With the coronavirus pandemic impacting the basketball calendar in 2020, sports bettors have had to wait to watch the best players in the business. Thanks to the NBA Bubble, though, the Playoffs will go ahead and basketball bettors will be able to watch and wager on all the action.
Before you look at the biggest basketball events of 2020, you can learn all about the different bet types in basketball on BetCompare, as well as a strategy guide on how to bet on basketball. But, below, we look at exactly what there is to bet on – and when.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been announced all college sports will be postponed until 2021. This includes college basketball, meaning there will be no more NCAA action this year. That means if you want to bet on basketball in the US in 2020, you’ll have to focus on the NBA and wait a few months for any college basketball wagering.
There is even doubt that a regular season or postseason tournament will take place in 2021, meaning bettors could miss out on March Madness action for the second year in a row. But college organizers are doing what they can to ensure some kind of season goes ahead.
Unlike college basketball, the NBA Playoffs will take place this year, thanks to the efforts of those who created the NBA Bubble. This is the isolation zone created by the NBA to protect its players from COVID-19.
From 30 July to 14 August, 22 teams were invited to Walt Disney World in Orlando, to finish off the regular season. They played eight seeding games to complete the regular season and determine the postseason Playoffs.
An addition to the schedule this year is the NBA play-in tournament, which took place on 15-16 August. It involved the no. 8 and no.9 seeds in the Western Conference (which were the Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Grizzlies).
To qualify for the last NFL playoff spot, the no.8 seed would have to win just once, while the no.9 seed had to win both games. The Trail Blazers duly qualified with a 126-122 first-game victory. There was no play-in tournament for the Eastern Conference, because no team finished within four games of the no.8 seed Orlando Magic.
While the NBA Playoffs will provide the main basketball action of the postseason, the 14 teams that didn’t qualify are still involved off the court on 20 August. This is thanks to the NBA Draft Lottery.
This annual event determines the order of next season’s NBA Draft. During the Draft, teams can sign players from colleges, as well as other eligible players. The winner of the NBA Draft Lottery gets first pick in the Draft.
The Lottery decides the Draft’s first four picks – and the team with the worst record has the best chance of getting a higher pick. After the first four picks, the remainder of the first-round Draft order is decided in reverse based on teams’ win-loss records (the worse the record, the higher the pick).
The NBA Draft Lottery can also be bet on, just like the on-court action, so be sure to check out the best odds on BetCompare if you want to wager.
Starting 16 August, the main event on the basketball calendar takes place: the NBA playoffs. With all games played within the NBA bubble, travel should no longer be a factor in your betting, as all teams will be playing under the same circumstances.
The Conference semifinals are scheduled for 31 August to 13 September, while the Conference Finals are slated for 15 September to 28 September. On 30 September, the NBA Finals will begin, with 13 October the last possible date for Game 7 of the Finals.
All Playoff series will be played as a best-of-seven, with the NBA Playoffs throwing up a number of exciting matchups. The first round is divided between the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference.
In the NBA Western Conference first round, no.1 seeds Los Angeles Lakers play the no.8 seeds Portland Trail Blazers (who qualified through the play-in tournament). This takes place from 18 August to 30 August.
Also in the Western Conference, the no.2 seeds Los Angeles Clippers play the no.7 seeds Dallas Mavericks between 17 August and 29 August. No.3 seeds Denver Nuggets, too, face no.6 seeds Utah Jazz between 17 August and 29 August.
Completing the Western Conference, no.4 seeds Houston Rockets face no.5 seeds Oklahoma City Thunder. This series will last from 18 August to 30 August.
The top seeds in the Eastern Conference are the Milwaukee Bucks, who host no.8 seeds Orlando Magic from 18 August to 30 August. The no.2 seeds, Toronto Raptors, host no.7 seeds Brooklyn Nets, starting 17 August and finishing 29 August.
No.3 seeds Boston Celtics play no.6 seeds Philadelphia 76ers, also from 17 August to 29 August. And, completing the playoff line-up, no.4 seeds Indiana Pacers face no.5 seeds Miami Heat from 18 August to 30 August.
The Toronto Raptors won their first ever NBA Championship in 2019, as no.2 seeds in the Eastern Conference. Will we see an upset this year or will one of the top seeds go all the way? For every single NBA playoff match, BetCompare has all the best sign up offers, free bet bonuses and odds.
If everything goes according to plan, and the coronavirus pandemic does not impact the NBA schedule even further, basketball bettors can welcome the new regular season before 2020 is out. As things stand, the 2020 NBA Draft is scheduled for 16 October, with free agency starting on 18 October.
Opening night for the 2020-21 season is slated for 1 December, meaning sports bettors should have a host of basketball action to wager on before the year is out. To check out all the best odds and offers on all the action, always compare before you bet.