We’re just over a week away from the annual Christmas Day showcase, which for many sports bettors marks the unofficial tipoff to the NBA season. If you’re looking to build your bankroll with some warm-up wagers before Dec. 25, here are the expert sports betting picks news, notes, tips and trends you should follow when betting the NBA odds this week.
You take the league’s most popular team, factor in the NBA’s most dominant player, and add a record-breaking winning streak. All that equals up for a possible public fade this week. The Los Angeles Lakers have jumped out to a Western Conference best 23-3 SU start to the 2019-20 schedule – their best start in 34 years – winning six straight games heading into Sunday’s action.
However, all the attention this success is bringing to the Lakers is starting to show at the sportsbook. Los Angeles was already a favorite of basketball bettors – regardless of record – and the same can be said for LeBron James. That means books are padding those initial spreads and then reacting quickly to public play, leaving the Lakers with some inflated lines.
Basketball bettors should be cautious of LA’s ATS success. The team is 16-10 against the spread so far and failed to cover the 5.5-point spread in its win over the Miami Heat Friday. They stay on the road for the next three games – Atlanta, Indiana, and Milwaukee – before coming home for two contests: vs Denver and vs Clippers on Xmas Day. If the lines for those games get higher than you’re comfortable laying, don’t be shy about fading the Lakers and the public.
The Indiana Pacers are surging up the standings in the Eastern Conference, having won seven of their last 10 games. Indiana is built on defense, giving up only 105 points per game and limiting foes to only 44% shooting. Offensively, Indiana is a slowed-down playbook running a pace of 100.10 – the 11th slowest in the NBA – and doesn’t rely on the 3-point shot as much as other teams.
That game plan has led to a profitable run for total bettor, who have cashed in on the Under in five of the Pacers’ seven games so far in December. On the season, Indiana sits 11-14-1 Over/Under but has offered very different returns at home where the team is 10-3 Over/Under heading into the weekend.
The Pacers watch their offensive production jump from 108.6 as visitors to 110.1 as hosts and visiting teams, which has been enough to tip the scales for total bettors. Indiana enjoys a three-game home stand starting Sunday – vs. Charlotte, LA Lakers and Sacramento – then a quick trip to Milwaukee before another home matchup with Toronto on the Dec. 23.
Back to the futures
With two months of NBA betting action in the books, the futures odds don’t look all that altered by the early results. As was expected at the start of the season, the two Los Angeles teams are playing well and sit tied atop of the NBA Championship odds at +250 to win the title.
Behind the Clippers and Lakers is Milwaukee at +400 – not a bad price for the top team in the East and the best overall record heading into Sunday’s schedule.
The Philadelphia 76ers would be the biggest mover on the futures board after starting the 2019-20 campaign with a 20-7 mark. The Sixers, who opened 10/1 to win the NBA Finals are sitting +800, ahead of the Rockets 10/1, Celtics 16/1, Nuggets 20/1 and Jazz at 40/1.