Betting on the 2019-20 NBA Season Restart – Key Matchups, Betting Trends, and Picks

July 22, 2020

The NBA action goes on Thursday, July 30, with seeding games at Disney World, so check out the key matchups along with all need-to-know betting tips and predictions.

The NBA action returns soon, as the first game in the bubble is set for Thursday, July 30. As a sports bettor and a huge basketball fan, I cannot wait to see the opening clash between the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz.    

Quick Links

However, the rest of the 2019-20 NBA season will be a mess due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some guys have already opted out, while some players could miss the restart including Zion Williamson and Patrick Beverley.

Zion has been getting tested daily – meaning his return to the team would be after 4 days.

No timetable just yet on that return though.

— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) July 22, 2020

The players in the bubble will be tested every day, so keep in mind to track the latest news. I have a strange feeling that the bookies will be changing the odds and lines a lot this summer. Anyway, there are a lot of intriguing matchups with high stakes on the schedule, so I’m bringing you seven must-watch games along with my betting picks and all-important trends and notes.

Clippers vs. Lakers

Betting Pick: Los Angeles Clippers at +105

July 30, 9:00 PM ET

The first day of the NBA bubble season brings the battle for Los Angeles, and I’m pretty sure that basketball fans around the world cannot wait to see LeBron James and Anthony Davis taking on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

However, when it comes to betting, I suggest you skip this game, especially if you want to invest serious money. The hiatus lasted for almost five months, so both Lakers and Clippers will need some time to build up their form and find the right rhythm.

The Clippers have defeated the Lakers in two of their three encounters this regular season, while all three contests produced fewer than 218 points in the total. The Lakers opened as 2-point favorites in this one with a total of 217.5 points.

Interestingly, the Lakers have won only five of their last 20 meetings with the Clippers and are 10-10 ATS in that span. The under is 15-5 in those 20 duels between the city rivals.

The Lakers are holding the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference at the moment. They are 5.5 games ahead of the second-seeded Clippers, so the Lakers should easily clinch the top spot. The Clippers are only 1.5 games ahead of No. 3 seed, and they should have a huge motive in the opener.

That’s the main reason why I’m going with the Clippers here, but as I’ve mentioned, don’t take this game too seriously. Just enjoy some great basketball.

Grizzlies vs. Trail Blazers

Betting Pick: Portland Trail Blazers -2.0 at -110

July 31, 4:00 PM ET

The Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers will meet each other on the last day of July, as both teams desperately need a win. At the moment, the Grizzlies are No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, three and a half games ahead of the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, and Kings.

I would be surprised if we don’t see a play-in series in the west. The Grizzlies will try their best to retain the No. 8 seed, but I don’t see them building a larger lead ahead of the rest of the pack. Hereof, the clash between the Grizzlies and Trail Blazers have a lot on the table for both clubs.

Memphis and Portland met each other only once this season. The Grizzlies beat the Trail Blazers 111-104 as 3.5-point home favorites back in February, while Memphis is 6-4 SU and 6-4-1 ATS in its previous 11 encounters with Portland.

The Trail Blazers are listed as 2-point favorites to beat the Grizzlies, and I think they should satisfy the odds. Portland is a more experienced team than Memphis, so players like Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, and Carmelo Anthony should make a difference.

76ers vs. Pacers

Betting Pick: Indiana Pacers +7.0

August 1, 7:00 PM ET

The first day of August brings a super exciting clash between the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers. Both teams enter the seeding games with an identical 39-26 record and are tied for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia is 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS against Indiana this term. After a narrow 119-116 home victory, the Sixers lost twice in Indianapolis (115-97 and 101-95). The Sixers are only 6-13 ATS in their previous 19 meetings with the Pacers, while eight of the last nine duels between Phila and Indiana went in the under.

The 76ers opened as 5.5-point favorites in this one, but early action on the Pacers dropped the line to four points. The total has been set at 210.5 points.

Phila has dominated its rivals when playing on the home court, but the Sixers have been terrible away from home. They are 10-24 straight up on the road, so playing in the bubble and without any support from the stands could be a problem for Brett Brown’s boys. 

On the other side, the Pacers are 18-15 straight up when playing away from home. Victor Oladipo opted to miss the rest of the season, but he changed his mind and joined the team at Disney’s. The Pacers look fired up to prove their worth, and I think they will at least keep it close against the Sixers.

