One of the popular handicapping strategies for the NBA is to look at revenge, but it’s not something you can pick a winner on without adding in some additional factors. In fact, if you were to simply bet teams in a revenge situation over every game since 1995 (not including playoffs), you would have gone just 11,393-11,247-451 against the spread. That adds up to a winning percentage of just 50.3% and a lot of money no longer in your pocket.
While that serves as a fresh reminder that not every handicapping strategy you hear about should be taken at face value, I was able to find a key scenario where backing teams in a revenge spot has been profitable over the long run. It’s centered around revenge games that take place in a short time frame. Let’s have a look.
Revenge Within 6 Days of Last Meeting
|565-649 (46.5%)||643-553-18 (53.8%)||570-621-23|
As you can see from the above table, this situation has gone a barely-profitable 53.8% over the years. This definitely makes sense. The NBA schedule can be pretty grueling, which makes it difficult for a team to sit on a loss from a month ago to a certain opponent.
For most teams, by the time they end up playing the that same team they lost to earlier in the year, the emotional tie to the defeat is no longer there. That’s why I focused on teams playing with revenge six days or less after the most recent meeting. Not only is there a good chance the team playing with revenge will be more motivated with the loss fresh in their minds, but the team that won the previous matchup may not take the game as seriously given they just knocked off this opponent a few days ago.
If you are wondering why I chose to only look at games that fell within 6 days of the last meeting and not, say, 10 or 14, is that the advantage simply wasn’t there once you got past 6 days.
Revenge Within 6 Days & Team Playing With Revenge Lost as Favorite Last Game
|210-154 (57.7%)||198-162-4 (55%)||162-193-9|
Here we see a small uptick in expected winning when we consider the team expected to win the previous meeting. This gets us up to a 55% winning percentage and makes sense for a couple of reasons. The team should be the better team considering they were favored the last time out, plus they should be extra motivated to come out and prove they are in fact the better team.
To tweak this even further we looked at these same teams and made sure they were favored in both the previous meeting and in this meeting (the idea being these teams are validated by being favored even after losing in their previous meeting). Here we see an improvement to 104-78-3 against the spread, good for 57.1% winners.
Hope this helps you with your NBA betting this season and be sure to check back for more handicapping related articles.