NBA | Sep 22, 2022

The Pros and Cons of Betting on the NBA Preseason

By Harry Bazley

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The 2022 NBA Preseason is right around the corner, with the first game kicking off at Saitama Super Arena in Washington on September 30th. The Warriors-Wizards matchup will be joined by the Clippers hosting Israeli team Ra'anana Maccabi to kick off the preseason schedule. 70 total games will be played, which means there'll be a wide range of opportunities to make some extra cash before the real action begins.

You'll find great odds and mismatched games that offer the chance to boost your bankroll ahead of the regular season. But with so many games and far less information to work with, it can be tough to make the right call.

Today, we're going to make life a little easier for you, by breaking down all the pros and cons surrounding preseason bets.


Low Betting Volume

One factor that is especially good for placing preseason sports betting, is the low volume. This is because lower betting volumes ensure that odds aren't aren't adjusted as quickly as they would be for popular games. This means there are more opportunities to exploit poorly measured or adjusted odds, specifically for live betting.

Points spreads in particular are likely to be softer for NBA preseason games, because bookmakers aren't inclined to make them as tight as possible.

For these same reasons, sports bettors often pay more attention to college football and basketball games that avoid high volume betting.

Mismatched Spreads

Prior to the star of an upcoming season, you can make long term wagers on the success of each team. These usually take the form of spread bets.

Due to the lack of information the bookies have about teams in the offseason, there are sometimes disparities between the spreads on different bookmakers. Long-term odds launched before the season begins may differ as predictions are not as closely aligned. This creates opportunities to make no-loss, offsetting bets, that guarantee a payout. This is known as matched betting, and is far less common during the regular season as most bookies carry identical (or at least overlapping) spreads.

Time for Testing

If you're a heavy bettor when the season kicks off, the preseason schedule can be a great time to practice your betting techniques and inform your decisions heading forward.

The 70-game schedule this year should offer lots of time to test and tweak different bets in preparation for the real deal.

You may choose to follow the Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics or anyone for that matter, and closely track their progress to go into the regular season with all the information you could possibly need. Or, you could use the time to nail your wagering techniques. Or even test out a new sportsbook.

The choice is yours, but you know what they say - practice makes perfect.

Boosting your Bankroll

If all goes well in your testing phase, you could head into the hectic few months of betting that is the NBA regular season, with a hefty boost to your bankroll.

Now it should be noted that most of the time, practice bets aren't quite as successful. Of course, we do have just as much information as the bookies (if not less) and they still get their predictions wrong from time to time!

With that being said, if you do plan on using the preseason to practice just like Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving would, make sure you don't dry up your funds for the regular season. As always, practice safe gambling - when the fun stops, stop.


Difficult to Predict

Most NBA games are tough to call anyway, but the preseason can be even tougher.

Before games start, there's far less information available regarding all the basics you need to make a smart bet - even down to who will be playing and who will be on the bench. Preseason matchups are often used to test out new and unproven talent on the team, while giving the stars a rest before the real competition begins.

This lack of clarity about the starting lineups, also makes it difficult to know what intensity a team will play with. Some teams may be lacklustre in their efforts, knowing that it doesn't affect their chances to reach the NBA Finals. More importantly, all players want to protect themselves from injury - there isn't much point in going all-out in a preseason game, if you pull a quad and can't make the court for game 1.

Just like the NFL, some head coaches take preseason games very seriously, while others are just trying to work out the kinks. Handicapping is all about identifying a mismatch for a given game, and that's pretty difficult when you don't know how each team is going to compete.

The bottom line: NBA betting is difficult enough as it is and the preseason is no easier.

Quiet Community

If you're a lone wolf with your wagers then this may not apply to you, but some of us rely on the rest of the betting community to help us make the right calls. And in the preseason, news outlets, twitter and even our friends are pretty much non-existent until Game 1 tips-off.

If you're someone who likes to do plenty of research before placing your bets, then preseason wagers may not be for you. Try waiting until the regular season when it's much easier to keep up with what's going on and you'll be drowning in stats to help you make informed decisions. While the Super Bowl and Game 7 of the finals come with all the information you could possibly need, the preseason is as unpredictable as it gets.

So trust me, if you're not confident in the slightest, try waiting til the end of Week 1, where there'll be more articles and statistics than you could read in a lifetime.

Bankroll Risk

All of this difficulty with predicting games, adds another layer of risk to your wagers.

Whether they were the worst or best team in the league last season, there's no guarantee they are the same team now. Sure, you can keep an eye on offseason info and team trades, but you'll still be going in half-blind for the preseason. Even the greatest NBA team can be unreliable at times, so prepare yourself for taking some losses - you won't get every call right.

On that note, it's vitally important to only bet what you can afford to lose. You want to make sure you give yourself the best chance at a successful season of betting and step one is a healthy bankroll.