If you read our Guide to NBA Odds, you know that a lot of things need to be considered when you’re preparing a bet on the NBA. You need to think about form, game importance, and home-court advantage. But one of the most important considerations, and one of the most overlooked, is the team lineup.
NBA lineups not only have a massive impact on the potential outcome of a game, but they also affect the movement of the odds. This is true for all sports, but basketball lineups are the most important of all, and you need to check these as close to the tip-off as you can.
After all, a single injury could validate or destroy your bet.
Why Injuries Matter
A successful team is a tightly-knit unit that does not rely on just one player. That’s true for most sports, and few self-respecting coaches would tell their team that it’s all about one player and they should pass to them as much as possible.
But that’s just in theory, because in practice, teams often are reliant on their star players, and nowhere is this truer than the sport of basketball.
The Chicago Bulls team of the 1980s and 1990s was one of the best of a generation, but would it have been just as unstoppable without Michael Jordan?
There are just 5 players on the court at any given time and the absence of a common figure can have a massive impact on the team’s success.
It’s not just about skill, either. The absence of a key player changes a lot. That team has practiced routines and tactics based around that player—if they are absent, those routines and tactics are redundant.
What’s more, if they played an important role in the team, then their absence will be felt mentally as well as physically.
Imagine how confident you would feel if you had the MVP on your team. The best player in the league is always just a pass away—that’s going to do a lot for your confidence. Take that player away, and that confidence dips, doubts creep in, and it can have a massively detrimental effect on the team.
If you bet on a team to win big and it suddenly loses its main point scorer, the outcome will likely be very different. Of course, injuries can also work in your favor. If you bet big on Team A to win and beat the Point Spread and Team B suddenly loses its best defensive player, you’re going to be pretty delighted with the outcome. And the good news is that the bet (and the outcome) should stand, even though it’s now more of a sure-thing!
Wait for the Lineups
To limit the risk of your wager being destroyed by an injury, you should always check NBA team lineups before you place your bet.
Fortunately, these are released fairly early—around midday Eastern Time and late afternoon Central European time. You can find all NBA lineups right here. We get them quickly to ensure you have time to study them and prepare for your bet. Of course, even these NBA lineups are not a guarantee, and anything can happen in the run-up to the game. It’s rare, but players can be injured in the pre-game warm-up, in which case there will be a last-minute change to the lineups. There’s nothing you can do about this, though. It’s just one of the many luck-based outcomes that you need to hope falls in your favor.
Will My Bet be Invalidated by an Injury?
If you bet on Team A to score Over 80 Points and it loses its top point scorer, you could be forgiven for thinking that your bet should be invalidated, and your stake returned.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works, and the bet will go ahead. This is true whether you are betting on the Over or the Under. It’s also true if you’re betting on Team B to win and Team A loses a couple of its star players.
There are exceptions, though.
Firstly, if you bet on a player to score a certain amount of points or achieve certain accolades, and they are injured, the bet should be invalidated. This only applies if the player is injured before the game begins and not if they are injured during it.
Secondly, there might be exceptions if multiple players are injured and it causes the game to be postponed/canceled or has an otherwise significant impact on the outcome.
In both cases, it comes down to the bookmaker’s Terms and Conditions.
If you’re not sure, check those Ts & Cs or ask the support staff.
If you still have a few questions about NBA team lineups and basketball lineups in general, take a look at the following FAQs:
Will the Odds Change if a Lineup Changes?
The odds will likely change following any last-minute changes to the lineup. Any teams that lose their star players will likely see their Moneyline and Point Spread odds drop, with the odds shifting slightly in favor of their opponents.
These changes will occur on pre-game and in-play markets.
Will my Odds Change?
Let’s say that you bet on Team A to score at least 80 points during the game and get odds of -150. Prior to the tip-off, Team A loses its leading point scorer and the odds for that outcome drop significantly to +150. Unfortunately, your odds won’t suddenly shift and while new players can benefit from higher odds, you’re stuck with the lower ones that you already secured. It works both ways as well. Your odds won’t drop just because the market has changed. If you make a wager and it is confirmed, then you’ll keep those odds until the game is over and the bet is settled.
Is it Only Injuries That Impacts NBA Lineups?
NBA lineups can remain unchanged from one game to the next, but they can also change several times a week. They change because players need to rest or have minor issues that the coach wants to monitor. The team may also want to try new players and test them against weakened opposition. Alternatively, they may feel that certain players would perform better against certain opponents.
That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on those NBA team lineups!