A lot of attention is paid to key numbers in the NFL and college football, but what about basketball? I thought it would be a good idea to check on what the key NBA numbers are. Doing so will allow us to see which numbers, if any, it makes sense to buy on to or off of based on past results.

We’ll start off by looking at the numbers that NBA games land on most frequently. As you’ll see, there isn’t just one number that really stands out, but between 5 and 8 points is most common.

This is just one of several factors that go into handicapping the NBA.

NBA Key Numbers

MarginGamesPercentage
717166.62%
516916.52%
616516.37%
815866.12%
215075.81%
415065.81%
314945.76%
914905.74%
1013265.11%
1112294.74%
1210904.20%
110584.08%
139783.77%
148383.23%
157662.95%
167152.76%
30+6252.41%
176242.41%
185722.21%
194801.85%
204671.80%
214371.68%
223741.44%
243081.19%
232891.11%
252651.02%
262340.90%
271810.70%
281570.61%
291550.60%
301270.49%
Total Games25936

Buying Off of Key NBA Numbers

This table shows the best numbers to buy off of if you are going to buy points in the NBA. What do these numbers really mean?

First, the line is simply the closing line of the game.

“Lands On” represent the number of games that actually landed on that number. Wagers in this case would result in a “push” for bettors.

The percentage shows the percent of the total games that actually land on each number.

This tells us when buying a half point would have given us a win instead of a push. For example, if the line on the Heat game has the Heat favored by -9. If you were to buy it down to -8.5, you can see that 4.87% of games actually land on 9. Here you would increase your odds of winning versus having a push.

The problem is that, in most cases, it is not worth buying the half point. This is becasuse the odds you get are worse compared to the advantage you receive. Most places force you to pay an extra 10 cents of juice for buying a half point. That means instead of laying -110 you will lay -120.

Say you are a bettor who wins 50% of your games. To overcome the extra 10 cents of juice you have to win an extra 4.8% of your games.

For example, say you hit 50% on every game with a line of -5. Your record would be 694-694-57. The standard juice would be -110 for all of these wagers. Let’s say you bet $100/game. You would win $100 on 694 games and lose $110 on 694. Leaving you with a negative profit of -$6,094.

Had you bought a 1/2-point on all of these games to get them at 5.5, you would expect your standard juice would be -120. Your record would have been 751-694. Again betting $100/game. Here you would end up with a negative profit of -$8,180.

Buying the 1/2-point actually would result in a larger net loss, due to the bigger juice you would have to pay.

LineLands OnGames%
1581236.50%
172395.13%
9428994.67%
66113304.59%
84210034.19%
55714453.94%
12153823.93%
74812593.81%
10256733.71%
35314853.57%
1482293.49%
13113193.45%
11175073.35%
44614283.22%
24313473.19%
162643.13%
1229472.32%

Buying On To Key NBA Numbers

Buying on is similar to buying off of them. In this case you would buy from a number with a half point onto a key number.

The below number shows how many times the straight up margin was a half point below the line. So if the line is +1.5 then this shows how many times the underdog lost by 1.

The above number shows how many times the underdog lost by a half point. So if the line was +1.5 then this is how many times the underdog lost by 2 points.

If you purchased a half point as a favorite of -1.5 -110 then that means you would have -1 -120. If you purchased the half point as an underdog you would have had +2 -120 instead of +1.5 -110.

You have to win an extra 4.17% of your games for this to be profitable.

LineGames1/2 Below1/2 Above% Below% Above
1.591228323.07%3.51%
2.5127068575.35%4.49%
3.5139475355.38%2.51%
4.5143346733.21%5.09%
5.5128768535.28%4.12%
6.5122252524.26%4.26%
7.5103958655.58%6.26%
8.588033433.75%4.89%
9.570128313.99%4.42%
10.554236266.64%4.80%
11.540013213.25%5.25%
12.52966162.03%5.41%
13.52088103.85%4.81%
14.5136775.15%5.15%
15.595353.16%5.26%
16.559335.08%5.08%

More Key Numbers