How did sportsbooks set NBA point spreads?
The answer to that question now, for the NBA restart from the COVID-19 shutdown, isn’t much different than pre-shutdown.
“We aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here,” Caesars director of trading Jeff Davis said. “It’s Team A vs. Team B. I asked three of the guys what their opinions were, and went from there.”
John Murray, executive director of The SuperBook, had a similar response and a little more detail.
“I don’t know that there were any real difficulties,” Murray said. “We tightened the numbers a little because of the long layoffs.”
Indeed, several games have spreads of 3 or less, including a pick ‘em or two among the 10-13 matchups on the board. However, Davis said that at Caesars, the tighter point spreads were more a function of the matchups than any shutdown-related adjustment.
Both sportsbook operators reported ostensibly zero action so far, with bettors not wanting to tie up money for a month on regular-season games that still aren’t guaranteed to take place.
How did sportsbooks set NBA totals?
There are a few higher totals on the first batch of games to go up, in the July 30-Aug. 1 window. But the bulk of the matchups have totals under 220, just another thing for which COVID-19 can be blamed.
“We dropped the totals given the strange circumstances,” Murray said, before noting that the more pressing issue on totals – and all NBA odds for that matter – will come once games are actually being played. “The real challenge will be staying ahead of bettors on the information of who is playing and who isn’t. But that’s pretty common in the NBA, with all the load management stuff we deal with every season. We just have to be diligent and stay on top of the news as it comes out.”
Who are the biggest/smallest NBA favorites on restart weekend?
The Celtics-Bucks game on July 31 has the largest spread of any tilt on the board thus far, with the SuperBook pegging Milwaukee -5.5 and Caesars opening -5. The SuperBook opened the Clippers -5 against the Pelicans on Aug. 1, while Caesars hasn’t posted that game yet, likely since the Clips open play July 30 against the Lakers.
Speaking of Clippers-Lakers, that’s among the smaller point spreads of reopening week, a pick ‘em at both Caesars and The SuperBook. The first game on the NBA reopening schedule is Jazz-Pelicans, at 6:30 p.m. ET July 30, with Utah laying 1 at Caesars and the Pelicans a 1-point fave at The SuperBook.
What are the highest/lowest NBA totals on restart weekend?
Of the larger totals at The SuperBook, the highest is an Over/Under of 231.5 for the Suns-Wizards meeting July 31. It makes sense when looking back to pre-shutdown days, as Phoenix was allowing 113.9 points per game and Washington rated 29th among 30 teams in yielding 119.7 points.
That matchup is also the highest total at Caesars books, at 228.5.
On the low end, the Aug. 1 76ers-Pacers clash has a total of 210.5 at The SuperBook. That game is not yet posted at Caesars, where the lowest total is the July 31 Magic-Nets contest, at 213.
NBA betting odds for regular-season restart*
|Thu, July 30 - 6:30 p.m.||Pelicans -1||Jazz +1||219.5|
|Thu, July 30 - 9 p.m.||Clippers pick||Lakers pick||218.5|
|Fri, July 31 - 2:30 p.m.||Magic -2||Nets +2||212.5|
|Fri, July 31 - 4 p.m.||Trail Blazers -1||Grizzlies +1||222.5|
|Fri, July 31 - 4 p.m.||Suns -3.5||Wizards +3.5||231.5|
|Fri, July 31 - 6:30 p.m.||Bucks -5.5||Celtics +5.5||217.5|
|Fri, July 31 - 8 p.m.||Kings -3||Spurs +3||216.5|
|Fri, July 31 - 9 p.m.||Rockets -1.5||Mavericks +1.5||225.5|
|Sat, Aug. 1 - 1 p.m.||Nuggets -1||Heat +1||212.5|
|Sat., Aug. 1 - 3:30 p.m.||Jazz -1||Thunder +1||211.5|
|Sat., Aug. 1 - 6 p.m.||Clippers -5||Pelicans +5||226.5|
|Sat., Aug. 1 - 7 p.m.||76ers -4||Pacers +4||210.5|
|Sat., Aug. 1 - 8:30 p.m.||Lakers -3.5||Raptors +3.5||213.5|
Odds courtesy The SuperBook
* All times Eastern/All games neutral site