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Advice For Betting on NBA Summer League Games

| June 28, 2019 12:00 am PDT
nba summer league

The second the NBA Draft ends, most basketball fans look to free agency or start planning how they’ll bet on NBA games going into the next year.

Those are certainly things you should be doing, but overlooking the NBA Summer League would arguably be a huge mistake.


Because there is untapped upside that you usually can’t find anywhere else.

Much like any other league’s preseason, the NBA’s Summer League operates with little concrete knowledge to go off of. Bettors can’t know for sure who will play, for how long and how they’ll produce.

This lack of knowledge could impact how you bet on NBA Summer League games, but it also hinders how Vegas prices said contests. If the top NBA sportsbooks aren’t anymore sure than you are, there is a potential edge to be gained.

That’s more than you can say for most betting situations, as Vegas is notoriously spot on when it comes to predictive analysis and point spreads. Considering that isn’t always the case when it comes to NBA Summer League betting, you may want to exploit the process.

Here are a few tips to do just that every single year at your favorite basketball betting websites.

Scout the Players

The NBA Summer League is dominated by young basketball players either auditioning for a trip to someone’s training camp or proving a team chose wisely when they took them in that year’s draft.

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the yearly NBA Draft, not only because NBA Draft betting has become much more popular, but also because that’s where most of the Summer League talent is coming from.

You can take it one step further and follow college basketball more closely, too. It doesn’t hurt to do this, anyways, as it’ll only aid you when betting on March Madness every season.

Following the draft is a quick and easy way to get in depth scouting reports on every drafted player, though. Overall, try to know as much about these prospects as you can. That way you know how they play, how they might mesh with their teammates and what to expect from a performance perspective.

In addition, it might be wise to brush up on the final NBA Summer League rosters. You should have access to that information before the league opens and you’ll be able to see all of the prospects (or veterans) playing to show their worth.

There could be some blasts from the past on these rosters, so have an open mind when scouting each team. Following up on local papers (online, probably) can also give you an inside track as to who the coaches want to see more of or use as focal points in each specific game.

Diving into the players and teams should give you a good sense of the overall talent, who will start each game and which players will be inactive. Once you can paint a clear picture of the teams going against each other, you can begin to assess who has the upper hand with given wagers.

Find NBA Betting Sites You Can Trust

The more you know about each team, the easier it’s going to be to process your NBA Summer League betting strategy. That brings me to my next tip, which is to then locate NBA Summer League betting websites to actually wager at.

Not every sportsbook will host these bets, but you don’t want to just go betting on NBA sportsbooks you can’t trust. Search diligently to find the best basketball betting sites that happen to host NBA Summer League wagers and you can move forward with confidence, knowing you’re going to see your money if you convert a winning bet.

Your preference can change things, but for the most part the following NBA Summer League betting sites are very reliable options to consider.

All of these sites are trustworthy and pay out your winnings in a timely manner. They also have all offered betting markets for Summer League games in the past. They’re the best options for US customers, but not necessarily if you live elsewhere. You can check out our list of the best NBA betting sites for some localized recommendations.

Once you decide where you want to play, you can then go line shopping. The NBA Summer League odds will likely be pretty similar from site to site, but anywhere you can obtain a little extra value that benefits how you’re wagering, you need to pounce.

Having more than one site to work with makes that possible. Just make sure they are sites you fully trust, whether they come from our suggested list or not.

Consider Narratives

Narratives are big in all sports betting genres, but for some reason they tend to be huge in sports like baseball and basketball. Perhaps it’s because those sports are more based on an isolated individual a good portion of the time.

Think about it, pitchers are by themselves on the mound, batters are by themselves at the plate and basketball players have the ball in their hands and can decide what to do with it.

This sense of control can be scary, but it can also be empowering. Narratives like birthdays, performing in hometowns, playing for respect, revenge, a specific role or even just the right to make a team can all play into a prospect performing above expectations.

That doesn’t give you the green light to only base wagers on narratives, but disregarding them completely could be costly. When it comes to NBA Summer League, the big selling point is opportunity.

Some of these players are second round picks, undrafted free agents or veterans on their last leg in the league. The big name prospects will catch everyone’s eye, but it’s these lesser known talents that are often the fuel behind teams getting wins during the summer.

Who Will Coach the Teams?

Coaching is arguably a very underrated component to nailing NBA Summer League bets. Most of these players have never played together, have very different styles and come into the league with varying skill-sets and talent levels.

They’re thrust into a situation where they’re trying to come together as a team and get wins, yet they’re also 100% out to prove themselves as individuals. Bettors need to consider this when dealing with isolation-heavy scorers, shoot-first point guards, less than gifted offensive players trying to force the issue or just flat out ball hogs.

Coaches have to do the same. Their job is to help develop this young talent, but it’s also to get them to band together and win games.

The league doesn’t always cycle the same coaches in every year, but the ones that do have past Summer League experience and/or have been successful obviously need to be noted. In addition, you can research coaches and hold them in higher regard depending on where their coaching tree resides.

Don’t place bets strictly based on coaching, but don’t go into single games or tournaments without considering who is calling the shots on the sidelines, either.

Stay Updated on Lineups and Injuries

Everything else I’ve touched on is important to keep in mind when betting on the NBA Summer League, but nothing is more important than keeping up with news and injuries.

Your scouting of players doesn’t matter if you bet on a team full of stars that ends up resting. You also will feel silly if you bet on a team to win based on a star player who happens to be banged up and ends up being ineffective or limited.

Make sure you know who is playing in each game and do your best to gauge how healthy they are and how much they’ll be on the floor. The better idea you have of starting lineups and rotations, the better you can assess how two opposing teams can match up.

Target NBA Summer League Underdogs

Let’s only bet on underdogs and win all of the money, am I right? It sounds exciting and is certainly profitable when you hit, but that’s not the plan here or really anytime in sports betting.

But picking the right spots is certainly encouraged. With the NBA Summer League in particular, Vegas isn’t really sure how to price things, so you will often encounter situations where teams that have the superior star player, more well-rounded talent and/or better coaching are the underdogs.

I don’t ever think betting on the underdog just for the sake of upside is a good idea. But when it comes to NBA Summer League betting, your rationale for going this route doesn’t need to be nearly as convincing as usual.

There is always going to be some fun value to chase in this betting genre. Pick your spots, but keep that upside in mind and be open to taking a few more chances than you normally would.

Restrict Your NBA Summer League Betting

I’ll leave you with one more NBA Summer League betting tip and that’s to refrain from going too crazy with this kind of action.

A smart bettor has a pretty strict bankroll to start with, whether it’s for your weekly, monthly or yearly action. It’s wise to separate it like that and stick to it, but it’s also suggested to reset this based on each sport.

You can absolutely gain a big edge and obtain nice value when betting on NBA Summer League games, but there’s also a lot of risk built into it. If Vegas doesn’t know how to price games, it’s probably because nobody knows how to price them.

This is why it’s smart to target elite betting value spots, but also a good reason to limit precisely how much you wager. Refer to this sports betting tips page to keep yourself in check.


Betting on NBA Summer League games is a ton of fun and can be very rewarding. You get to see most of the top new prospects in action, while numerous players are fighting for their careers on the summer hardwood.

This isn’t the easiest sports betting genre to perfect, but that’s actually what makes it so great. There aren’t very reliable news sources to ensure your wagers will always go down without a hitch, which also makes it next to impossible for Vegas to always price the games appropriately.

Depending on your research, knowledge level and the actual bets you make, there is room for serious profit. Hopefully you can use these NBA Summer League betting tips to your advantage. Either way, I wish you luck with your wagers. Happy betting!

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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