# 2. Translating Win Shares Into Winning Bets

“What The Win Share Stat Is”

This is where things tend to get a little tricky for bettors, because knowing the way to victory isn’t the cleanest. This strategy is also better applied working for just moneyline bets, though with some quick translation, it can be effective from an ATS standpoint as well.

The Math Behind the Win Share

In order to calculate a player’s Win Share, you take the total number of minutes played and multiply it by the WS/48 and divide by 48. So for LeBron, he played 2,877 minutes times his WS/48 stat, divided by 48 gives us his Win Share of 19.3 wins on the season.

The average player with a .100 WS/48 asked to play the same number 37.9 minutes per game that LeBron was playing would have a Win Share stat of 0.08 wins per game, or 6.5.

To replace LeBron with an average player would decrease Miami’s chances of winning the average game from 64.5 out of 82 (78.66%) to just 51.7 out of 82 (63.0%). From a moneyline standpoint using our odds converter, you’re talking about the Heat going from -367 to -170, or a swing from roughly -9 to -4 on the average game.

Just How Good Were the 2012-13 Miami Heat?

For example, the Miami Heat won the NBA title in the 2012-13 season, and they did so without all that much in the way of hassles the entire way. They were the favorites from the get go through the very last whistle of the season, and they ended up going a league best 66-16 that year.

Miami’s Win Share stat was actually right on par with what we would have expected last season. The compilation of the roster had a combined Win Share of 64.5. The expected percentage of the time that the Heat were expected to win games was actually 78.66%, and in actuality, they won a very close 80.5% of their games. By definition, the team overachieved.

However, if you look at just the three big boys, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh and take their Win Shares out, Miami would have won just 26.6 games last season had the rest of the players on the team played exactly the same way.

But say that LeBron sat out a game for Miami. Taking him off the court is obviously the most powerful single loss in the league from the 2012-13 season. James averaged 37.9 minutes per game in 2012-13. Theoretically, those minutes would have been replaced by someone like Shane Battier, who had a .119 WS/48 or Mike Miller, who had a .137 WS/48. Both numbers in their own right are good, but they aren’t what LeBron brings to the table.

For argument’s sake though, let’s replace LeBron with a player who was strictly average, a .100 WS/48 player. If that player had to play 37.9 minutes, like James did, Miami’s expected Win Share would come down quite a bit.

## Not All Average Teams Are Created Equally

Last season, the Dallas Mavericks went 41-41, and the Boston Celtics went 41-40. Theoretically, a game played between these two when both sides were at full strength and playing on a neutral court would feature a betting line of a pick ’em, right? In actuality, that would probably be roughly the case, but using the Win Share stat, we definitely know better.

Last year’s Mavericks players had a combined Win Share of 39.5. Last year’s Celtics had a combined Win Share of 41.6. Right there, one could tell that if both of these teams were at full strength, Boston would have the advantage, right?

But what about when Rajon Rondo was injured in the second half of the season? Rondo played in 38 games last season and averaged 37.4 minutes per game. Had he played in all 81 games that Boston played, he would have had a total win share of 6.8. We know that Avery Bradley ended up playing most of those minutes instead. Bradley had a WS/48 of just .012 last season, and had he played a full 81 games for Boston at 37.4 minutes per game, he would have had a win share of just 0.8, knocking six wins off of its total.

The average Celtics team, in principal, actually would have only featured a Win Share of 35.6, a far cry from the 39.5 that Dallas was at. Perhaps it’s not so cut and dry after all!

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