The 2017-18 NBA season tips on Tuesday night with a pair of must-watch games. The Cavs (-3) are small favorites at home against the Celtics after trading Kyrie Irving to Boston in the offseason and the defending champion Warriors are 9-point favorites over the retooled Rockets. If you’re going to bet these games, and you probably are, here are a few strategies for Game 1 in the NBA.
A simple contrarian strategy in sports betting is taking underdogs. Teams getting points in the first game of the season have gone 97-82 (54.2%) ATS.
Underdogs that didn’t make the playoffs last year: 60-48 (55.6%) ATS.
1st Game, Opponent Already Played
Game experience is overrated, at least when teams first lace up their shoes. On Wednesday, the Bucks will travel to Boston to face the Celtics. Teams in their first game facing an opponent that has already played that season have gone 35-26 (57.4%) ATS.
If the team is an underdog, and Milwaukee likely will be, 20-11 (64.5%) ATS.
Bad Teams aren’t Bad Bets
Brooklyn was the worst team last season winning an NBA-low 20 games. The Suns weren’t much better out West winning just 24 of 82 games. Casual bettors are likely to fade these teams after bad seasons but in Game 1 that is mistake.
Teams that won less than 25 games the season before: 36-20 (64.3%) ATS
Teams on the other end of the spectrum haven’t done as well as the public would expect. Teams that won 60 or more games the year: 8-11 ATS. Oddsmakers know squares want to bet the good teams and shade the lines accordingly.
Betting Against the Public
Fading the public in the NBA is a very profitable endeavor. The more casual bettors load up on a team in the first game of the season the more money contrarian gamblers make. Teams getting less than 30% of spread bets have gone 24-11 (68.6%) ATS.
At the time of publication, less than 40% of bets are on the Celtics. Bets are evenly split in Warriors-Rockets.
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