The well-worn phrase “no rest for the weary” applies to the world of sports betting, handicapping and bookmaking to its greatest extent during October.
The baseball playoffs cover the full month as do college and pro football. The NHL starts early in the month and the NBA starts next Tuesday.
A form of betting that has grown greatly in recent seasons are wagers on Season Win Totals (SWT). The popularity of these wagers are due to several factors. You effectively have a wager on every regular season game as the result impacts the SWT results.
The wagers also allow you to back teams you believe will have successful seasons but you do not think can win division or conference championships or the NBA title.
Likewise, SWTs allow you to wager against a team by betting that the team will fall short of a certain number of wins.
The prices on SWT wagers are modest, often, as at the Westgate SuperBook, -110 on both the Over and the Under.
As I have discussed over the years, the general public prefers to back favorites and overs on a game-by-game basis. The same holds true for SWTs, preferring to expect teams to achieve more than expected than to fall short.
Professional bettors, when they do get involved in tying up part of their bankrolls for roughly six months, generally prefer backing the under parts of most such props. That approach makes sense, especially for the NBA, for several reasons.
As with most sports, injuries tend to have much more of a negative impact than a positive one on a team’s performance. The NBA is somewhat unique in that it is a not just the highest scoring of the major sports but also relies on the fewest number of players in action at any given time (five). One player will have a greater impact by his presence or absence than in other sports as that one player represents 20 percent of active participants at any time.
As a result of these unique factors playing SWTs Under makes even more sense when considering the increasing tendency of teams to give certain players, especially stars, what are called “maintenance days.” Teams often give these players games off in certain situations during the season such as in one of two games played on back-to-back nights, especially on road trips.
The current range of SWTs for this season goes from a low of 23 (Charlotte) to a high of 57.5 (Milwaukee).
Two teams that come to mind for potential Under plays are the Lakers and Clippers. The former will rely heavily on both LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Each has had injury issues over the past several seasons that have caused them to miss lengthy stretches of games in addition to being rested when healthy.
The Clippers have similar concerns with both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the latter likely to miss the first 10 games of the season.
After spending the next few days contemplating SWT plays be aware that just two weeks later, on November 5, college basketball begins with nearly 150 games on the schedule with a high percentage of those games being on the betting board. No rest for the weary indeed.