Believe it or not, the NBA preseason is just about a month away, and while the betting world is waist deep in regular season NFL games, now is the time to start studying for the NBA season, which tips off in less than two months. While it isn’t as popular as NFL preseason betting, NBA preseason games can be just as, if not more valuable than the NFL preseason.
Not being as popular as the NFL preseason is one of the things that make the NBA preseason valuable. In the NBA, pre-game line movement is much less severe, and sometimes doesn’t even happen at all. Even though there are not totals in Preseason NBA Odds, having the same line from when it opens to when it closes is a small but key advantage that sharp NBA Bettors use in the preseason.
However much like the NFL, the coaches are the biggest keys to all of the action in NBA preseason betting. Looking to the coaches’ comments on minutes for stars and young guys, as well as what their comments about what they liked and didn’t like from previous games will always help you see what kind of game is about to unfold.
New coaches, coaches who had teams with bad seasons last year, or coaches who were bounced early from the playoffs tend to have more to prove in the preseason, which is very similar to football. On top of that, teams with low attendance figures, or small markets normally play a bit harder in the preseason.
There are several key numbers and figures you need to keep in mind, but the main one I have already mentioned, and that’s minutes played, and expected minutes. Keeping track of how much LeBron James plays in the preseason, and how much Coach Spoelstra says he is going to play him are key. That can mean up to six or even eight points in the spread if he doesn’t play a full game, or doesn’t play at all.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is the depth chart. Much like the NFL, you need to know it and what guys will be getting more of a run if the starter is only playing 15-20 minutes. This is why we start studying now, because teams are almost done with their rosters, and all that’s left is finding the end of the bench guys, but you have to know them too, because they will be in the preseason games down the stretch.
Also important is knowing who is coming off of an injury. Guys coming off of major offseason surgery normally don’t play much, if at all in the NBA preseason. Also key to know is the ‘hustle guys.’ These are the players who don’t care if it’s the preseason or not, they are going to play hard, and play to win when in the game. They will be the ones who help or kill your chances of covering a preseason spread.
Finally, don’t overvalue the rookies, especially from this class. I don’t see many of the rookies from this class coming in and dominating the NBA, even in the preseason, but the public every year gets excited about the team with the #1 pick. This year it’s no different, and I think the Cavs will be overvalued in the preseason and regular season. I’d rather bet on a veteran team than a team with a ton of young guys any day, because the team with young guys will be experimenting and the others will be trying to win.