NBA Teams Face More Time on the Road
As we gear up for one of the most interesting winters we've had in a while, the changing NBA landscape is going to, well: change even more as the fixtures for the 2021 schedule have been released.
To help cater for playing during a global pandemic, reducing exposure and player fatigue (or at least trying to), we can expect to see NBA teams facing a lot more time on the road. But what does that mean for the future season? And how will that affect all the odds on who might join the list of NBA champions?
2021 will look very different
Sport has changed across the globe since countries initiated their own lockdowns. It came to a standstill in spring 2020 when most matches stopped completely, only for it to resurface safely a few months later. And even when it did, there were still many precautions that had to be in place, and still are today. With the health and safety of players, coaches, and team staff paramount, there are stringent measures in place.
Social distancing, constant testing, and quarantining players and teams' staff is all done diligently. Even these measures can have a detrimental effect on the NBA season. A whole squad in quarantine puts them out of action for the best part of two weeks. Even a star player can't just be quarantined solely, especially if they've been involved in training and games and the whole squad has to be kept isolated for others' safety. It makes us wonder just how many pauses and restarts there are going to be over the next year.
More road time, less isolation time
To be fair to the NBA, they do have a history of looking after their players to ensure they don't suffer from match fatigue and likeliness of injury. Years ago, players would often play four games in five nights – the dreaded part for any player when they know they'll have no recovery time. Thankfully, the NBA got rid of that from the schedule to ensure that players weren't overtaxed both mentally and physically, which saw more exciting matches with fresher players. And now they're doing the same as we navigate the coronavirus age.
With the schedule released recently, the NBA announced that teams are set to play twice in one place, meaning that players will be on the road for longer. With the constant monitoring of players and staff, the schedule is always subject to change as and when. But it means that the NBA teams are going to face some tight schedules that might bring back memories of the back-to-back matches. The league starts on December 22, with the LA Lakers set to play twice at San Antonio. Sure, it means the games might be more regular, but it's the best way for games to actually unfold, keep the season going, and the players as safe as possible. But how's that going to affect the bookies?
Who will you bet on?
It's undoubtedly going to be an exciting time for NBA betting, especially as the season starts right when there's an increase in coronavirus cases in the United States. Expect to see different odds than usual this year, as who knows what players' fate will be. Then there's the fact that the Lakers are playing the Clippers on the first day, in an empty stadium. It's not a particularly festive environment, no chants from fans, and fear still playing a part on people. Will it be a lackluster affair, or will the Lakers show why they're the champions?
It's going to be like this for most matches. That's why it's definitely worth reading up on good betting strategies for the NBA and finding the best places to put down a bet, especially when this season has that "unknown" element looming over it.
Dates to watch out for
It's not all doom and gloom, though. An organization as prestigious as the NBA will have systems and procedures in place to keep its star players as fit and healthy as they can be.
The odds might be slightly different, and players will be on the road for longer, but that just means there are key dates to watch out for. These dates are likely to have substantial betting odds, so it's worth keeping in your calendar: Martin Luther King Day on January 18, the Finals Rematch between the Lakers and Miami on February 20, and the Grammy period from January 21 through to February 1. The Lakers, still favorite to retain the crown, face a seven-game trip in a short period, just like many other teams, so what are their odds of success? That's for you to decide.