One of the popular things situational handicappers like to look at when breaking down an NBA matchup is rest. Everyone knows that teams playing in back-to-back games are in a tough spot.

There are two scenarios that involve a team on short rest that I like to key on. Those are 4 games in 5 nights and 5 games in 7 days.

I’ve gone back over the years and compiled the results for both situations below. You will see I didn’t just look at the overall numbers. I broke it down and looked at a number of different betting scenarios that you might find a team in this spot.

NBA Betting Advice: Handicapping Two Key Rest Situations

4 Games in 5 Nights

TypeSUATSO/U
Home334-286 (53.9%)276-331-13 (45.5%)313-292-15 (51.7%)
Away430-789 (35.3%)579-613-27 (48.6%)600-601-18 (50.0%)
Favorite442-220 (66.8%)316-334-12 (48.6%)329-318-15 (50.9%)
Home Favorite261-113 (69.8%)175-193-7 (47.4%)187-179-8 (51.1%)
Road Favorite181-107 (62.8%)142-141-5 (50.2%)142-139-7 (50.5%)
Underdog296-838 (26.0%)512-593-28 (46.3%)564-443-16 (50.5%)
Home Underdog63-168 (27.3%)92-133-6 (40.9%)420-460-22 (47.7%)
Road Underdog232-670 (25.7%)420-460-22 (47.7%)444-448-10 (49.8%)
Line +3 to -3 (Home)77-95 (44.8%)74-94-3 (44.4%)91-78-3 (53.8%)
Line +3 to -3 (Away)155-139 (52.7%)156-134-4 (53.8%) 151-136-7 (52.6%)
First 20 Games 211-253 (45.5%)238-219-7 (52.1%)222-234-8 (48.7%)
Last 62 Games553-822 (40.2%)617-725-33 (46.0%)691-659-25 (51.2%)
Overall764-1075 (41.5%)855-944-40 (47.5%)913-893-33 (50.6%)

For those that aren’t familiar with the 4 in 5 scenarios. This is when you have a team that plays on consecutive days, gets one day off and then plays two more in a row.

The overall results are encouraging. Teams in this spot have won the game outright just 41.5% of the time.

As far as teams covering the spread, they do so at a mere 47.5% clip. While not strong enough to fade every time it comes up, it let’s know we are on the right track.

We want to focus more on fading home teams in this situation. They are covering at just a 45.5% clip, compared to 48.6% on the road.

It gets even strong if we turn our attention to home underdogs, as they are a miserable 40.9% ATS.

Another key thing to take from the numbers is it’s important to factor in how far we are into the schedule. In the first 20 games, we see a covering rate of 52.1%. Over the last 62 contests, it’s just 46.0%.

For those of you wondering, teams typically hit the 20-game mark sometime in either late November or early December.

How to Handicap Pro Basketball Based on Two Rest Scenarios

5 Games in 7 Nights

TypeSUATSO/U
Home748-585 (56.1%)598-706-29 (45.9%)650-667-26 (49.0%)
Away792-1247 (38.8%)1033-966-40 (51.7%)989-1013-37 (49.4%)
Favorite989-452 (68.6%)700-717-24 (49.4%)675-737-29 (47.8%)
Home Favorite621-258 (70.6%)412-455-12 (47.5%)402-461-16 (46.6%)
Road Favorite368-194 (65.5%)288-262-12 (52.4%)273-276-13 (49.7%)
Underdog516-1345 (27.7%)896-920-45 (49.3%)922-908-31 (50.4%)
Home Underdog116-312 (27.1%)175-236-17 (42.6%)225-194-9 (53.7%)
Road Underdog400-1033 (27.9%)721-684-28 (51.3%)697-714-22 (49.4%)
Line +3 to -3 (Home)161-177 (47.6%)160-168-10 (48.%)174-160-4 (52.1%)
Line +3 to -3 (Away)266-218 (55.0%)267-209-8 (56.1%)238-235-11 (50.3%)
First 20 Games353-360 (49.5%)386-314-13 (55.%)345-357-11 (49.1%)
Last 62 Games1187-1472 (44.6%)1245-1358-56 (47.8%)1284-1323-52 (49.3%)
Overall1540-1832 (45.7%)1631-1672-69 (49.4%)1629-1680-63 (49.2%)

While not quite as strong, the results are very similar to that of clubs playing 4 in 5. This makes sense, as this is a little easier scenario for a team to overcome.

Typically when playing 5 in 7, a team plays two straight, gets a day off, plays a contest, gets another day off and then plays two more in a row. So in their seventh contest, they are actually only playing 3 games in 5 days.

Just going to have to be a little more selective in this spot. For example, I like to look for when they are playing an opponent that is well rested. Not really an advantage if the other team has also been playing a large number of games in a short period of time.

Conclusion

The data backs up the idea that playing with little rest hurts your chances of covering the spread. The only real downside is that the players have made it clear they aren’t a fan of having to put their bodies through this. The league has listened. For example, in 2012 there were 75 times that a team was in the spot of playing 4 in 5 nights. In 2016 the total number of occurrences was a mere 23.

Regardless, this is definitely something you want to add to your NBA handicapping and keep in mind when breaking down the pro basketball odds.