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Burke: Use the NBA schedule as a starting point

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 6, 2022 11:05 AM
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I talked earlier in the week about the transition from football to basketball and hockey. A lot of bettors will be making that shift now that we’re going from 16 NFL games down to six and then four and then two and then one. There just won’t be as many betting opportunities out there.

Something I’ve always tried to do with the NBA is use the schedule as a means of narrowing my focus. Admittedly, I’m not a big NBA fan and don’t follow it very closely. However, I do look for situational spots to bet on or against and try to take advantage of those opportunities. You’ve probably heard the term “schedule loss”, which describes a game in which the team was in a compromised spot due to rest, travel or emotional factors.

What I like to do every Sunday is take stock of where a team has been, where it is going and how much rest is involved for the upcoming week. This was a better strategy pre-COVID when teams were going out on the town in certain locales and likely more focused on basketball in others. However, I think there are still some good spots to consider.

These situational spots are NOT sole justifications for a spread bet. They are handicapping elements that I do weigh heavily in my assessment of a game, but the line still needs to cooperate and I still look at the stats and recent performances of the teams.

Here are a few that fit the criteria what I’d be looking for:

Cavs at Trail Blazers (Friday) – Teams try to get off to a good start in the first game of a road trip. They want to “set the tone” or “get off on the right foot”. Buzzwords, expressions, clichés we’ve all heard. The last game of a road trip is a typical fade spot. The first game is a buy point for me, especially as Cleveland starts a six-game road trip following a home loss.

Hornets vs. Bucks (Saturday) – The Bucks play the Nets on Friday night. That is a big game in the Eastern Conference on ESPN and one that Milwaukee should be quite excited about. The next night, the Bucks play a rested Hornets team with two days off prior to the game.

Knicks at Celtics (Saturday) – The “Rapid Revenge Theory” is something I’ve thought a lot about. The Knicks and Celtics play tonight and then play again on Saturday night with a change of venue. I like to start with looking at the team that lost the first game and see if I should bet them in the second game. It depends on how the box score looked, and maybe it’s just a bad matchup, but I do think athletes that hate losing want to exact revenge in a back-to-back like that.

Look for those bad travel spots (especially if there are weather delays in getting somewhere), tough rest spots like “4-in-6” or “5-in-7”, where teams may either make a game-time call to sit players or the team just won’t have any legs. Even if you aren’t a big NBA follower, these spots could put you on the right track.

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