Fast, furious, and capable of making a savvy punter a mint, the NBA Finals Playoffs are upon us! With the Warriors starting the season with a 13-0 lead and the 72nd season set to start in October, there’s a serious money to be made.
So, what is it that makes the NBA a unique proposition in your sporting calendar and how can you be placed to set a punt on it?
A quintessentially American sport; the NBA is all you can eat…and lots of it. Run throughout the year, the National Basketball Association (NBA) is made up of a group of thirty teams from across North America. These are broken into two conferences (East and West) and segmented into three divisions each.
If you’re looking for plenty of games to place a stake on, the NBA has you covered. A typical season sees each team play a punishing eighty-two games; effectively playing every other team in their tournament at least once. This sheer volume and variety makes it perfect for any punter to follow…providing you can keep up.
So, when it comes to putting your money down, there are several key events on the calendar to get your teeth around. For those looking to dip their toes, the media showcase of the NBA All Star Game is a solid start. This February event allows the public to vote on the players in attendance and comes with many unique prospects including the well-known Three Point and Slam Dunk contests.
But the real event is the playoffs. This starts in April and runs as a best-out-of-seven tournament against two conference teams. This year’s playoffs are at the finals stage and see the Cleveland Cavaliers face off against the Golden State Warriors.
What’s At Stake For This Year’s Playoffs?
To say this year’s finals are heated is an understatement. Even with the long running history of the NBA, this is the first time that the same two teams have faced each other three years in a row! The Cavaliers previously clinched the championships when they last met in 2016 and the Warriors took the title in 2015.
But who is looking likely to claim the crown this year?
For the bookies across the board, it looks likely that the Warriors are the team to beat. This year has seen them field the three-point machine Stephen Curry alongside a seemingly unstoppable Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. However, the Cavaliers have also absorbed the world-famous LeBron James who many fans believe was instrumental for helping them end his team’s fifty-two-year title drought the year previous.
However, no matter which way you stack it, the Cavaliers have their work cut out for them. Despite the psychological boost provided by defending their hard-fought title, many argue that their previous victory was handed to them on a plate by the Warriors dropping a 3 – 1 point lead; and the stats are not in their favour. Golden State inarguably have the most cohesive team and have been winning by an average of 16.3 points per game and excelling due to their squad’s chemistry. Although he is just one man, James has recently eclipsed Michael Jordan as the NBA’s top playoff scorer with 5,995 points to Jordan’s 5,987. He has also repeatedly stated in public recently that he wants to own a team once he retires; potentially framing this final as a swansong for the superstar – but will it be one that earns punters any money?
Where Can You Bet And When?
When it comes to placing your punts, there are two top sites to bear in mind-
Paddy Power: As usual, the site is on top form when it comes to providing comprehensive coverage for the forthcoming playoffs. The site offering two core bets for the match result and overall handicap – offering first time punters a straightforward proposal. They also add a little extra for veterans looking to crunch the numbers and place their bet – with a current total of ninety-three custom bets against the team one and team two matches. Regardless of which site you choose to bet with, bookies are in consensus that the Cavaliers start at +7 and an inverse of -7 is applied to the Warriors. If you get better odds elsewhere, snap them up. Another interesting pick is for MVP with Duran and Curry paired in their placing at 17/10 and Lebron coming in just under at 11/5 – which leaves Draymond Green a potentially smart punt at 6/1.
Unfortunately, the site’s offers do not currently match this range of choice. The UK’s lack of interest in the NBA has left the site bereft of deals; with the top opportunity being their ‘Bet £10 get £30 in free bets’ promotion. With such lacklustre fare, it’s not surprising to see punters turning to other avenues to cultivate an edge.
Think of the volume: When it comes to betting on the season, think of the game as a war of attrition. On average during the season, teams will play three times per week. Add to that, half of their matches are played away from home and, that while Basketball is a non-contact, collisions and injuries are almost unavoidable. This makes the sport is notoriously difficult to accurately bet on, with punters having keep track of multiple opponents, players nursing war-wounds and the alchemy of substitution and team chemistry. Start small for your first season and work up as you build your knowledge and confidence in your judgement and knowledge
Home court advantage: If one tip stands true for the sport, it’s that the home team advantage is immense here. From a psychological perspective, NBA courts are designed so that those in the front rows are level with the players and have no obstructions. When the crowd is behind at team, the atmosphere is electric and this happens with such regularity that bookies will always cover this as part of the overall spread. Make sure you track which games are being played where and always worth double-check whether or not this has been pulled in as a consideration for the bet. If not, you’re potentially quids in.