The NBA season starts on Tuesday, but the NBA betting season started a long time ago. Once futures odds get released, NBA sharps are looking for opportunities to strike. As the season gets closer, other NBA bettors and fans start to get their action in for the NBA Championship, player props and assorted futures.
The sportsbooks do end up with some exposure from the preseason betting markets, but can also spin those wagers into important information to get ready for the season. It becomes very clear early on that there are players and teams that bettors have high expectations for and the books can adjust accordingly, whether that means the game-to-game power ratings and spreads or the odds for the futures and props.
I checked in with a few different sportsbooks to see where the preseason NBA action came in and what they’ll be sweating as the season goes along.
Chris Andrews – South Point Sportsbook Director
On the NBA Championship: “Our biggest exposure on odds to win the NBA Championship is with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks. I took big bets on the Lakers + 350 and the Hawks at 30/1.”
Exposure on the LA teams is pretty standard across all of the sports with the proximity of Las Vegas to the City of Angels. The Lakers are up there as one of the favorites alongside the Brooklyn Nets.
On conference futures: “To win each conference, we got bet big on Brooklyn to win the East at + 150 before the recent Kyrie Irving developments. In the West, I took big bets on Phoenix at 9/1 and Portland at 30/1.”
The Suns, of course, were the representative from the Western Conference in last season’s NBA Finals, which finished up just about three months ago.
On season win totals: “We took bets larger than $10k on the Lakers Over 51.5, Bulls Over 42.5 and Timberwolves Over 33.5.”
Once again, that Lakers money shows up in the marketplace. We’ll have to see if LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook can manage to stay healthy and meet the lofty goals placed on the Lakers by the betting markets and the oddsmakers.
Rex Beyers – Westgate SuperBook Risk Manager
On futures in general: “A lot of our NBA [handle] on futures markets comes during the season because [Jeff] Sherman (VP of Risk Management) is always on top of it and customers know that.”
This is an interesting statement from Rex and serves as a good reminder to bettors that you can look for opportunities on futures throughout the course of the season and sometimes even get better numbers than what the preseason odds were.
On NBA Championship futures: “We get drowned to the Lakers, as of now. Shocking! We also lose money on the Nuggets and lose a little to the Bucks. ‘As of now’ being the key, since we write so much futures action during the season.”
That LA influence runs deep in the Vegas betting markets, that’s for sure. That being said, nobody behind the counter that I spoke to talked about any exposure on the Clippers, who will be without Kawhi Leonard as he recovers from a torn ACL.
On conference futures: “We get beat up by the Jazz in the West. We win to everybody else, as of now. Celtics would be the worst result in the East.”
The Jazz had the best record in the Western Conference regular season last year, but came up a little short in the playoffs with a hobbled Donovan Mitchell. The Celtics would have to overcome the Nets, Bucks and 76ers in the Eastern Conference, but the price is very attractive.
On player futures: “We lose a new car on Jalen Green Rookie of the Year as of now. Luka has gotten most of the MVP write.”
A new car, you say? Like a nice car? A Geo? A Ferrari?
“The car costs less than you probably make in a year, so it’s not that nice.”
Luka Doncic is the NBA MVP favorite across the board. Jalen Green is also the favorite for Rookie of the Year.
Jeffrey Benson – Circa Sportsbook Operations Manager
On NBA Championship futures: “Our biggest exposure is on the Bucks and Lakers. People also love the Mavs and the Suns.”
The Lakers. Again.
On player futures: “For awards, we have the most exposure on Giannis and James Harden to win MVP.”
A lot of Luka money at the SuperBook and the other favorites taking on money at Circa. Obviously Harden’s usage will increase if the Nets opt not to allow Irving to play, so we could see other books pick up some exposure leading up to tip-off or throughout the season.