What to Expect from the 2018/19 NBA Pre-season
What we learned from the first weekend of NBA preseason fixtures and what to expect from the next set of games.
In the opening weekend of NBA preseason games, the underdogs went 6-1 against the spread and won 4 of the 7 games outright. Was this just an anamoly or evidence of a market ineffeciency that we should be monitoring? Last week’s article scratched the surface of this opportunity to profit, and we will continue to dig deeper into this here.
What have we learned through the first weekend of NBA preseason action?
King James still cares not for your preseason
A few days ago in our initial NBA Preseason primer, I touched on a couple of things of note from previous preseasons, that would be of interest to online sports bettors.
One of the things that stuck out to me the most was that the Cavaliers preseason record during Lebron’s second stint with the organization was 4-14 SU.
This led me to advise that perhaps the best approach to take was just to wait until they were a favorite and bet the other team moneyline. We didn’t have to wait long…
The Lakers hosted the Denver Nuggets in their preseason opener on Sunday night at the Staples Centre. They were favored by 5.5 points over the Denver Nuggets.
Lebron James played 15 minutes, the least amount of any starter for either team, he shot 2/6 from the field and Lakers lost by 17 points.
I know it’s preseason NBA, but value is value. There is no reason that based on research and analysis of previous data that a Lebron James team should be favored like this in the preseason, when he is unlikely to play extended minutes. Lebron James does not need to get in shape, for he is the pantheon of basketball fitness and durability. These are situations where the most value is to be found and frankly oddsmakers are doing us a favor with the lines they are setting. I will touch more on this later.
But just to wrap on the Lakers here, the Cavaliers were the worst team in the NBA last season ATS at 31-50-1 during the regular season, and under .500 the previous two seasons before that.
And now, King James moves to the deeper Western conference to a public team which means that there could be a time when the Lakers’ lines are too high and there will be a ton of value in fading them. Lebron, who has not been covering spreads at a profitable clip for years now, is a year older, on a new team with all new players, in a city full of distractions, playing against tougher opposition on a nightly basis, and will be getting more points than he should because he is possibly the greatest player ever.
Yes, we will be fading the Lakers…But perhaps we should be fading all chalk.
Who let the Dogs out?
Coming into Monday, there were 7 preseason games and the Underdogs went 6-1 against the posted number and won 4 of them outright.
My personal belief is that oddsmakers are setting these lines are too high in general. NBA teams that are favored, should only be favored by 3-4 points, instead of 5-7 points. It’s the preseason and starters are barely playing over 20 minutes each.
Not to make sweeping generalizations but when the game is coming down to unknown D leaguers and benches, I’d be comfortable with +6 points or better.
So with that being said, on Monday night BOVADA has two lines that look incredibly inflated:
The Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers are both playing their preseason openers at home and are both -7.5 favorites to the Knicks and the Magic.
If the weekend taught us anything, the only move here would be to blindly take the points, and perhaps even both underdogs on the moneyline on spreads of 7 points or higher during the week.
Betting the elite teams
The Golden State Warriors are currently the odds on favorite to win the NBA Title at (-195) on BODOG and the Boston Celtics are the next highest favorite at (+500).
So far these two teams are 0-3 ATS and 1-2 SU so far this preseason, and as I stated above one reason is because lines are too inflated. The lines are too inflated because starters don’t play much in the 2nd halves of these games and probably not at all in the 4th quarter.
But if you take the inverse of that, the starters play mostly in the first half, and in the first halves they are 3-0 ATS.
4-0 if you include the Toronto Raptors who have been the only favorite to cover thus far, even though Kawhi Leonard only played 19 minutes. But with the Raptors’ depth, you’ll have 10 guys playing around 20 minutes who could also potentially be asked to play 20 minutes in a regular season game and would account for themselves just fine. Not many other teams are spoilt with such riches.
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:
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