NBA Wagering Trends to Know as All-Star Game Approaches

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants you to watch NBA basketball this week. He really, really loves the NBAApp, but there are folks out there who still like to consume their sports on a big-screen television or at a watering hole with their friends. And in a majority of  US states, including New York, those fans like to gamble.

NBA Las Vegas
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is hoping fans tune into this week’s action ahead of the league’s All-Star Weekend. (Image: Bleacher Report)

We are well past the midpoint of the season, but this is a crucial week for the NBA because casual fans who have been distracted by NFL football and the Australian Open, and the fractured American political landscape, and weird balloon thingees from China now have fewer distractions.

If folks start consuming NBA basketball more heavily this week — and temporarily lose interest in what Victor Wembanyama is doing in France, what Aaron Rodgers is doing in his four days of darkness, and who’s playing in the PGA Genesis Invitational this weekend at Riviera Country Club — then Silver will have your attention heading into All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City.

And yes, there is a gambling tie-in to All-Star Saturday night.

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What About This Week?

The NBA has loaded up the national TV schedule with good games, beginning Tuesday night with Boston at Milwaukee, followed by Golden State at the LA Clippers. Jaylen Brown is out in the opener because of a facial fracture, and Steph Curry will miss the nightcap because of torn leg ligaments. But injuries go with the territory in the NBA. So does load management, but that is a topic for a future diatribe.

Wednesday’s ESPN doubleheader is Cleveland at Philadelphia and New Orleans at the Lakers, with Zion Williamson (reaggravated hamstring injury) out of the nightcap. But LeBron James (ankle soreness) is set to return after missing three straight games.

Thursday’s TNT doubleheader is the Bucks vs. Bulls and Clippers at Suns, after which everybody who’s anybody associated with the NBA will travel to Salt Lake City for All-Star Weekend.

Our goal here is to give you an edge for the games coming up over the next three nights. Sharp gamblers do their homework on trends, who’s running hot and who’s running cold, who folks are sleeping on (raise your hand, Damian Lillard), and who’s playing for ping-pong balls: Houston, San Antonio, Detroit, and Charlotte. Orlando should be on that list, too but the Magic have defeated Philly, Chicago, Denver, and Minnesota in the past two weeks, which is vexing.

So What About Those Trends?

The first thing to know is that the Golden State Warriors are going over 61.8 % of the time, including in seven of their last nine. Monday night against Washington, the over of 233 1/2 hit with 4:34 remaining. The Dubs have also gone over by 48, 33, 32 1/2, 23, and 22 1/2 over the course of the season. Tonight’s number was 230 early this morning and 228 1/2 this afternoon because the Clippers have gone under in six of their last eight home games, but that was before they acquired Bones Hyland, Eric Gordon, and Mason Plumlee at the trade deadline. They haven’t played since Friday and will be fresh. Strangely, the “under” is being played by nearly 80% of gamblers at DraftKings.

The team that leads the NBA in covering against the spread is Oklahoma City at 61.8 %, followed by the Bucks at 58.5 %. The worst cover team in the league is Dallas at 21-35-3, and they’re going to have growing pains assimilating Kyrie Irving into the offense with Luka Dončić, as we saw last night.

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The Bucks have won 10 straight and the Cavs have won seven straight, and the only lengthy streak aside from those is San Antonio dropping 13 straight, but covering three of their last four. Avoid them like the plague.

If you’re a player prop parlay type of guy, you need to know that Lillard has gone for at least 30 points in 15 of his last 19, Jalen Brunson of the Knicks has gone for at least 30 in five of seven games, Nikola Jokic has triple-doubled in 11 of his last 15 games, and Giannis Antetokounmpo has scored at least 35 in eight of nine games.

If we take some of these trends and parlay them, here is what we get for tonight:

  • Antetokounmpo triple-double (+1400) plus Orlando getting 7 at Toronto plus Golden State-Clippers over 228 1/2 plus Portland -10 1/2 (Wizards are on the second night of a road back-to-back). A $10, four-leg parlay would pay $1,940.76. With Lillard’s point total over/under at 35 1/2 and paying -110, the alternate spread seems a better way to go, especially with Portland having picked up defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle in one of the more underrated trade deadline day moves.

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