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NBA Momentum Swings: Handicapping Basketball Runs

If you’ve ever watched an NBA game or played basketball, you know that this sport more than any other is a game of scoring runs – due to its high scoring nature. Momentum can swing from one side to another within a matter of minutes, and the ability to predict when a run will happen can help bettors profit when wagering on a live NBA game.

What is a Run in Basketball?

When you hear the announcer say, “The Indiana Pacers have been on a 13-2 run in the last two minutes,” it means they’ve scored scored a bunch in the last 120 seconds and their opponent has not scored as much or at all. Generally, when NBA teams go on runs, the team that can score in bunches while shutting down their opponent in certain periods of the game is going to etither win the game or cover the spread.

An example of a run would be Tracy McGrady in a regular season game against the Spurs in 2007. McGrady put up 13 points in 33 seconds. Most of us can’t even tie our shoes in 33 seconds, yet Tracy inspired the Rockets to win the game 81-80 with his momentum.

Should you Ride Momentum Swings in NBA Games?

The only way to ride momentum swings during an NBA game is to bet on the matchup live. Since in-play wagering is a growing element of the NBA betting odds landscape, predicting streaks before they happen is obviously critical, so you can make money on the right side at the right time.

There are a number of handicapping factors that need to be considered when trying to predict whether a team is going to run or not. Hot shooting is literally hit-or-miss, as sometimes it can continue for a long stretch of time when one or more players keep making baskets – not actually weaving a basket but getting the ball through the hoop. Other times, the momentum starts but ends as quickly as it came with a few poor shots – looking at you Marcus Smart.

However, matchups, game situations, foul trouble, strategic changes and substitutions, among other things, also play key roles in determining a team’s momentum. Determining whether the momentum is sustainable is the only way to handicap basketball runs. More on that below.

Defense Matters as much as Offense

One common misconception about momentum is that teams go on runs because they start lighting it up from the outside – which would be a great title for an NBA player’s memoir. That is only partially true because defense is equally important in this scenario. Of course, teams have to score to go on a run. But, most of the time it is because they’ve stepped it up on the defensive end as well since a defense that forces turnovers usually leads to fast breaks and open shots.

Another thing to remember is that sometimes it is smart – not Marcus Smart – to bet against the team with momentum unless there is an obvious reason to stay the course or stay away from fading on a live wager. Runs do not last forever and value can be had wagering on the team that is struggling at the time.

Momentum goes both ways, and it usually is only a matter of time before the team puts a stop to the bleeding and fights back with a run of its own.

Timing is everything – which is another great title for a memoir – and winning live NBA bets still need to be handicapped accordingly. Check out our NBA pages for odds, free picks, betting news and everything else you’d need to help you with your basketball bets.