How COVID-19 Affects NBA Betting Odds

Mar 27, 2020

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As the sports world tires of anything related to the COVID-19 virus, NBA players, coaches, and fans are hopeful for a return to action. When that will be is anyone’s guess. Despite a suspended season, there is still the opportunity to capitalize on NBA betting odds and futures bets.

There has been a ton of speculation as to when the league might resume play as well as how the NBA would finish the season. Some have suggested ending the regular season and beginning the playoffs immediately. Others have proposed an NCAA-style tournament to determine this year’s champion.

Regardless of what one thinks, the action is still out there. Bettors can even wager on when the NBA will return.  You can find betting odds just about anywhere.

Betting Odds: NBA Return
BetOnline is offering betting odds on when the next NBA game will be held. Bettors thinking the league will restart play sooner rather than later can get in at +300 that the next NBA game will be played on June 1st or sooner. A “No” bet on the NBA playing June 1st or earlier checks in at -500.

There has been a lot of talk about a July 1st return. Bettors that think the next NBA game will be played by that date can reap some benefits at +140. A “No” bet, in this case, is offering -180 odds.

Bettors can also bet “Yes” that the next NBA game will be played August 1st or sooner at -160 or “No” at +120. Whether or not the league restarts by August is difficult to determine, but bettors do have some information to work with.

Betting Odds: CBA
When the coronavirus erupted in China, the Chinese Basketball Association stopped play in late January. Initially, the league planned to be back in action by April 15. That is probably not going to happen. The CBA has reported that the plan now is to resume play sometime in May. That translates to a four-month layoff.

The NBA shut down on March 8. Four months would put a restart of NBA play at July 8. Any talks of resuming play will warrant some practice time as well. Will players be able to get back into their teams’ practice facilities before the beginning of July? Or will they begin practicing around July 8?

Bettors would have to also be conscious of a comparison to a sports league in China. Would the NBA really follow the same timeline as a league from another country, especially China?

At this point, the rest of the world is left to determine whether or not to trust the numbers about the virus coming out of China. Still, what the CBA does in response to the virus outbreak can offer some guidance for bettors.

Betting Odds: Finding Value
Bettors can still find NBA futures odds to win the 2019-20 championship. America’s Bookie put out updated odds on March 27 taking the impact of the coronavirus into account. It’s no surprise who the favorites are.

Milwaukee, with an NBA-best 53 wins, and the Los Angeles Lakers who sit atop the Western Conference standings with a 49-14 record, are both listed at +185 to win it all.

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had suffered a minor knee injury, would be completely healed by the time play resumed leaving the Bucks as the favorites to win the Eastern Conference.

An interesting development concerns the Los Angeles Clippers now listed at +250. The Clippers beat the Lakers in two of three games before the season was suspended.

Last year’s NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard is eighth in the league in scoring averaging 26.9 points per game. Leonard’s partner-in-crime Paul George has recovered nicely from an earlier injury and is scoring 21.0 points a game.

A healthy Leonard-George combo would certainly give the Lakers a run for their money in the Western Conference. With the Clippers healed up over the break, they could certainly win an NBA title. Remember, it was the Clips that were favored to win it at the start of the season.

In searching for real value, bettors can start in the West where the only true threat to the imminent all-Los Angeles conference final is Houston. The backcourt of James Harden and Russell Westbrook averages roughly 62 points per game, which gives Houston an advantage at +1750.

Harden leads the league at 34.4 points per game. The big question is whether or not the Rockets affinity for small-ball can overcome teams that are much bigger and more physical.

The best value can be found in the East where both Boston and Philadelphia are real threats to Milwaukee. Boston has a talented enough lineup at +950 to win it all, but the Sixers might be a better prospect at +2800.

Ben Simmons and his back should be healed up and ready to go by the time the NBA season resumes. With Simmons, Joel Embiid, Al Horford, and Tobias Harris in the lineup, Philadelphia presents a challenge for Milwaukee. The Bucks did beat the Sixers in two of three games this season though.

The huge surprise, which is really a stretch, is Brooklyn. The Nets are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference standings. If the postseason started immediately, Brooklyn would have to face defending NBA champion Toronto in the first round. Imagine if the Nets featured Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in their series with the Raptors.

Yes, it’s a longshot, but there is a chance that both Durant and Irving could return to the Nets lineup. Even if only one returns, Brooklyn at +5500 to win it all might be worthy of a small wager.