Both Indiana and Philadelphia are top-10 defensive teams, so their head-to-head duel in the bubble should be a really tight one. I suggest you buy a few points and go with the Pacers to cover.

Grizzlies vs. Pelicans

Betting Pick: New Orleans ATS

August 3, 6:30 PM ET

Many neutral basketball fans would like to see the New Orleans Pelicans in the playoffs simply because they want to watch Zion Williamson as much as possible. And I cannot argue with that. Zion is undoubtedly one of the most exciting players to watch, while the Pelicans look like a serious playoff contender with Williamson and Brandon Ingram on the floor.

The Pels need to improve defensively, for sure. They’ve been surrendering 111.6 points per 100 possessions (19th in the NBA) on 46.5% shooting from the field (also 19th).

Anyway, the Pelicans didn’t have any problems dropping a bunch of baskets on the Grizzlies this season. They easily won both games against Memphis, thrashing off the Grizzlies 139-111 as 7.5-point home favorites and 126-116 as 3-point road dogs.

In a comfortable 28-point victory at home, Zion tortured the Grizzlies for 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting in just 29 minutes on the court. Eight Pelicans players scored in double figures, while New Orleans made 53.7% of its field goals and 44.1% of its 3-pointers.

The Grizzlies won’t count on Justise Winslow, who will miss the remainder of the season due to a hip injury. They will have to lean a lot on Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr., while Jonas Valanciunas will be a key guy in the paint. Still, they should struggle to defend against the Pelicans once again.

Memphis has the 16th-best defensive rating in the league (110.4 points allowed per 100 possessions), and the Grizzlies allow their rivals to shoot 36.3% from downtown (22nd in the NBA).

I want to mention one more thing. While the Grizzlies restart against the Trail Blazers and then meet the San Antonio Spurs, the Pelicans have tough matchups with the Utah Jazz and LA Clippers. If the Pelicans lose to the Jazz or Clippers, they will be under huge pressure to beat the Grizzlies.

Celtics vs. Raptors

Betting Pick: Any team by five or fewer points 

August 7, 9:00 PM ET

The Raptors entered the bubble as No. 2 seed in the east, three games ahead of the third-seeded Boston Celtics. The reigning champs have a clear goal to clinch the second seed and take on the Brooklyn Nets or Orlando Magic in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs instead of meeting the Indiana Pacers or Philadelphia 76ers.

On the other side, the Celtics will try their best to surpass the Raptors, but they also have to think about the fourth-seeded Miami Heat who are 2.5 games behind. Anyway, there will be a lot on the table for the Celtics in this game.

The Celtics are 2-1 SU and ATS against the Raptors this season. Also, Boston is 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six encounters with Toronto. During that six-game span, four contests have been decided by nine or more points.

I expect to see a much closer battle this time. The Raptors have the second-best defensive rating in the NBA, surrendering 105.2 points per 100 possessions, while the Celtics are fourth with 106.8 points allowed per 100 possessions.

Jazz vs. Nuggets

Betting Pick: Any team by five or fewer points & Under on the totals

August 8, 3:30 PM ET

The things will change until August 8, but the clash between the Jazz and Nuggets should remain the crucial one in the race for the Northwest Division title. The third-seeded Nuggets begin the seeding phase at Disney World just 1.5 games ahead of the fourth-seeded Jazz.

Furthermore, the Nuggets are 2.5 games ahead of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. The battle for seeds will be very interesting, while the Thunder are still very much alive in that Northwest Division race.

The Nuggets have defeated the Jazz twice thus far. They outlasted Utah 106-100 as 3-point home dogs and 98-95 as 10-point road dogs. Hereof, I’m looking for another tight game. Both teams are capable of playing tough, aggressive defense, while the Nuggets love to play at a slow pace.

Interestingly, the under is 16-3 in the last 19 meetings between Utah and Denver.

Nets vs. Magic

Betting Pick: Orlando Magic ATS 

August 11, 1:00 PM ET

The Nets are only half a game ahead of the Magic and will have a tall task to preserve their lead. Brooklyn will miss some very important players, while the Magic are without Markelle Fultz (COVID) at the moment, but he should be ready to go against the Nets.

A lot can happen before Brooklyn and Orlando face off against each other, but this should be a high-stake showdown, and I fancy Orlando’s chances to beat Brooklyn. The Magic are 2-0 SU and ATS against the Nets this season and 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in their previous four meetings with Brooklyn.

Admir aka “The Admiral” has been around the sports industry for more than two decades as a professional athlete and sports agent.