We are in the midst of the NBA preseason. It’s not a particularly exciting time – for fans or for most players. There is one very good reason to be interested in the preseason, though – you can bet on it. Nothing you can bet on can be too bad, can it? There are some good reasons to wager on the NBA preseason, but there are some real problems with it as well. Here’s a look at some of the good and the bad of NBA preseason betting.
Low betting volume – The lower the betting volume, the happier astute bettors are. That’s because lower betting volumes means that lines don’t adjust as quickly as they would in heavily bet games, so problems and opportunities are easier to spot and exploit. The point spreads are also likely to be softer from the start because oddsmakers don’t have the incentive to make them as tight as they can – that takes time that they don’t need to invest here. Lower betting volumes are why non-BCS college football is often more attractive for bettors than the NFL, and it’s why the preseason in the NBA can be more attractive than the regular season.
Time for testing and tweaking – Teams and players use the preseason to get ready for the regular season. They test out new lineups and schemes, and adjust and tweak them so that they are ready by the time the regular season rolls around. Sports bettors can use the preseason for the same purpose. The NBA preseason can be a great time to test out a new handicapping strategy, or to get comfortable with a new money management approach or record keeping system. Maybe you want to use it to try out a new sports book. You might find it easier to try out new things when the games don’t matter and the pressure is less – especially if your bets are smaller than they will be in the regular season.
Far less predictable – Picking winners in the NBA can be tough at the best of times, but it can be especially tough when you are forced to guess about several factors in a game. Before a game starts you rarely have a good sense of who will be playing, how long they play, and what intensity they are going to play with. You can’t be sure if the coach will take the game seriously and try to win, or if he is more interested in using it to get the kinks worked out before the regular season. Just like in the NFL there are some NBA teams that are very serious about the preseason and others that just couldn’t care less. Handicapping is all about assessing matchups to look for mismatches. That’s hard to do when you can’t accurately determine what those matchups are going to be and so you have no idea how they will play out.
Less information available – In the regular season national websites and local papers devote lots of time and effort to covering every aspect of the NBA teams and players in the league. That makes it very easy to keep up with what is going on with teams and players, and to potentially spot opportunities for attractive bets. There are also a wide range of statistics available – both raw numbers and interpretations of them. During the preseason the papers devote less space to coverage, stats are complied as intensely, and fewer people put the time into analyzing the numbers. In short, there just isn’t as much information available in the preseason as there will be in the regular season. Information is power when it comes to handicapping, so it won’t be as easy to handicap effectively in the preseason as it will be in the regular season.
Can strain bankroll before the big time – In order to give yourself the best possible chance to have a winning sports betting season you need to start the regular season with a healthy bankroll in place. If you aren’t particularly serious or careful when it comes to your preseason betting then, for the reasons we have already talked about, you can find yourself losing more than your share of bets and shrinking your bankroll before the season even starts. No one sets out with the goal of making a killing betting the preseason – it’s all about the regular professional basketball season and the playoffs. If you don’t really care about the preseason and it’s harder to bet than the regular season then it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to bet on it and put the bankroll at risk before you need to and when you don’t have an edge when it comes to wagering.