Rising NBA COVID Cases, & What They Could Mean For NBA Odds This Weekend

Rising NBA COVID Cases, & What They Could Mean For NBA Odds This Weekend
Image © Ronnie Chua
✍️ Written by
Sarah Ryan
🗓 Updated
Aug 23rd 2023

As we’ve been covering fairly extensively, most major U.S. sports are getting hit pretty hard in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic again, as the Omicron variant, colder winter weather, and holiday season travel are collectively brewing an all-too-perfect storm for case numbers to spike yet again.

The new variant surge is impacting many sports leagues across the country, but perhaps no league has seen a bigger surge and recent influx in cases than the NBA. Although the league has been taking very diligent safety measures since the start of the pandemic, and has claimed in a new memo that roughly 97% of its players are currently confirmed to be vaccinated, the spread’s impact has still been felt far and wide.

It’s been especially felt by four teams in particular: the Bucks, Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, and LA Lakers. The Lakers canceled practice earlier this week, putting talents like Dwight Howard in COVID protocols, and the Bucks's top point man followed suit, as Giannis Antetokounmpo was unable to take to the court for Milwaukee’s Wednesday matchup.

Brooklyn saw 7 players sidelined for reasons related to health and safety protocols, and the Bulls saw 10 players sidelined for COVID precautions. Multiple talents, including the likes of James Harden and Alize Johnson, are off the roster this weekend, as all four teams are gearing up for what seem to be some especially contentious matchups.

Two of those 4 COVID-addled teams are actually set to face off this Sunday night, as the Lakers look to keep their iffy season record above water against the Bulls at Chicago’s United Center. But what could the exacerbated COVID spread mean for the betting spreads on some of those weekend NBA games?

While the books don’t yet have the odds in for EVERY game impacted by COVID, they do have the odds on two-choice matchups tonight, and some great weekend betting promos for when those Saturday & Sunday odds do come in. Here’s what you should know about both.

LA Lakers Odds Tonight

Even with a somewhat better season record at 16-13, and even with King James expected to return to the court after an abdominal injury, the Lakers are heading into tonight’s faceoff (at 10:10 EST) against the Timberwolves, who currently have a 13-15 season record.

Right now, the LA Lakers are pegged as +3 underdogs on DraftKings’ Sportsbook’s spread, and +110 underdogs on their moneyline. If they want to beat the odds and deliver a public-fading moneyline win, the Lakers will have to overcome Minnesota’s home turf advantage, and the disadvantage of having big roster talents like Dwight Howard sidelined.

Those odds narrowed from earlier 135+ underdog odds though, and these odds are likely to continue to erratically evolve throughout the day, as the unpredictability of the pandemic throws a wrench into the unpredictability here. You can follow their evolution with the help of our favored live sportsbook odds aggregate, Metabet:

Milwaukee Bucks Odds Tonight

Even playing away from their home turf, and even without Giannis’ paint scoring skills gracing the court, the Bucks are still pretty solid betting favorites heading into tonight’s (8:10 P.M. EST) matchup with the New Orleans’ Pelicans.

On DraftKings’ moneyline, Milwaukee’s currently pegged as -130 favorites, a strong lead over the Pelicans’ +110 underdog odds in the leadup to tonight’s faceoff. Perhaps the reason the pandemic might not yet be making such a big odds dent as oddsmakers or bettors would assume is both team’s season records.

While the Bucks have a fairly average 19-11 record so far this season, the Pelicans have seen their championship hopes spiraling downward into a dismal 9-21 tailspin. It’s going to take a miracle for New Orleans to stay afloat this season, otherwise, their 2021-22 playoff odds could be even bigger longshots than your odds of winning the lottery.

If the Pelicans fortunes miraculously change throughout the day though, you can follow them here, courtesy of MetaBet:

DraftKings NBA Promotions This Weekend

Not all the odds on the COVID-addled NBA games this weekend are in quite yet, but once they are, you can take advantage of these two exciting betting promos on DraftKings’ Sportsbook:

  • NBA SGP Bet & Get: Get up to $150 in free betting credit for placing a same-game parlay on any NBA game this week! Open to bettors in all states from now until December, 20th, 2021 (see the books’ terms for more info on opting into this promo).
  • Get A Free Bet Up To $100: If you refer a friend to DK Sportsbook from now until January 4th, 2022, you can both get up to $100 in free bets!
  • Bet $1+, Get $100: If you sign up for DraftKings Sportsbook and place your first $1+ bet on any money, you can win up to $100 in free bets! This offer is valid until the end of day Sunday, December 19th.

What are you waiting for? Get to post-pandemic basketball betting today (without breaking the bank, of course), and consider signing up for our mailing list today to find more great odds and promo deals from more of the industry's best online sportsbooks.

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