NBA Rest & Travel Factors

The NBA is a rest and travel league, much more so than the NFL. NBA teams usually play between 3 to 5 games per week compared to NFL teams playing one game per week. If an NBA team is on a 5 to 6 game road trip, the NBA team can find itself traveling from city to city over a span of 10 or more days. In contrast, an NFL team on a 2 to 3 game road trip  is probably going home for a 3 to 4 day period each week between the road games.

It is well documented that rest and travel impact the NBA pointspread. As a result, rest and travel factors have to be accounted for in the handicapping effort to compute the net rating.

The rest factor can be figured from how many games an NBA team is playing over a given amount of days compared to its opponent. For example, if Team A is playing its 3rd game in 7 days and the opponent, Team B, is playing its 4th game in 7 days, Team A has a rest advantage in the game.

Furthermore, if one team is playing on back to back days against an opponent who did not play the day before, the team not playing back to back has a rest advantage in the game.

Travel becomes a factor when a team is either on an extended road trip or home stand. An extended trip would be a team playing consecutive games on the road or at home over a week’s period of time.

Don’t shortchange the importance of rest and travel impacting NBA games. But be keenly aware that handicapping rest and travel factors alone will not provide a consistent basis for beating the NBA pointspread. Travel and rest are factored into the NBA net rating algorithm.