It looks like the NBA is actually going to go through with its Orlando bubble plan. All the teams have arrived at the league’s campus on Walt Disney World property and are practicing in preparation for the league to restart the regular season on July 30 and then finish postseason play by the middle of October.
Several betting sites have posted their own odds of various types for the rest of this coronavirus-impacted NBA season. I’ve looked over these United States focused betting outlets and found what I believe to be five of the smartest prop bets to take. Here they are:
Lowest scoring game by any team after restart: under 84.5 points @ -130 with BetOnline
From my perspective, this seems like a sure-fire bet. While NBA scoring is generally on the rise and teams are averaging 111.4 points per game this season, I highly doubt squads will hit that number in the bubble. I have a couple reasons for that opinion.
First, pace of play is going to go down. Teams will not be in as good of shape due to the time off, and the lack of fans in the stands will mean players won’t be quite as energized to sprint down the floor in transition. Second, players will need time to get back their shooting rhythm, and teams will need time to get back their offensive chemistry. It is often easier for good teams to get back into a defensive groove than an offensive one.
Finally, teams were already failing to hit 85 points occasionally even before the season was suspended. There were two instances of a team scoring fewer than 85 points in the last 69 games of the season. If you take this bet, all that needs to happen in the NBA’s restart is for one team to have a super cold shooting night in 88 games.
These are a few games I’ll be watching for a potential sub-85 point performance from at least one team: Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets on July 31, Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks on August 4 and Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic on August 5.
Los Angeles Lakers remaining regular season wins under 5.5 games @ -145 with MyBookie
The Lakers are absolutely a prime title contender in the new format. Any team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading it and a variety of experienced role players is going to challenge for an NBA championship.
However, I don’t see the Lakers lighting the world on fire in their eight-game slate to close the regular season. First off, they are retooling their rotation with the absences of Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo. Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith have joined the squad, but the team will need some time to jell.
I think strength of schedule and motivation will be the biggest reason the Lakers won’t dominate their competition, though. The Lakers’ first seven games of the restart are all against teams with winning percentages of 60 or higher, which gives them arguably the toughest schedule in the league.
Finally, what is the point of a veteran team like the Lakers wiping themselves out in their eight regular season games when they have a 5.5-game lead over the Los Angeles Clippers for the top seed in the Western Conference? With less motivation than most of their opponents, I see the Lakers winning around four of their eight games before the postseason begins.
Brooklyn Nets are not 8th seed in the Eastern Conference @ +180 with 5Dimes
Right now, the Brooklyn Nets are the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, just one-half game ahead of the Orlando Magic. Brooklyn’s roster is decimated by injuries and other personal issues that have several key members of the roster out, including Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan. Most people assume the Magic will pass the Nets for the No. 7 seed, and I see why.
However, I think some people are sleeping on the Nets. They still have a nice core in Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris. Right there, they have a defined No. 1 option who can score and pass, an efficient big man who protects the rim very well and a knockdown shooter who is decent on defense, respectively. They have a cast of other unheralded, but hungry players who are gunning for a spot on next year’s team, which should be a title contender.
The Magic, on paper, are a better team than Brooklyn, but Orlando didn’t really establish a consistent identity this season. The team was more of a slow-paced, defensive-minded squad for the first few months, but it flipped a switch in early February, increasing the pace and excelling more on the offensive end. That approach hurt the team’s defense quite a bit.
If the two teams finish with the same record or the Nets get more wins than the Magic in the restart, they stay in the No. 7 seed. I don’t think that outcome is necessarily probable, but it’s likely enough for you to take these odds.
Dallas Mavericks remaining regular season wins over 4.5 games @ -115 with BetOnline
The Mavs are going to win at least five of their eight games in the bubble format. I feel quite certain of that. Dallas is going to be uniquely motivated in Orlando for playoff seeding reasons.
Currently, the Mavs sit at No. 7 in the Western Conference. If they stay there, they would very likely play the stacked Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. Dallas has a seven-game lead over the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies, so the Mavs won’t move down in the standings. With the fourth through sixth seeds all within 2.5 games, Dallas could certainly move up.
Not only that, the Mavericks have arguably a top-five player in the league in Luka Doncic who can cover for some issues his team has in regaining its on-court chemistry. The roster is talented as a whole, too, boasting a point differential (plus-6.1) that reflects a team that might actually be better than its 40-27 record.
The schedule for the Mavericks in Orlando isn’t particularly easy or hard. Overall, Dallas has a healthy, young roster that should have lots of potential for success in Orlando.
The NBA season will not finish the new format @ +170 with BetOnline
As much as I’d love to believe that the NBA’s new format will go as planned, cases of coronavirus are still going up in the United States, particularly in Orlando. Even though players are not allowed to leave the NBA campus at any time, multiple players have already been caught doing so, and there is a good chance others have gotten away with it.
If just one player contracts the virus from an outside source, there is a very high chance many other players will contract it. Once the games restart, teams will be in close contact, touching and breathing on each other.
It’s easy to picture a scenario where the league (wisely) suspends its restart format, or at least alters it, because of the spread of the virus. As with the Brooklyn Nets scenario above, I don’t see this outcome as a guarantee or anything, but it is certainly likely enough to take these odds.