Sportsbooks React To News Of NBA Return To Play, New Format

Posted By Chris Sheridan on June 3, 2020
NBA format return

So we now know what the resumption of the NBA season is going to look like: 22 teams will be competing in Orlando beginning in late July, and there will be a play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference.

Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Carmelo Anthony of the Portland Trail Blazers are going to be relevant again. Same goes for Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and the New Orleans Pelicans, who are on the outside looking in at the playoff picture but, as previously reported here, have been drawing interest in the legalized US sports gambling community for some time now.

Still to be determined is whether Kevin Durant will be playing for the Brooklyn Nets and whether John Wall will suit up for the Washington Wizards, whose inclusion in the 22-team field was probably the biggest NBA head-scratcher of the week.

Sportsbooks reacting differently to the news

This much is known: the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers remain the prohibitive favorites to win an NBA title that now will be decided in early October.

The latest plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs, according to ESPN.

Betting lines on those three teams have remained static since the season was suspended in early March, although two of the biggest legal US sportsbooks – DraftKings and PointsBet – responded to Wednesday’s news by taking NBA futures lines down.

At 1 p.m. ET Wednesday, FanDuel Sportsbook was the only one taking action, listing the Bucks at +240 (bet $100 to win $240), the Lakers at +270 and the Clippers at +340. An hour later, PointsBet.com had NBA lines back on the board. DraftKings expected to be taking wagers by the end of the day.

“We are being nimble and fluid, but we are not really reacting to rumors,” said Andrew Mannino, PointsBet’s senior sports content analyst. “Until we get clarity from the NBA on exactly what the play-in tournament will look like, all we can do is get prepared to offer prop bets and wagering lines tied to the resumption of play.

“There are lots of moving parts, and we’re waiting for things to be finalized,” Mennino said.

NBA futures odds (as of June 3)

NBA Finals Winner

LA Lakers
Bet now
+240
Bet now
+260
Bet now
+250
Bet now
+250
Milwaukee Bucks
Bet now
+250
Bet now
+240
Bet now
+280
Bet now
+250
LA Clippers
Bet now
+333
Bet now
+320
Bet now
+325
Bet now
+300
Houston
Bet now
+1200
Bet now
+1300
Bet now
+1200
Bet now
+1200
Boston
Bet now
+1700
Bet now
+2000
Bet now
+2000
Bet now
+1600
Toronto
Bet now
+2200
Bet now
+2400
Bet now
+2200
Bet now
+2000
Denver
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+2200
Bet now
+2500
Philadelphia
Bet now
+2800
Bet now
+2700
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+2500
Miami
Bet now
+3000
Bet now
+2700
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+3000
Utah
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
+3300
Bet now
+2500
Bet now
+4000
Dallas
Bet now
+4000
Bet now
+3800
Bet now
+3000
Bet now
+4000
Brooklyn
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+16000
Bet now
+5000
Bet now
+20000
Indiana
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+12500
Bet now
+8000
Oklahoma City
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+10000
Bet now
+10000
New Orleans
Bet now
+12500
Bet now
+12000
Bet now
+20000
Bet now
+12500
Portland
Bet now
+15000
Bet now
+16000
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+30000
Memphis
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+21000
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+15000
Orlando
Bet now
+30000
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+25000
Washington
Bet now
+30000
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+100000
Phoenix
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+100000
Bet now
+100000
Sacramento
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+25000
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
N/A
San Antonio
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+21000
Bet now
+50000
Bet now
+50000

Long-shots seeing some action

FanDuel was listing the Wizards at +25000, the longest odds of any team other than the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic. PointsBet had all four of those teams at +25000.

Next on FanDuel’s longest odds chart were the Memphis Grizzlies, San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers, all at +21000. PointsBet had that threesome at +20000.

Johnny Avello, director of the sportsbook for DraftKings, said the site was interrupting NBA betting for an “evaluation.”

“We weren’t sure how the NBA was going to do it,” Avello said. “Once the lines go back up, I expect to see some pretty good action, and over the past couple of days Portland has been taking a lot of action – and I am not sure why. It would seem that a team like Dallas would make more sense.”

At FanDuel, the NBA odds never came down.

“Our strategy is to try to consistently offer patrons wagering opportunities and unless drastic changes are required, that’s what we will do,” spokesman Kevin Hennessey said. “Today’s reports on the NBA season’s return have not translated into betting interest today, but we expect increased demand once the NBA plans are announced and confirmed.”

That should come on Thursday, folks.

The NBA is coming back, at least most of the NBA. Props on the Knicks winning the 2021 championship are expected as soon as owner James Dolan does something to please his fans … so don’t hold your breath on that one.

As much as the NBA changes from day-to-day and hour-to-hour, some things just stay the same.

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