NBA Handicapping: Back-to-Back-to-Back Betting Trends for Three Games in Three
by Dave Schwab - 1/24/2012
If you go back and look at a traditional 82-game NBA regular season schedule from previous seasons, you will find that occasionally teams would get stuck with playing a game on three consecutive nights. When you take a look at this season’s abbreviated 66-game schedule you will find that every team has to play back-to-back-to-back games at least once this season and a few teams are strapped with two series of three games in three nights this year.
Back-to-Back-to-Back Betting Trends - The Early Results
The Los Angeles Lakers were strapped with three straight games right out of the gate to start the season, and while they lost the first two straight-up, the Lakers rebounded with a 96-71 win over Utah as 5.5-point home favorites in the third game of the set. The next team to play three straight nights was Houston. The Rockets beat San Antonio, 105-85, as three-point home underdogs to open the stretch. After losing on the road to Memphis the next night, they bounced back with a 95-84 victory over Atlanta as one-point home favorites in the third game of the set.
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This early trend continued with the next four teams facing the B2B2B2 challenge all coming away with a victory in the third game both SU and ATS. Denver knocked-off Milwaukee, 91-86, as a 4.5-point home favorite, Sacramento beat New Orleans, 96-80, as a 3.5-point home favorite, Atlanta stunned Chicago, 109-94, as a six-point home underdog, and Oklahoma City thumped San Antonio, 108-96, as a six-point home favorite.
This early 6-0 start both SU and ATS got everyone excited, especially since five of the games were not even close. The reality of the situation is that all 30 teams started this season with fresh legs as a result of the extended layoff, so the normal fatigue of playing three straight games was not nearly the factor that everyone expected. It also helped that all six teams played the final game of the B2B2B set at home.
The first chink in the armor came in Minnesota’s third game in a B2B2B set against Chicago on Jan. 10. The Timberwolves beat the hapless Washington Wizards to start the series, but fell to Toronto the next night, 97-87, as three-point road underdogs. They hung tough against the Bulls in the final game but could not cover as 6.5-point home underdogs in a 111-100 loss.
Back-to-Back-to-Back Betting Trends - The Recent Results
The Bulls were actually in the midst of a three-game stretch of their own against Minnesota, but with the Wizards on deck in the third game they easily improved the trend to 7-1 SU and ATS with a 78-64 victory as 11.5-point home favorites on Jan.11.
Philadelphia was the first team this season to play the third game of its B2B2B stretch on the road, and after winning the first two games at home, the 76ers lost to the New York Knicks, 85-79, as 3.5-point road underdogs.
After Toronto lost the third game of its three-game set both SU and ATS as a 5.5-point home favorite, Charlotte and the LA Clippers raised the season B2B2B trend to 9-3 both SU and ATS with victories as home-favorites in the third game of their B2B2B set. Orlando became the fourth team to lose a Game 3 with an 85-83 overtime loss to San Antonio as a five-point home favorite on Jan.18.
The latest team to face three games in three nights was the New Jersey Nets. They were also the second team in this group to play the last game on the road after playing the first two games at home. The Nets came up just short in a 110-95 loss to Chicago as 13.5-point road dogs.
When you add this all up, the current trend for teams playing B2B2B games now stands at 9-5 both SU and ATS overall. The record is an impressive 9-3 ATS with the third game played at home and 0-2 with the final game on the road. Fatigue is still not a major factor given it is still January, but having to travel on the third day could very well be. Two games is not a trend, but it certainly bears watching down the road.
Another huge factor in these three-game sets is the quality of the team playing. Three of the teams that lost the third game of the set; Minnesota, Toronto and New Jersey, are a combined 16-36 on the year.
Back-to-Back-to-Back Betting Trends - Future Series
The Portland Trail Blazers just won the first game of their B2B2B set this past Monday night with a 101-89 victory over Sacramento as 11-point home favorites. They now face Memphis at home on Tuesday night before taking-on Golden State on the road this Wednesday. This will be a good test for a road team travelling for its third game to try and snap the current 0-2 ATS skid given that the Trail Blazers are 3-6 both SU and ATS on the road this season.
Some future series have Detroit wrapping-up a three game set with a road game against New Jersey on Feb.1 and the Knicks finishing their B2B2B set at home against the Nets on Feb.4. The Nuggets will be the first team to face a second three-game stretch on consecutive nights when they play the Clippers on the road on Feb. 2 , the Lakers at home, and the Trail Blazers on the road on Feb.4.
Miami will draw some interest when it starts a three-game set that keeps it on the road against Atlanta on Feb.12 followed by Milwaukee and Indiana. Utah has a three-game road trip of its own on the exact same dates with B2B2B games against Memphis, New Orleans, and Oklahoma City.
Another series to keep an eye on later in the season has Dallas playing three-straight on the road against Phoenix, Sacramento, and Golden State from March 8-10. San Antonio is on the road for three straight games late in the season with the Warriors on April 16 followed by the Lakers and the Kings.