The resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season is just a day away. After over four months off, basketball returns to the airwaves with a pair of games on Thursday night. The New Orleans Pelicans will square off against the Utah Jazz in the opener, while the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the LA Clippers in the nightcap.
Every game from here until the scheduled end of the NBA Finals in October will take place at the NBA’s new “campus” at the Disney World resort in Orlando. Whether the league has to return to the bubble to play at least the beginning of the 2020-21 season obviously remains to be seen, but there seems to be at least a chance we see the NBA reconvene in Florida near the end of the year.
For now, though, we have a solid two-and-a-half months of NBA basketball to which to look forward. Since arriving in Florida, players from every team have made it known that they still plan to get their messages out there with regard to social justice. Many players will have social justice messages on the backs of their uniforms when the season resumes, while the courts will have “Black Lives Matter” written near the sidelines.
NBA betting sites are gearing up for the resumption of basketball, too. While you can find game lines just about everywhere, some sites try to separate themselves from the competition by offering unique prop betting options, as well. BetOnline has a trio of new props posted in anticipation of basketball’s (re)opening night on Thursday.
Let’s dive in and try to unearth some value.
Will Donald Trump Tweet About National Anthem Protests?
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There’s an awful lot going on in the United States right now, but the 45th president has never met a culture war he didn’t like. Donald Trump won the 2016 election in upset fashion thanks in large part to his ability to reach a segment of America’s voting bloc that liked what he had to say. His unfiltered style was a refreshing change from the standard political mumbo-jumbo to many Americans.
Since the election, Trump hasn’t stopped tweeting. In fact, he’s probably tweeting more now than he did before he was elected. When the Major League Baseball season kicked off a week ago, the games were preempted by players from every team taking the time to kneel before the playing of the National Anthem. Some players stayed on a knee during the song itself, but the majority of players decided to stand.
Of course, that didn’t stop POTUS from complaining about it on two separate occasions. He tweeted once when some members of the San Francisco Giants knelt during the anthem before a preseason game on July 21st:
Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2020
When some of the New York Yankees did the same a couple of nights later, Trump said in an interview, “It’s great that baseball is back, and other sports are back. I hope everyone’s standing. I hope they’re not going to be kneeling when the flag is raised. I don’t like to see that. That would hurt a lot of people in our country.”
Reports on Wednesday indicate that players from the Jazz and Pelicans are considering engaging in some kind of protest during the anthem ahead of Thursday’s opener. ESPN’s Malika Andrews says the players are considering surrounding the Black Lives Matter signage on the court and taking a knee while the song plays. The teams want to show a unified message surrounding one cause.
Being the president seems like it should be a busy job, but you know this particular POTUS will catch wind of whatever the players decide to do. He sees this as a winning political issue for himself, and betting against Trump issuing tweets in the first place seems like a pointless endeavor. The tweets will come, you can bank on that.
Take advantage of the plus-money odds and wager on the president tweeting his disgust about the NBA’s upcoming anthem protests.
The Bet: Yes (+325)
How Many Times Will LeBron James Say ‘Breonna?’
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LeBron James, the NBA’s most recognizable player, has never been bashful about voicing his own opinion on things that have nothing to do with basketball. Earlier this summer, James joined forces with a number of high-profile athletes to start a group focused on voting rights. LeBron has also been outspoken about Breonna Taylor, the African-American woman that was killed by police in her home in Louisville back in March. The police have not been charged with any crime, which has sparked outrage among many around the country.
NBA players in general have been particularly focused on keeping the Breonna Taylor story in the news. Several players, including James’ Lakers teammate Danny Green, 76ers forward Tobias Harris, and Blazers guard CJ McCollum have chosen to answer any and all questions with a response about Taylor during recent media sessions. Before his own session, Harris said, “We want to make sure that Daniel Cameron will arrest the cops and officers involved with Breonna Taylor’s death. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Media & players: We work hand n hand. We have platforms but help us out! Yes we know your job is to ask us about basketball questions. But if you guys believe in equality for all, let’s ask a few social injustice questions here n there. We’re all in this together
— kuz (@kylekuzma) July 22, 2020
With the Lakers playing on opening night, it’s same to assume that James will be among the players that will face the media after they take on the Clippers. While LeBron will surely get basketball-related questions, don’t be surprised if he instead shifts focus to other issues, notably the Breonna Taylor situation.
If you’re betting on something like this, why not shoot for upside? The profit potential on the over on 1.5 mentions of “Breonna” (+140) for LeBron during his postgame interview sure beats betting the under (-180). I expect James and the rest of the players to continue to send the same message.
The Bet: Over 1.5 (+140)
Will the NBA Finish The 2019-20 Season As Scheduled?
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The NBA has gone above and beyond when it comes to trying to keep players, coaches, and all other personnel inside the bubble as safe as possible. The league has strict protocols in place designed to insulate players from the outside and make sure that there is no spread that puts anybody in harm’s way.
Players are routinely tested, and the league has reported twice in a row that nobody within the bubble has tested positive. Assuming the players and everyone else involved continues to follow the rules, there is no reason to believe the NBA’s experiment is at any real risk of failing.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 29, 2020
The teams that make deep playoff runs will be spending an awful lot of time cooped up in the same place, but those teams want to win a championship. While some players may not take the safety measures as seriously as others, I have plenty of faith in the league being able to pull this off.
The NBA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make this work. The games will begin as scheduled on Thursday, and I really can’t see things falling apart at this point. The league will finish its season and declare a champion at some point in October.