By Tony George www.tonygeorgesports.com
Many ask HOW do you handicap games? What kind of handicapper are you? Do you use Situational Analysis, are you Power Ratings guy, have sources you talk to, just have a feel for the game or simply throw darts at a board and then hype up picks to sell?
Well the last one is out the window in my case, because I use a database and arrive at a power rating system. Each team is assigned a number based on numerous variables.
It starts out with simplistic equations like offensive production, defensive points allowed, free throw percentage, rebounding, turnover ratios, bench scoring points, and then most recent averages weighed against season-long averages, as many teams play in cycles. That means they started out badly, and now have turned the corner and their most recent averages (last 5 games) are more dependable than season averages. My ratings are “in the moment” and change weekly.
Once you have a line on a game, you weigh that line against your power rating, and the number difference between the Las Vegas Line and your power rating line is an OVERLAY. If that overlay exceeds 3 points, I circle those games and research them to narrow down a selection. Then there are more variables to consider in the matchup itself. In other words, you find line value and then work your way backwards to the game itself.
In the middle of the pack there are a lot of ties and a lot of parity in the NBA right now. Home court you add anywhere from 2 to 4 points to the ratings, which in turn widens the gap slightly. Some teams are vastly stronger on their home court than others.
LA Clippers 102
OK City 101
San Antonio 100
NY Knicks 95
Golden St 93
BOTTOM 5 – Starting with the Worst
Let’s take a game hypothetically. I have the Clippers at a 102 power rating and they are playing Golden State at home. Golden State’ s power rating is 93. My Power rating scenario is a 9-point difference. The home court is worth 2.5 points in this case, making the Total difference is 11.5 points. Lets also assume for this example the Las Vegas Line opens up at Clippers -6.5. That is a 5-point overlay against the line, and anything over 3 points is worth a look, and anything over 4 points is worth a play.
Just an example of how to use this simple, but effective method of finding potential opportunities against the Las Vegas Line.