How do oddsmakers come up with NBA betting totals?

Bookmakers set the line for NBA betting totals by using factors such as average points scored and average points allowed by given teams, recent offensive and defensive scoring averages, home and away scoring averages, series history scoring averages, team travel and rest, and injury information, particularly injuries to stars and other starters or key reserves.

Sportsbooks will often release a betting line based on many, if not all, of those factors, as well as, current market or team scoring trends that could affect offensive or defensive efficiency in the offered betting totals markets.

Early in the wagering cycle, books will limit the amounts that can be wagered in order to settle their initial offering.

Allowing early betting, particularly wagering by bettors identified as winners, can help oddsmakers to make adjustments to their initial public offering before raising their limits later in the betting cycle.

The odds (totals) set by the bookmaker aren’t necessarily a direct reflection of their opinion, but also includes factors such as sharp (expert) money, public money and a book’s individual ledger balance on a particular game.

If a bookmaker is looking to pick a spot for his particular shop to gamble, in some cases, he needs to look no further than moving his number slightly higher or lower than the general market consensus.

This action will often facilitate an influx of money from market players looking to earn from arbitrage opportunities.

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