How COVID-19 can Impact NBA Betting

How COVID-19 can impact NBA betting
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 20: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks over Aron Baynes #46 of the Boston Celtics during the second half of game three of round one of the Eastern Conference playoffs at the Bradley Center on April 20, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

With the NBA set to return at the end of July, sportsbooks are starting to update NBA futures odds. They will undoubtedly have slates for every game day as well. There will also be weekly NBA odds via SBD. Betting on sports, especially the NBA, is usually a losing proposition. Adding in the impact that COVID-19 will have makes it nearly impossible.

The Impact on NBA Betting from COVID-19

Betting Single Game Lines

COVID-19’s impact on game-by-game NBA betting will be minimal. The line for a game will change if a key player is ruled out prior to tip. Now, a bigger problem may be that the entire team will have to quarantine and the game will be canceled. The assumption should be made that the bet would also be canceled.

There is, however, a little bit of a risk in betting single game lines. If a key player is ruled out after the bet has been placed, and the game is played, the bettor is out of luck and will need said luck to win, more than likely.

Again, betting on the NBA during times of normalcy is difficult, betting on the NBA during a global pandemic is a crapshoot.

Betting on Parlays

There’s an old saying, “Vegas was built on the backs of parlays.” Look, hitting a five or six-team parlay is enormous for the bettor. However, the odds are long on a parlay that large for a reason. They are very difficult to hit. Sportsbooks love when parlays come in because they are going to win that bet and keep the bettor’s money the vast majority of the time.

Parlays are difficult to nail down without a global pandemic going on. They are even more difficult during a global pandemic. A five-team parlay may be looking pretty good after three wins to start the night. Then the fourth game starts up and a player the magnitude of LeBron James or Giannis Antetokounmpo test positive and are ruled out. The odds of cashing that parlay with someone of that magnitude out went from slim to slim-to-none.

It’s for the best to stay away from parlays as the impact of COVID-19 can be too high.

Betting on NBA Futures

Future plays are usually a fun bet to track. These can range from anything from the NBA champions, division winners, win totals, or even season awards. They are bets that are put in typically at the beginning of the year to be paid out at the end of the year.

NBA futures are the bets that can potentially be the most impacted by COVID-19.

As of May 31st, the Los Angeles Lakers are the betting favorites to win the NBA championship via SBD at +200. Those odds mean the bettor would receive $200 for every $100 bet if the Lakers win the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Milwaukee Bucks (+245) and Los Angeles Clippers (+300) aren’t too far behind.

The problem with betting a future line right now is if a star player is diagnosed with COVID-19 in the middle of the playoffs it basically eliminates that player’s team. Betting favorites in a futures bet isn’t always the best decision. But if a bet on the Lakers, Bucks, or Clippers to win the NBA title is placed, and a player the magnitude of James, Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, or Paul George has a positive test, that bet slip can be lit on fire as it’s worthless at that point in time.

To maximize your money, the best bet is to bet a good team with a little bit longer of odds. A team like the Boston Celtics (+1200) or Houston Rockets (+1500). Step two is to hope no players from that team contract COVID-19.

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