2018/19 NBA preseason games
The NBA preason kicks off this weekend and in this article we will examine trends from previous preseasons, and analyze why such outliers may exist. Hopefully we can stumble upon a few hidden gems, take advantage of some opportunistic spots and add some units to our bankroll.
The NBA Preseason: Insights on wagering
Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics
The first thing that caught my eye when browsing the news about the NBA was that Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward were BOTH back on the court for the Boston Celtics.
So, as an online sports bettor, the question that I would have is "how much are they going to play this preseason?". Seeing as how they both are coming off long injury layoffs, will Brad Stevens push them during preseason games to get them back into game shape, or ease them back in.
If the former then that means the Celtics will have 2 all stars on the court for longer than would be normal during an NBA preason which, for me, might mean sneaky value, and definitely something I will be monitoring.
But even if Irving and Hayward don't play more than accustomed there is another factor that weighs heavily towards backing Boston in the right spots.
The Boston Celtics have gone 15-3 SU over the last 3 preseasons. It's become clear that Brad Stevens cares about the preseason and wants to win these games as part of establishing a winning culture.
We see this in the NFL as well. Some coaches value the preseason highly and play to win these games. Examples of this are Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer who has a career post season record of 17-4. Or Ravens coach John Harbaugh who is 33-12 lifetime in the preseason.
If I can use my stock market analogy, The Boston Celtics are a strong stock, like Apple or Google, and should be the foundation of your preseason betting portfolio.
Now this brings me to their likely challenger for Eastern Conference supremacy this season, the Toronto Raptors. The big key to their regular season success last year was down to the makeup of their roster. It was deep and they could bring 5-6 guys off the bench to make positive contributions every night.
Add to that, the addition of Kawhi Leonard, one of the 5 best all around players in the league and they have a chance to do great things this season.
Now I do not expect Kawhi Leonard to play much in the preseason but that being said they will still roll out a lot of guys on a nightly basis who are used to playing meaningful NBA minutes, and did so to the tune of earning the #1 seed in the Conference last season, so it could be a case where the Raptors bench is beating up on the weaker benches of all their opponents, during the preseason.
So, the big boys in the top heavy Eastern conference will be worth paying attention to especially if the oddsmakers give them a small number to cover.
Much like Stevens, the new Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse may view the preseason as his way of instilling a winning culture.
Then there are teams that are not about the culture, but only about the player.
See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:
King James cares not for your preseason
Lebron James' team does not need to instill any culture...Lebron is the culture. Lebron decides what offensive sets they run, who plays and how many minutes and basically everything else. Also he doesn't care about the preseason, frankly he might not even care about the regular season.
The Cavaliers record over the last 3 preseasons has been 4-14 SU.
And now that he is on the Los Angeles Lakers who have, to his wishes, acquired some veterans for him to play with, there are less young guys who will go out there and try to earn minutes because Luke Walton won't be deciding who plays...Lebron will. So probably look for a spot wher the Lakers are favored this preseason and bet the other team on the MONEYLINE.
Much like the NFL preseason, there is an argument to be made that there should never be a point spread higher than 5 or 6 points. I would argue the same is true for the NBA preseason.
And though there shouldn't be, inevitably some team will be a large favorite of 7 points or higher during the preseason for absolutely no reason what so ever. Rarely is the talent disparity in the NBA that huge to warrant inflated spreads on meaningless preseason games. So keep an eye out for teams that aren't really that distant but a point spread that is.
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