Anyone that has had a bet on NBA games late in the season knows how unpredictable they can be. Some Punters stop betting on these games completely and wait until the playoffs to resume their basketball betting. What if I told you this time of the season is actually the most profitable. I share some of my tricks of the trade to help you punt smarter.
With just 15 games left for the season, some teams are starting to take the foot off the gas. Teams such as Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and Boston Celtics all have a top seed well and truly locked up, while other teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns are all thinking ahead to next year.
There is a small minority of teams still fighting for a playoff position, and betting on these teams against top-ranked teams can prove a profitable betting proposition. Take the Miami Heat as a perfect example, they were once sitting at 11-30, since then they’ve gone 21-4 through their last 25 games and are only one game back of the Milwaukee Bucks for the eighth seed. During their ‘must win’ stage the Heat have beaten Golden State, Houston, Toronto and the Cleveland Cavaliers twice. Teams such as the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons know they’re not safe and will also have increased motivation to win ball games.
The Chicago Bulls sit with the same record as the Miami Heat, however with locker room troubles and no team chemistry I’d have to see more before I’d put them in this ‘Motivation’ category. Things are more clear-cut in the Western Conference, with the top seven seeds being all but locked up. The eighth seed Denver Nuggets are three games clear of the Portland Trail Blazers who are the only team I could see pressing for a playoff spot.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks sit a game back from Denver, the Timberwolves have improved defensively with the injury of LaVine and it could be a blessing in disguise as the Wolves will be better for it when he gets back next season. I can see them winning some games down the stretch especially at home. The Mavericks are also capable of winning some late games, however, I can’t see them or the Wolves pushing for a playoff spot.
Teams that are up the top of the standings will now start to rest players. The perfect example came on Sunday when the Golden State Warriors played the San Antonio Spurs. The Warriors rested Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green after a demanding schedule. Coach Pop rested Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker while LaMarcus Aldridge was away from the team with injury.
It’s important in these situations to know bench depths and rotations. When making adjustments based on rested players, I would recommend looking at a players PER and real +/- stats and making a judgement on how important that particular player to their team. These stats can be found on basketball reference. It’s vital to keep up to date on injuries and coaches resting players coming into games before placing your bets.
It’s no secret that teams tank. We see it every year, It is sometimes hard to tell if a team is tanking or if they’re flat out no good. Sometimes it doesn’t make a difference. This year is a prime year for teams down the bottom of the standings to tank. The 2017 NBA Draft Class is loaded with talent, with names such as Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum.
With the trade of P.J. Tucker the Phoenix Suns announced to the world that they are in tank mode, it isn’t a bad option for the Suns if they can properly build around budding superstar Devin Booker. Perhaps we expected too much from the Los Angeles Lakers in their first season without Kobe. After 20 games the Lakers were 10-10, however, It’s all been downhill from there as the currently sit with a 20-47. Tanking would be a good idea for the Lakers, if they can get either Fultz or Ball then they are well on their way.
The Brooklyn Nets have no reason to tank, as the Boston Celtics own their 2017 unprotected first round pick, another great move by the Nets front office. However the Nets are that bad that tanking or no tanking, they’ll be awful.
With Joel Embiid out for the season, the Philadelphia 76’ers could theoretically tank, however, I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference either way. Their roster without Embiid is very weak and the Sixers are in the process of breaking the losing culture, it wouldn’t be wise for them to start throwing games.