NBA Picks & Tips for Handicapping the Preseason

David Lawrence

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 8:32 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 8:32 PM UTC

The 2014-15 NBA season is right around the corner and the preseason action starts up this Saturday. Before you dive into the NBA odds and start handicapping the games, we’ve got some points for you on how to find value in the NBA preseason.

It’s Like Betting the NFL Preseason
The first thing to note about betting the NBA exhibition games is that it’s mostly the same as betting the NBA preseason: teams that want to win will win. Some coaches will play their starters longer and put an emphasis on winning these games while other coaches will instruct their players that this is nothing more than a glorified practice. It’s a merely matter of motivation.


Read the Wires
Just as with the NBA preseason where coaches sometimes tip their hand in terms playing time and rotations, the same happens in the NBA. That means you’ll need to be tuned into the news wires to figure out how long the starters will be playing – or if at all. Reading the team reports and even the fantasy news sites for up-to-the-minute player news is critical to preseason betting.


Bet the Road Teams
Although home-court advantage is huge in the NBA, it isn’t as valuable for your NBA picks in the preseason. Taking a look back to last year, the home teams went 54-53. That’s barely better than a 50% chance, which is far different from what happens in the regular season when teams wins about 60% of games.

Maybe it’s the fact that the crowds aren’t as big in the preseason but whatever the case, home teams don’t hold the same edge.


Bet the Teams that Have Made Lots of Changes
Teams with an influx of new faces are more likely to try in the preseason as the head coaches generally like to work out the kinks in these situations. New teams need time to gel and the preseason offers the playing time and the opportunity. A good example of this last year was the Houston Rockets, who went 5-1 in the preseason. This is a good situation to look for as it has proven itself valuable on the NBA odds.


Bet on Teams that Were Bad the Year Before
A lot of veterans – and veteran teams – don’t take the preseason seriously. Teams like the San Antonio Spurs know what they have on their roster and know what they’re capable of. There’s no need for them to be adding wear and tear with minimal gain. They were 3-4 in the preseason last year. However, the teams that do have plenty to gain are the ones that were bad last season. Teams like the Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks are looking for a fresh start and for them, it starts in the preseason. Keep an eye on squads like them as they’ll be more focused. Looking back to last season, the New Orleans Pelicans were 7-1 and the Portland Trail Blazers were 5-2. Keep an eye out for teams looking to rise in the ranks.

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