As the NBA embarks upon a historic restart amidst the coronavirus pandemic, what concerns should bettors be mindful of?
The so-called “NBA Bubble,” site of the NBA’s much-discussed headquarters for its 2020 season restart, is a unique experiment in modern sports history. Despite the fears of a potential resurgence, luckily, as reported by Yahoo! News, out of 346 NBA players, zero tested positive for the coronavirus.
This is, of course, an amazing sign, as a potential positive test would mean mandatory isolation, no questions asked.
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But for gamblers, beyond your favorite fantasy players testing positive for COVID-19, what else should you be concerned about? This is a historic time to be wagering, and given the circumstances, you need to be mindful of your wagers, now more than ever before.
Conditioning and Weary Legs
Just like your body being out of whack when you set the clock back, NBA players being out of full-game conditioning for several months is going to affect the way the initial games play out. Players will have the opportunity to scrimmage in the eight days prior to the official restart date, which is slated for July 30.
But in the beginning, there is little doubt that the games are going to take an uncharacteristically slow or awkward pace.
Teams will only experience three inter-squad scrimmages, but that’s barely enough time to allow players to get back into tip-top shape. Mind you, the stoppage of play since March is about the equivalent amount of time between NBA seasons for those that have never gone deep into the playoffs or to the NBA Finals.
While many players pursued alternative activities in quarantine, it can’t match game-time pressure or pace. Sure, practicing and alternative forms of exercise leading up to the restart are better than nothing, but for most players, it is a far cry from being in “game shape.”
Expect the early games to go under the set totals, and don’t be surprised if underdogs perform better than their odds suggest. Points, especially in low-scoring games, mean more than they usually would, and with that in mind, it’s essential to be mindful that it will take a few weeks until players return to form.
For every player involved, especially those with time in the league, this is an unprecedented change in their schedule. Even the best teams will be tested by this awkward shift, but where there may be an adjustment challenge for the veterans, this is where the younger players have an opportunity to take advantage. Online sportsbooks will know this and adjust betting lines to make up for those challenges.
Inexperienced, youth-laden, and otherwise over-matched teams will present great opportunities for bettors looking to capitalize on what could be late-season volatility. Normally, these games would be filler competitions at this point in a typical season, but the restart allows these younger teams with something to play for to take advantage of a short time-window to go streaking.
Don’t be surprised if considerable upsets happen in the early going. As NBA oddsmakers adjust to the inflated spreads, bettors attempting to chase the public underdogs may get burned as favorites cover in accordance with the correction.
But beyond crazy upsets and sluggish starts, as players return to their usual rhythm, you can expect the same fast-paced NBA action we know and love.