77% 6.87% 36.93% 72.54%
6 350 15.77% 6.87% 29.04% 69.10%
7 500 11.59% 4.39% 30.46% 73.64%
7 600 11.59% 4.39% 18.87% 69.25%
8 600 8.52% 2.81% 40.37% 80.32%
8 1000 8.52% 2.81% 6.29% 69.08%

The bottom line about NBA teasers is that they are usually a terrible bet, especially off of totals.

## Parlays

The following table shows what some Las Vegas sports books pay on off the board parlays, listed from best to worst.

### Off the Board Parlays — Odds Survey

Sports Book 2 Teams 3 Teams 4 Teams 5 Teams 6 Teams 7 Teams 8 Teams
Golden Nugget 2.6 to 1 6 to 1 11 to 1 22 to 1 40 to 1 75 to 1 140 to 1
MGM-Mirage 2.6 to 1 6 to 1 10 to 1 20 to 1 40 to 1 80 to 1 150 to 1
Lucky's 2.6 to 1 6 to 1 10 to 1 20 to 1 40 to 1 80 to 1 150 to 1
El Cortez/South Point 2.6 to 1 6 to 1 10 to 1 20 to 1 40 to 1 75 to 1 150 to 1
Harrah's 2.6 to 1 6 to 1 10 to 1 20 to 1 40 to 1 75 to 1 140 to 1
Venetian 2.6 to 1 6 to 1 10 to 1 20 to 1 40 to 1

The next table shows the house edge of parlays, according to the number of picks and what it pays. This table assumes the probability each pick is correct is 50%, and ignores ties.

### Off the Board Parlays — House Edge

Pick Pays Prob. Win House Edge
2 2.6 25.00% 10.00%
3 6 12.50% 12.5%
4 10 6.25% 31.25%
4 11 6.25% 25.00%
5 20 3.13% 34.38%
5 22 3.13% 28.13%
6 40 1.56% 35.94%
7 75 0.78% 40.63%
7 80 0.78% 36.72%
8 140 0.39% 44.92%
8 150 0.39% 41.02%

If you mix just one event into a parlay that does not pay -110, then a calculation is made to determine the payoff odds. The calculation is made as if every bet were made independently. For example, if you made a three team parlay with odds of each event of -110, +200, and -300, then the payoff odds would be (21/11)*(3/1)*(4/3) = 7.6364 for 1, or 6.6364 to 1. If you used this method of calculation in making all -110 bets, then your payoff odds would be better, except for a 3-event parlay. The following table shows the house edge under MGM-Mirage parlay and the calculation method.

### MGM-Mirage vs. Calculation Parlay Comparison

Pick MGM-Mirage Pays Calculation Pays MGM-Mirage House Edge Calculation House Edge
2 2.6 2.645 10.00% 8.88%
3 6 5.958 12.50% 13.03%
4 10 12.283 31.25% 16.98%
5 20 24.359 34.38% 20.75%
6 40 47.413 35.94% 24.36%
7 80 91.424 36.72% 27.79%
8 150 175.446 41.02% 31.08%

A nice trick to get out of the stingy off the board pay table on parlays is to mix in any event that does not pay -110. For example, if player X makes an 8-team parlay at an MGM-Mirage sports book, all at -110, he stands to be paid 150 to 1. If player Y makes an 8-team parlay, with 7 picks at -110, and one at -120, he will be paid (21/11)7×(22/12) – 1 = 168.4446 to 1. So, player Y substitutes a game that is more likely to win, and stands to get paid significantly more. If there are no sides that pay anything other than -110, then consider mixing in a money line bet.

## Source

This page was based on NBA records from seasons starting in 1987 to 2006.

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