Tom Gable, Director of Race & Sports at Borgata, provides our readers with insider tips and strategies for making the most of their sports betting ventures. This month, Tom gives us tips on what to consider when placing bets on basketball.
The NBA has returned and restarted their season that was postponed in March when the COVID-19 crisis came on full-force.
The NBA has been working for months on a return-to-play plan that would enable them to get to the playoffs and crown a champion in the safest way possible. Teams, based on their records before the league paused, have been invited to come into the “bubble” in Walt Disney World in Florida and finish out the season. There are no fans and no home court advantage. Not every team is there (only teams with a legitimate chance to make the playoffs were invited), and not every player (players could opt out of playing due to the pandemic if they had health concerns), but as of now, it looks like the NBA will get to the playoffs.
I am cautiously optimistic the “bubble” will work. But how will it affect the play, and in turn the wagering? When looking at teams to wager on to win the championship or to win the Eastern or Western Conferences, it’s important to consider a few key things:
The layoff. Players have not been playing for 4 months. While there is a strong possibility every player will be in shape, there is a difference between being in shape and being in basketball game shape. Teams with a deep bench, like the Los Angeles Clippers, may be a wise player early in the restart.
Look at teams that have now had a chance to heal a bit. Take a look at the Philadelphia 76ers. Before the break, they were dealing with injuries to key players and weren’t in a good spot. The break allowed certain players like Ben Simmons the time to get better and be ready to play.
Handicapping teams as we progress towards the playoffs are match-ups. How do certain teams match up against potential playoff opponents? If you can find a team at a good price to win the conference that you feel creates match-up problems for other teams in the conference, make that wager now! Playoff basketball is all about the match-ups.
Finally, the last piece to consider in the early going of the restart, is to make sure teams have something to play for. There are certainly possibilities that exist where teams may be happy with their play-off seating and decide to rest their starters or key players, which will affect the point spread on a particular game. It’s important to do your research before wagering on one of the games before the playoffs start, if a team is actually going to give it their best shot at winning that particular game.