Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM
How to Bet the NBA Reseeding Games
Handicapping the Bubble
NBA games will be here before you know it, and with the eight-game sprint to the finish of the “regular” season, the scheduling angles are always interesting to look at. I'm not talking about the strength of schedule discussions either as those can go on for awhile with some teams.
But the fact that every game but one, for every team, is on a single's day rest, we can at least take a look at how these teams did in that specific scenario. Granted, the season that produced these numbers feels like a lifetime ago, but the rosters haven't really changed and their may be some edges to be had.
This whole bubble ordeal will pull out some interesting numbers that could be potentially used as the best baseline ones for future seasons that resemble past ones (with fans, travel etc) because this is about as perfect of a controlled variable state you'll get for a sports league. It's the same thing for every team across the board (no travel, same accommodations, no fans) and some of the league average numbers this eight-game sprint produces will be interesting to digest.
But with seven of the eight games for everybody being in a spot that's got some decent data from the year, and the lone outlier being a unique scenario too with it always being a back-to-back, there are plenty of talking points for the best and worst of the bunch in those spots this year, and if you're a fan of the defending champs, wagering on your favorite team shouldn't be that hard to do.
(Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS)
NBA SU & ATS Results
One Day of Rest
|2019-20 SU-ATS Records - One Day Off|
The Best of the Best
- Toronto 25-13 (65.8%)
- Oklahoma City 25-16 (61%)
- Indiana 26-17-3 (60.5%)
- Boston 24-16-2 (60%)
- L.A. Clippers 23-16 (59%)
The Toronto Raptors being the best team against the spread (ATS) with one day off will be tested in this bubble, as they are a team that got dealt one of the tougher hands from a strength of schedule perspective.
However, it could present some decent numbers on a team that understands how to be at their best in this situation. Toronto is already lined at +4 for their opener vs the Lakers – although that's not technically a game with a lone day off before, and will be catching points against a few other teams as well. The Raptors were 2nd in straight up (SU) winning percentage in this spot when compared to the rest of the field, as a 30-8 SU record in those contests (79%) trailed only Milwaukee's 35-8 SU mark.
Taking it a step further, Toronto's also got the 4th best 'over' percentage of the remaining teams in games after a single's day rest at 60.5% (23-15 O/U). I'm not sure if playing the Raptors ATS and Raptors games 'over' the number as standing wagers for these six games is the best way to go about it, but I'm sure there are plenty of Raptors fans who will have no problem going that route. There's at least some quality numbers in support of that method if that's the case.
Looking at the rest of the teams on the list above, it is interesting to see five teams total at 59% or better. Boston and Toronto only play each other of the teams listed, so that's six games where each will have the ATS edge historically in these games with one day in-between. The L.A. Clippers will only see Oklahoma City, and vice versa – it's also the last game for both – while Indiana has no crossovers and will always have a case to be made for taking them with their 60.5% success rate ATS.
Other Notes for 1 day off games
If bettors are looking for another team to hone in on and potentially double up their wagers on both side and total in the restart, San Antonio games would be a good place to start. The Spurs tied with New Orleans for the lowest outright winning percentage off a day off at 34.2%, were the worst against the number at 16-24-1 ATS, and finished 3rd in 'over' percentage at 63.4% (26-15 O/U).
Looking at going 'over' the number in Spurs games and backing San Antonio's opponent would historically be the way to go there, and with San Antonio's chances of hanging around for longer than eight games already slim, this could be an angle that pays off quite well.
The Lakers are a team that will get more coverage in the back-to-back spot, but they were the best 'under' team of the bunch during the regular season (56.4%). Even the Houston Rockets, a team most wouldn't typically associate with 'unders' clocked in 4th in that regard at 19-22 O/U (53.7%), as they had put up quite the stat line.
Houston was 28-13 SU with a day off, but 19-22 ATS and 19-22 O/U in those 41 games. So if you are ever looking to fade a team that might not cover a favorite spread that feels a little high, Houston's likely a good candidate.
One Day of Rest
|2019-20 Over-Under Records - One Day Off|
All 22 NBA teams in the Orlando bubble will play one game on zero days rest during their eight-game slate in the reseeding matchups.
NBA ATS Records
Zero Days Off (2019-20)
- L.A. Lakers 7-1
- Oklahoma City 8-2
- Washington 7-2-1
- New Orleans 7-2-1
- Sacramento 7-2-1
- Memphis 7-3
- Milwaukee 7-3
Obviously these are going to be a much smaller sample size and numbers will look a bit better, but with how the schedule works, these are literally games you can mark off right now as potential leans. The Los Angeles Lakers were a perfect 8-0 SU for instance, and their 2nd opponent in as many nights is Houston on August 6th.
The Rockets were that team I mentioned that won SU way more often than they covered ATS in those single day off spots, and here they face one of the best teams in the league in general, in their best role on the season. Interesting to see what number gets posted there for sure.
Seeing a team like Washington make that list is also interesting in the sense that who knows how interested the Wizards are in giving their all considering their long shot odds to hang around, and they do face Indiana on August 3rd in their back-to-back spot. The Pacers were a team who made that earlier list so it's strength on strength historically, but the 'over' may actually be the way to go for that game. Indiana was 26-20 O/U in their specific role, while Washington put up a 6-3 O/U record in their role.
Going through all the rest of the schedules can be fun as well, but how big the number Milwaukee lays in their back-to-back will be interesting. The Bucks have Washington to deal with in this spot, so you already know a first vs worst battle brings a lofty spread. The Bucks 7-3 ATS record is probably worth a at least a bit of shade, and whether or not the Wizards have already packed it in on August 11th has to be considered as well.
But Milwaukee's opponent the day prior just happens to be the Toronto Raptors, and the seeds of that budding rivalry have already been planted. Remember, Milwaukee may have things already wrapped up by then too, so make sure to consider all the context you can when that line rolls out to the board.
Other Notes for Back-to-Backs
Philadelphia wasn't among the best ATS records at 5-3-2, but they were 8-2 SU in those games during the year, and went 7-2-1 O/U in those spots as well. The Sixers get to face Toronto in their second game in as many nights, and I've already noted that the Raptors were one of the better 'over' teams with a day off too.
Toronto and Philly went 0-2-1 O/U in their three regular season meetings, but this unique set-up for their fourth might be the best opportunity to flip the script on those totals yet. Philly's 77% over clip made them the best 'over' bet of the remaining teams in the latter half of a back-to-back, while their Atlantic Division rival Brooklyn was the worst with a 2-7 O/U record in those spots. The Nets play Boston the night after facing Milwaukee when they are up here, so keep that Nets/Celtics 'under' on the tip of your tongue as well.
Finally, this is not meant to look like I'm picking on the Houston Rockets, but at 3-6 SU and ATS in their back-to-back's during the year, they've found themselves in a losing role for their outlier game as well. Those numbers from this season would suggest looking to fade Houston as a general place to start could likely turn out profitable, and they'll have do deal with Indiana in their time on this clock, and we already know market results prefer the Pacers in their 1-day off role as it is.