- The Liga ACB is Spain’s top pro basketball league and arguably the second best in the world behind the NBA.
- The Liga ACB has returned to play after a pandemic forced hiatus began on March 8.
- The NBA is trying to resume play in Orlando though some players have misgivings.
For the first time since the start of the coronavirus debacle the betting board is actually looking somewhat full. There’s basketball in Taiwan, baseball in Korea, soccer in Europe, PGA golf, NASCAR, UFC, boxing and the most popular betting sport of all at the moment, table tennis. The NFL is keeping their fingers crossed that they’ll be able to start their season on time and the NHL playoffs are more than likely right around the corner. Major League Baseball is a grease fire with acrimonious disagreement between players and team owners. The NBA is tentatively planning a return though some players have started to get ‘cold feet’ for a variety of reasons real and imagined.
There is some more good news for basketball bettors today–two more leagues are getting back in business. Actually, one is already back in business as Spain’s Liga ACB (which you might hear called the Liga Endesa due to the sponsorship of Spain’s largest electric utility) has begun their playoffs after being out of action since the coronavirus hiatus began on March 8. In addition, the NBA’s distaff version the WNBA will contest a 22 game regular season and playoffs beginning in late July at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The WNBA postseason will begin in October.
From a spectator standpoint, the Liga ACB is significantly more compelling. The top professional league in Spain is considered by many to be the second best in the world behind the NBA. They’re already back underway as of 9:30 AM Eastern on Wednesday and have three games on the betting board for the day with three more set for Thursday and Friday. The ACB is doing something along the lines of what the NHL is doing–skipping the rest of the regular season and going straight to the playoffs. The ACB competition is a 12 team, 13 day tournament in Valencia called very cleverly the ‘Fase Final’ (Spanish for ‘final phase’ but you knew that already). Spain was hit hard by the coronavirus but their outbreaks peaked several weeks before the US which has allowed the teams to return to practice as of early May.
So what do you need to know about the Liga ACB? For one thing, Real Madrid is by far the most dominant team in the circuit. They’re defending champions and will be going for the ‘threepeat’ this year. They’ve also won 4 of the last 5 and 5 of the last 7 championships. They’ve reached the finals–win or lose–every season since 2011-2012. Overall, they’ve won 13 times and finished second eight times. That still leaves them two titles behind the all time winningest team, FC Barcelona. Barcelona has won 15 championships and finished second 12 times. If you’re up on your Spanish you can find all sorts of coverage at the ACB’s official website:
The ACB might want to take a lesson from the world table tennis circuit and beef up their English coverage with a likely influx of betting interest. Fortunately, there’s quite a few websites that cover European basketball in English:
I’ll see about tracking down more sources of information and particularly some with a betting focus. Eurobasket.com is by far the most statistically in-depth. They offer a premium ‘database access’ which will set you back about $40 per month but will give you very detailed head to head matchups for every game played. They call them ‘Game Media Guides’ but they could very well call them ‘Game Betting Previews’.
Back in the USA, the WNBA will play a 22 game regular season and playoffs beginning in late July in Bradenton, Florida. Watching WNBA basketball is an acquired taste but there’s a surprising amount of interest in the sport among serious bettors. A lot of details remain to be worked out so we’ll provide more in-depth coverage once their resumption of play gets closer. At least it’s something else on the betting board.