Sportsbooks are in uncharted territory when it comes to the restart of the NBA season. There’s never been a market like this, not only for neutral court games but also played in a “bubble” without fans. But DraftKings Sportsbook is offering some extremely unique futures, including win totals for the eight-game seeding season that plays out before the postseason.
It’s a pretty difficult market to gage, as an eight-game sample is nothing like betting a full season win total. We need to put huge weight on what teams are playing for, what roster moves have occurred since the shutdown and, maybe most importantly, how the schedule holds up.
Given all of that information, I think it makes it very difficult to bet the over on win totals for the top teams, which is usually a popular strategy. If these teams wind up locking into a playoff seed with three games remaining, will they even play key pieces?
So I think the only safe and trustworthy strategy I can think of is betting the unders for the teams trending in the wrong direction as the season resets. I wrote up four bets to consider.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
Brooklyn Nets: UNDER 2.5 (-115)
The Nets will obviously continue to play without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but four more crucial rotation players decided to opt out of the remainder of the season — Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan, Taurean Prince and Wilson Chandler. With all due respect to Caris LeVert, I don’t see him as a go-to-guy that’s going to carry the rest of this roster to a record of 3-5 or better. It’ll be fun to see Jamal Crawford get another shot — the dude scored 51 in his last game, so DFS and player prop opportunities could be there. But Crawford won’t be enough to make a difference. Given the schedule ahead, the Nets should be underdogs in seven of these eight games.
Schedule: ORL, WAS, MIL, BOS, SAC, LAC, ORL, POR
San Antonio Spurs: UNDER 2.5 (+110)
The Spurs sit as the 12-seed in the Western Conference and have virtually no shot of catching the teams we expect to see contending for the No. 8 seed (MEM, POR, NOP). San Antonio’s frontcourt has also been decimated by injury, with both LaMarcus Aldridge and Trey Lyles — the most common combination of starting bigs for San Antonio this season — ruled out. LMA missed six games right before the shutdown in which the Spurs went 2-4 straight up and 0-6 ATS. If things get out of control early, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gregg Popovich start to shutdown more key players. The Spurs play a pretty rough schedule and I’d expect them to be underdogs in all eight games.
Schedule: SAC, MEM, PHI, DEN, UTA, NOP, HOU, UTA
New Orleans Pelicans: UNDER 5.5 (-215)
This number is set in an odd spot for the Pelicans. Why not make it 4.5 with more reasonable odds? U4.5 would still likely be heavily juiced. Nobody likes to bet something at -215, but expecting the Pelicans to win six or more games is outrageous. Zion Williams already left the bubble to attend to an urgent family matter, not to mention he was reportedly cramping up in practice prior to his departure. We have zero guarantees that he’ll be back to face Utah on July 30. The schedule isn’t all that difficult, with NOP +5.5 against LAC set as the toughest games. But outside of a couple of layups against the Spurs and Wizards, the other five games should be pretty tight spreads. Going 5-3 would be a huge success and still cash the under on this ticket. Even at -215, this is still underpriced — it hasn’t budged since Zion left the bubble, but it will.
Schedule: UTA, LAC, MEM, SAC, WAS, SAS, SAC, ORL
Utah Jazz: UNDER 4.5 (-177)
I have no reservations about locking in the first three unders, but the Utah prop makes me think a bit — only because the Jazz play San Antonio twice and New Orleans once. There’s only so many games that can be lost, but it’s also tough to see Utah going better than 4-4 in this situation. The Jazz will be without Bogdan Bogdanovic for the restart, who was maybe the quietest 20 points per game in the NBA. It’ll be tough to replace that scoring when you look down this roster at where else it could come from. The other cloud looming over the team is the relationship between its two best players. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have said all the right things, but there were some pretty harsh feelings between the two after Mitchell tested positive for coronavirus after Gobert did — and we all remember Gobert failing to take this seriously at all. If any of those issues play out on the court on top of missing a key scorer, the Jazz could have a tough time and be a good team to bet against on the series line in the first round of the playoffs.
Schedule: NOP, OKC, LAL, MEM, SAS, DEN, DAL, SAS
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA/CO only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.