With a long 82-game regular season and giant large field tournaments for almost all of them, anyone could have a life-changing night playing daily fantasy tournaments for NBA basketball. The question is, how? We’ll use this page to update ideas, strategies and results used to beat the NBA daily fantasy format (so feel free to bookmark this page now).
First things first, to increase your chances of winning in any large field daily fantasy sports, it’s helpful to connect or “correlate” the players in your lineup. The goal is to limit the number of predictions you have to make in order to win your wager. If wagers are not correlated and you are taking one player from each team, you have to be perfect. If you don’t For example, if your quarterback throws a touchdown pass to your wide receiver, or if your hockey line-mates assist each other in scoring a goal, you can quickly rack up points. In basketball, where points are scored more gradually, game stacking is a strategy where you select players from the same game in the hope that they will play more minutes, due to a close game or overtime. I know it may seem crazy to stack a game in the hopes that it goes to overtime but consider the numbers.
How often is Overtime in the NBA?
In his piece for RotoGrinders, Allan Lem breaks down the numbers on the frequency in which NBA games need additional time to settle the outcome. In fact, the rate at which NBA games go to overtime has been fairly consistent. For the three seasons played between 2013 to 2016, 232 NBA games went to overtime at a consistent pace. In 2013-2014 79 games went to overtime, 76 in 2014, and 77 in the 2015-2016 season. That’s an average of 6.3% of all game’s end regulation in a tie.
Lem goes on to note that games that go to overtime score, on average, 20 additional points (220 vs 200) than their regulation counterparts. Thus, the five (or more) extra minutes provide a substantial advantage over the field if you successfully game-stack a game that goes to overtime. 6% may seem small but that’s at a per-game average. Depending on the size of the slate you’re playing, there may be a 50/50 chance at a game going to OT that evening.
This may lead you to ask the forbidden question…do all games have the same chance of going to overtime?
How To Find NBA Games More Likely To End Overtime
The question of whether certain games are more likely to go to overtime than others is both trivially true (of course, since some games do go to overtime) and at once very controversial. There is one tried and true practice for playing for overtime.
Stack Games With Lower Spreads: This one may seem obvious but worth factoring in since many people will not check on their own. As game spreads are meant to put equal money on either side of the wager, games with lower spreads are going to be more likely to be close games. A close game is a reasonable consolation as it means starters (who you should be playing) are likely to be in the game for longer. Here you can find a list of upcoming spreads for upcoming NBA games.
Some ideas people have thrown around for taking a stab at guessing OT:
Trending Team Totals: Team totals are the expected number of points a particular team is expected to score in a particular game. If a game total is 200 and a team is favored by 5 points, the expected team total for the game will be around 102.5 and the underdog’s team total will be 97.5 (or thereabouts). However, that’s just open if you see the underdog’s team total increasing there may be some news expecting the game score to be closer than initially expected.
Use Multiple Lineups, Play Multiple Games: Combine these strategies and utilize your ability to play multiple lineups. To increase your odds of hitting the OT game (or games) for the evening, game stack all games with low NBA spreads.
Avoid Game-Stacking Underdogs on Road Trips: More than any other league in professional (or college) sports, NBA teams are the most likely to park the bus if their deficit becomes too great. This reality is never more obvious when one also considers the long and taxing road trips that NBA teams take. Traveling across the country, often playing on back-to-back nights, head coaches for NBA teams on the outset of a long road trip will want to save their players’ legs. This is similar to Major League Baseball teams who stretch starters (or middle relievers) despite their poor outings hoping to save the arms in the bullpen.
While game stacking can be helpful, it’s important to use it wisely and consider other factors as well. One cannot express how important it is to prioritize close games over blowouts.