Sure, football just started, but basketball is right around the corner. While the NBA preseason isn’t a huge moneymaker like the NFL preseason, there is money to be made if you know how to do it.
Stay up on the news
This is probably the most important bit of advice for the NBA preseason. It’s not like the NFL, where you generally have a good idea of how many snaps starters will play depending on which week of the preseason it is. Most NBA coaches follow the same kind of philosophy, where their fringe roster guys play more at the beginning and end of the preseason, but with several preseason games that could change.
Reading up on the news from beat writers and team pages on how much the starters will play in a particular game is crucial to winning or losing a play in the NBA's preseason. If a team is coming off a game two nights before where their starters played into the 20s in minutes, the coach might choose to play his guys less, especially if the team is full of veterans.
Key veterans rarely play in the preseason, much like in the NFL. If they do get into a game it’s for only a few minutes, if at all. The preseason, like in the NFL, is to decide on the last few roster spots you have, so don’t expect many guys above the age of 30 to be playing a lot in the preseason.
Fade the first and last few games
Each team plays about six or seven preseason games and maybe an exhibition, but the ones that are the best to bet on usually include the middle games. While there are only a few games overall, the third, fourth and fifth ones are usually the most predictable, meaning you can make some money on winning your NBA Picks.
These are the games for the starters and role players to play close to their usual minutes. You usually don’t see a guy get to 30 minutes, but it’s possible. If that player is a key player, their team might have the advantage. What’s great is there are 30 teams in the league, so betting only three or four of their preseason games still gives you a slate of about 100 games to choose from when making your NBA Picks.
Minutes equal money
Finally, like the above two sections, if you can figure out how many minutes a team is going to play their best players, you have the biggest advantage in preseason betting. While the phrase “minutes equal money,” is more of a fantasy phrase, it can be used for preseason betting in most of the sports.
The NBA is no different. Sometimes a coach will flat out say before a preseason game that he wants his starters to see 25 minutes on the court. However, this isn’t like the NFL where all those minutes or snaps come at the beginning of the game. They could easily see the court in the fourth quarter while only playing about 6 minutes per quarter.
This is crucial knowledge for NBA preseason betting because not all coaches do this, but the young teams with new parts and nothing to lose are usually the ones with their starters in the game in the final six minutes of preseason games.
I expect teams like the Bucks, for instance, to follow this strategy and potentially be a good value this preseason.
As always check our NBA Future Odds page for an update on some of what could be closing lines for the NBA this season and keep an eye out for when the some of our Featured Sportsbooks drop their NBA preseason odds.