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Check Out This NBA "Basic Strategy" Betting Card Based On Days Off vs Opponent Days Off

You know how they make those blackjack basic strategy cards for novices who look at it before standing on a 16 vs a face anyway? Well, I just created one for NBA moneyline betting based a simple hack that leverages load management on the team level. I'm pretty excited to test it out too because as a skilled data analyst there's nothing more exciting than tricking yourself into thinking you coded a way to beat Vegas. It's pretty simple too. No, not the tricking yourself into thinking you can beat Vegas part. Well yes, that too. But I mean the scheme I concocted. All you have to do is consider the number of days off for a particular team vs their opponent and run success rates on each as shown on the card. 

Of course, this isn't something you can just look up on NBA stats, basketball reference, or wherever. That's good because then it'd just be common knowledge anyway. Lucky for you, I did the grunt work and now you have the strategy card at your fingertips. Strategy cards are clutch for gamblers because after we ultimately lose money, these cards allow us to still feel smart because we played the odds. And if you really get into the psychology of why gamblers gamble, it isn't even to win. It's to feel smart. That's what we really want. We want to feel smart instead of dumb. And that's what the strategy card allows us to feel (smart). Is it possible market makers already use days between games for both teams when deciding on moneyline odds? Probably. Am I still going to test it out just to make sure? Definitely!

To clarify what's going on with the basic strategy card, I tracked how many days of rest each team had vs their opponent for every game since 2010. The card shows the win percentage for each relevant combo and my ruling of whether or not to bet it. I basically decided this based on a combo of sample size and percentage close enough to hopefully beat the vig. But as any blackjack player knows, basic strategy doesn't do enough to give you an edge. We still need to find a way to "count cards" via NBA style. You'll notice the card is pretty much telling us to bet against teams with zero days rest. The only exception to this is if a team has six days rest vs a team with zero. Apparently teams forget how to play after six days of rest, but who cares because that barely ever happens. What we need to know is which teams are immune to load management. Hopefully this will drive our Rain Man basic strategy deviation that might put us over the edge of the house vig. Here's the top-ten winningest teams with zero days rest this season:

Who would have guessed top-three teams on this list would be teams with three out of the top four records in the NBA? Thanks Rain Man! Whatever. I'm just going to remove the Bucks and Celtics from teams to bet against in my system, but feel free to modify it for your system. All in all, there were 215 games that would have qualified so far this season and the system would have won 59.1 percent of them. Only the "double-down" options occurred as the "bet" options appear to have been flukes from the past. 

Anyway, this all sems pretty good, but we can add one more component to make it great. What's worse than playing two days in a row? Playing…three days in a row??? Yeah, probably, but that never happens. How about playing two days in a row AND on the road? If we limit to betting on only home teams on top of everything else we'd have won 67.2 percent of the 132 qualifying games. 

I don't have historical money lines at the ready to test out if this would have been profitable, but my made up Law of Shrodinger's Stat says if you don't look for the answer, you'll never be wrong. I'd rather have some fun and play this out (responsibly) full well knowing it'll take a miracle. I've never seen anyone take the work to map this out as I did so who knows? If you're with me, here's all the qualifying teams to bet on rest of season adjusted for home teams only and the genius "Rain Man" idea of not betting against the Celtics or Bucks taken into account. 

So excited to get started on this! The first three teams we have to bet on are (checks list) Washington, Houston, and Brooklyn. Yikes. Whatever, it's a system play. I'll be tracking the results on Twitter, so you can all tell me how smart I either am or (more likely) was just feeling. 

-Jeffro