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NBA Bubble Betting: Trends to Know Before the NBA Returns

Julian Edlow gives his top DraftKings Sportsbook NBA betting trends to know entering the restart of the 2020 season.

2020 NBA Restart - All Access Practice Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Sportsbooks are in uncharted territory when it comes to the restart of the NBA season. There’s never been a market like this, not only for neutral court games, but also for games played in a “bubble” without fans. While there’s no perfect way to compare what these games will be like, breaking down how teams performed away from home seems to be the most useful tactic.

While some NBA players have had great things to do about the Disney resorts, the large majority of them have had something to complain about. It’s going to be a huge lifestyle adjustment for everyone, because it’s essentially a giant road trip. One NBA coach even told The Athletic in a recent report that “it’s like a 112-day road trip.”

I’ve seen the argument that since these teams are now living down in the bubble, we should look to compare these games to home games. Again, all these teams are outside their comfort zone, and that may only enhance when they spend more time in the bubble. I can’t stress enough that it’s crucial to treat both teams as the road team when handicapping.

So with that in mind, here are some of the key stats I’ve dug up on DraftKings Sportsbook that I think should hold value when betting on or betting against a team in Orlando.

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All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

Top 5 bubble teams ATS on road

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (23-8)
  2. Sacramento Kings (21-12)
  3. Boston Celtics (20-10-2)
  4. Dallas Mavericks (20-10-2)
  5. Orlando Magic (20-13-1)

These are the only five bubble teams covering at over 60% away from home, although the Pacers are a close sixth at 59.4%.

Worst 5 bubble teams ATS on road

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (9-23-1)
  2. Miami Heat (13-19-1)
  3. Portland Trail Blazers (14-20)
  4. Denver Nuggets (13-17-2)
  5. Houston Rockets/Brooklyn Nets (14-18)

These were the only five teams to finish below 45%, with the 76ers on their own level of awfulness away from the Wells Fargo Center.

Curious about when major leagues and events will return? Check out our DraftKings Sports Calendar for the latest updates.

Top 5 bubble teams ATS as road favorite

  1. New Orleans Pelicans (7-1)
  2. Dallas Mavericks (12-5-1)
  3. Orlando Magic (7-3)
  4. Indiana Pacers (11-6-1)
  5. Los Angeles Clippers (14-8)

Boston and Memphis were the only other two teams to finish above 60%. The Pelicans and Magic are currently favored on DraftKings Sportsbook in their opening bubble game.

Worst 5 bubble teams ATS as road favorite

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (4-12-1)
  2. Houston Rockets (7-15)
  3. Portland Trail Blazers (4-7)
  4. San Antonio Spurs (3-5)
  5. Denver Nuggets (7-11-1)

These are the five teams covering less than 40% in this situation — along with Washington (1-2). I decided to skip over them since they will be underdogs in all eight games. The Sixers, Blazers and Nuggets are all favored on DraftKings Sportsbook in their first game in the bubble.

Top 5 bubble teams ATS as road underdog

  1. Los Angeles Lakers (8-1)
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder (19-5)
  3. Boston Celtics (10-4)
  4. Houston Rockets (7-3)
  5. Sacramento Kings (17-9)

The Mavericks (8-5-1) are the only other team above 60%. The Celtics are underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook in their first game in the bubble.

Worst 5 bubble teams ATS as road underdog

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (3-7)
  2. Philadelphia 76ers (5-11-1)
  3. Miami Heat (6-10-1)
  4. Milwaukee Bucks (2-3)
  5. Portland Trail Blazers (10-13)

These are the only five teams covering less than 45% in this spot. The Clippers and Heat are underdogs on DraftKings Sportsbook in their bubble debuts.

Neutral Court results from 2019-20 NBA season

For what it’s worth, there were three real neutral court games in the NBA this season (of course, they did have fans in attendance). But they’re worth mentioning, just in case the results can provide any kind of help before bubble play ends.

The Mavericks (-5.5) covered against the Pistons in a 122-111 victory in Mexico City.

The Hornets (+14.5) lost 116-103 against the Bucks, but just barely covered that massive spread in Paris.

The Spurs (-2) pushed in a 121-119 overtime win versus the Suns in Mexico City.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.