The NBA betting season tips off Oct. 17 with two marquee match-ups. An Eastern Conference Atlantic division showdown starts the season in Boston, where the Celtics are expected to be the best team in the East with a season win total of 58.5. Philadelphia is expected to be a prime contender in the East with a season win total projection of 53.5.

Philadelphia at Boston -5 (211.0)

The opening night doubleheader then heads West as the defending champion Golden State Warriors host the Oklahoma City Thunder. Golden State is a prohibitive favorite to win the NBA title again, and the Warriors season win total is 63.5. Oklahoma City’s season win total is 49.5.

Oklahoma City at Golden State -13.0 (221.0)

NBA Betting Strategies – Opening Night

The NBA betting schedule kicks in full on Wednesday, Oct. 17 with 11 games. Many bettors prefer to bet favorites, and on the better teams. Last season’s records and results may influence early season betting, but the underdogs have been a proven profitable play since 2005 when betting Game 1 of the season. Here are some profitable betting strategies for NBA season openers. Data provided by Bet Labs and pushes not included in ATS records and reference.

  • Teams getting points (underdogs) in Game 1 of the season are 105-91 ATS (53.3%).
  • Home underdogs are 37-23 ATS (61.7%)

Home underdogs in Game 1 on Oct. 17 include:

Milwaukee at Charlotte (+2)
Miami at Orlando (+2.5)
Utah at Sacramento (+8)
Denver at LA Clippers (+1)

If you like to bet against bad teams, recognize that last year’s poor performers are actually profitable bets in Game 1 the following season. Again, since 2005:

  • Teams that won fewer than 25 games the previous season are 36-21 ATS (62.1%) in Game 1

Last years losers that won fewer than 25 games includes: Phoenix (21), Memphis (22), Dallas (24), Atlanta (24).

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, last years losers in action:

Memphis (+7) at Indiana
Atlanta (+3.5) at New York
Dallas (pk) at Phoenix – matched against each other. Take your pick.

Matchups and fundamental handicapping is tougher to gauge in the opening games of the NBA betting season as teams make adjustments to new personnel, systems, coaches and style of play. But the contrary nature and positive results of supporting underdogs and even the worst teams from last season is a proven and profitable NBA betting play starting in Game 1.