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NBA Handicapping: Exploring Advanced Statistics and Analytics

October 4, 2020
Advanced NBA Statistics and Analytics

To win more bets on NBA games, it helps to almost think like a coach. Most NBA coaches agree that the following NBA statistics are the most important in determining the outcome of a game.

Ask most coaches and they will tell you if your team can lead in the following NBA stats, they will win the game. That is why each of the following NBA statistics are so important.

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Popular NBA Statistics and Analytics

Here’s a list of advanced NBA statistics to help NBA handicappers win more bets.

We’ll be adding to this list frequently, as we want to make it the number one resource for NBA bettors looking for help understanding NBA statistics.

NBA True Shooting Percentage

Field goal percentage only goes so far as a metric to help determine winners. Remember, there are two-point shots, three-point shots, and there are also one-pointers from the free throw line.

That is what true shooting percentage measures. It includes twos, threes, and free throws and is a much better measure of an individual’s or team’s ability to shoot.

NBA Assist to Turnover Ratio

Checking this metric is almost a must for winning bettors. Turnovers kill teams. Those that have a penchant for giving away possessions lose more often than they win.

On the other end, teams that distribute the basketball effectively tend to win more games. The Golden State Warriors teams of the mid 2010s are a great example of a team that dished out the ball effectively while limiting turnovers. They won a lot of games.

NBA Pace

Pace will show you how many possessions a team is likely to have over the course of a 48-minute NBA game. Teams that have more possessions have more opportunities to score. 

Those possessions only matter when teams protect the ball and don’t turn it over.

Pace factor is a solid metric to look at when betting on NBA totals.

NBA Offensive and Defensive Efficiency Rating

Teams that win basketball games tend to be more efficient on offense and defense. Efficiency on either end of the floor can be measured by calculating the number of points scored or allowed per possession and then adjusting for pace.

These efficiency ratings are given per 100 possessions so they appear to look like points per game. A team with an offensive efficiency rating of 115 may be very efficient especially if they only average 100 points per game.

A defense might give up 100 points per game, but its efficiency rating is 97 indicating that it is very efficient in its defensive play.

NBA Net Rating

Net rating is an advanced analytic worth looking at when making betting decisions. Essentially, net rating measures the point differential over the course of 100 possessions instead of over a game or a season.

Combined with Pace, bettors can use these numbers in preparation for their wagers. Over the course of 100 possessions, a team scores 100 points and gives up 94. Its net rating is +6.

That same team may have a Pace rating of 100. Another team has a pace rating of 101 and a net rating of +6.5. It would be in the first team’s best interest to lower its number of possessions since they cannot match the second team per 100 possessions.

All of these advanced statistics are useful in handicapping NBA games. In the end, they all feed into the five major areas that reveal how teams win games and that is what makes these metrics valuable.