Alumni games were all the rage as the 2019-20 NBA schedule was released on Monday … and with good reason, what with Kawhi Leonard eventually returning to Toronto, Russell Westbrook and Paul George eventually going back to Oklahoma City, and Kyrie Irving eventually going back to Boston.
But in the sports gambling world, it was the opening betting lines making noise. Of all the domestic sportsbooks in the legalized US sports betting industry, FanDuel Sportsbook was being the most aggressive by posting game lines on the opening night doubleheader (Tuesday, Oct. 22). The Raptors are five-point home favorites against Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, and the Clippers are one-point home ‘dogs against the Lakers.
FanDuel also posted odds on Night 2 (Wednesday, Oct. 23), with Philadelphia a six-point home favorite over Boston, Brooklyn a five-point home favorite over Minnesota, and Portland a one-point home favorite over Denver.
The release of the NBA schedule also gives us a chance to look at updated championship odds and team win totals now that we’ve escaped the free agency frenzy from last month.
Lining up for the Lake Show
Win totals might also see some movement now that the schedule has dropped. Up to this point, FanDuel says it has taken the most action on season win totals for the Nuggets, Lakers, Thunder, Knicks and Nets … with OKC’s line having dropped from 47.5 to 32.5 in the wake of the Russell Westbrook trade.
In Las Vegas, Jeff Sherman of the Westgate Superbook said the Lakers are getting the most action from the public (not a surprise), with the season win total moving from 49.5 to 50.5. But they’re also seeing plenty of OVER action on the Indiana Pacers, whose win total has moved from 46.5 to 47.5. (We called your attention to their enticing championship odds in this column last month).
Also, according to Sherman, the Knicks UNDER (win total has moved from 28.5 to 27.5) and Pelicans OVER (has moved from 38.5 to 39.5) have been drawing heavy action.
“Even though the offshore books posted lines incredibly early, we waited until middle July — which was still earlier than we had done it ever before — because we wanted to see how the dust settled following the Westbrook trade,” Sherman said.
FanDuel has taken more bets (of all sizes) on the Lakers, Sixers, Nets, Warriors and Clippers, but when it comes to handle (the amount of money wagered), the teams bringing the big bucks are the Lakers, Sixers, Jazz, Nets and Warriors … all of whom have championship aspirations. The Jazz are +1300 to win the title at DraftKings Sportsbook and +1200 at FanDuel, which anyone within a 200-mile radius of Salt Lake City will tell you is a great wager following the offseason acquisitions of Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, Emmanuel Mudiay and Ed Davis, among others.
NBA Win Totals 2019-2020
|Team||Opening Win Total (PointsBet)||Current Win Total (DraftKings)||2018-19 Record|
Easier viewing for the East this season
Let’s face it … the Clippers and the Lakers are favorites for a reason, and we are going to be reading, seeing and hearing more about them than anyone outside of Cali can stand.
The NBA realized this in making the schedule, moving up the start times for nationally televised doubleheaders.
This season, 12 of TNT’s 31 doubleheaders and 22 of ESPN’s 36 doubleheaders will tip off at 7:30/10 p.m. ET or 7/9:30 p.m. ET instead of 8/10:30 p.m. ET. The number of doubleheaders at 8 p.m./10:30 p.m. ET on the two networks has been reduced by a combined 42 percent from last season (57 in 2018-19 compared with 33 in 2019-20).
The 8 p.m./10:30 p.m. ET starts for TNT’s Tuesday doubleheaders have been reduced from nine last season to two this season, and there will be no 8 p.m./10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday doubleheaders on ESPN this season, down from 18 last season.
Memo from the East Coast: Thanks, Adam.
Other betting options that stick out
It is still midsummer, so the over/under win totals are rightfully drawing the most attention, along with the championship odds. But when the season gets underway, you are going to see a lot of action on Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year — the latter of which offers some of the most enticing odds because a player need not be on a winning team in order to achieve that award. Note to the wise: Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards (and Gonzaga), who will get more playing time than he knows what to do with on a horrible team, is on the board at +3000 at FD and +5000 at DK.
Zion Williamson is the ROY favorite at both books, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is the MVP favorite at both books. Interesting longshot odds include Donovan Mitchell at +4000 and Kyrie Irving at +5000 at DK; and Mitchell at +8000 at FD.
For what it’s worth, FanDuel has Jimmy Butler and Patrick Beverley both listed at +10000 to win Defensive Player of the Year, and Quinn Cook at +10000 to win Sixth Man of the Year. (Gotta hand it to FanDuel for being aggressive in this area).
But for today and tomorrow, the schedule is just out and folks are planning their season-tickets plans and/or viewing parties around what has just been released.
We’ve got 10 months to find out which team will win it all and which players will take home the individual awards, and there will be injuries, upsets and heartbreaks along the way … along with the usual accompaniment of several Jim Dolan eruptions.
Now is the time to get in the game if you feel strongly enough about something. That’s what a guy did with Serbia, but that story will evolve as September rolls around.