On Monday, Matt Moore of The Action Network reported that the NBA is considering moving up the deadline for teams to announce their starting lineups prior to games. The current rules state that each team must provide starting lineups to the league, scorer’s table, opposing teams, and media 10 minutes before scheduled tip-off.
However, that has made life difficult on NBA bettors and daily fantasy sports players alike. With more and more teams using “load management” to keep their players as physically fresh as possible throughout the long season, the proliferation of late scratches or random benchings has wreaked havoc on betting markets. Bettors are essentially wagering at a disadvantage without knowing whether a certain player will be playing on a given night. Star players influence the outcomes of NBA games more than any other sport, and bettors and DFS players have cried foul in recent years.
The NBA is reportedly considering the idea of moving the starting lineup announcement deadline back between 30 and 60 minutes prior to tip-off. That change would theoretically help DFS players quite a bit, while also providing a much more transparent betting market. The current 10-minute rule doesn’t leave much wiggle room.
Any potential resistance to the move would likely come from coaches, who seem to think that keeping starting lineups under wraps provides some sort of competitive advantage. San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich and Golden State’s Steve Kerr have been notoriously secretive when it comes to announcing starters too far before a game begins.
Not all coaches are this way, however. Moore reports that some coaches would likely welcome the move as it would eliminate some of the stress involved with unnecessary gamesmanship over the course of the long regular season. Teams generally have a good idea regarding which opposing players are healthy enough to play anyway.
The rule change would also give bettors more time to make or adjust bets prior to tip-off. One player’s availability can go a long way toward affecting the odds one way or another and forcing teams to reveal their lineups sooner would allow for bettors to make more confident wagers.
Injury availability has been a hot topic in the NBA over the last couple of seasons. Two years ago, the league installed a new “rest” policy for teams that wanted to rest certain players during the season. Changes to the draft lottery odds were also made in order to try and curtail tanking (losing games on purpose). It’s no secret that some teams have held star players out of games for “rest” purposes with an eye on improving their draft position in the season’s latter stages.
The league has drawn the ire of fans on occasion because of certain players being held out of games in order to rest. NBA ticket prices are not cheap, so it’s understandable that some fans may feel a bit cheated when they buy a ticket only to see LeBron James or other star players sitting out.
Moore added that these discussions are still in the early stages, and that no decision has been made on the matter as of yet.
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