NBA records can be deceiving at times — especially to sports bettors, who are really only concerned with how often a team is covering the spread. Just by taking a quick glance at the NBA standings, we see that the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls have two of the best records in the east, while the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic have two of the worst. But, you might be surprised to find out, the Wizards and Magic have better against the spread records than both the Heat and Bulls.
Sports betting can be a tricky proposition, and in order to be successful, a gambler must know and understand which stats to look for. A good NBA team by normal standards may not be a good NBA team by sports betting standards and vice versa. If a bettor would have wagered on the Bulls since the beginning of the season they would have lost money, even though Chicago is currently in the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference with a 22-15 regular season record.
The Bulls are playing fantastic basketball considering that their star point guard, Derrick Rose, has missed the entire season because of an ACL injury. But, for some reason, they are not covering spreads. The team currently has the worst ATS record in the entire NBA. At first glance that stat might seem like an anomaly. However, there are multiple teams in the league with great SU records and poor ATS records or vice versa. So, let’s take a closer look at the stats and try to find an explanation for the Bulls poor ATS record.
Explaining Chicago’s poor ATS record
The Bulls are currently sitting on a 22-15 SU record and a 14-23 ATS record — which make them, along with the Charlotte Bobcats, the worst ATS team in the league. But the real question is why? Are oddsmakers simply overvaluing them even though Derrick Rose is out, or is the team just playing a lot of close games?
On the surface, it seems like Chicago is just not covering spreads when they are the favorite. The team has a horrendous 8-16 ATS record as the favorite and a 5-16 home ATS record. In the games that Chicago has won but not covered, they have been a 6.8-point favorite on average and only won those games by an average of five points.
The Bulls have been a favorite in 64 percent of their games this season but have only covered 33 percent of the time. And when they are the favorite they are usually favored by around 5.75 points but have only out-scored their opponents by an average of 4.16 points in those games.
The real trouble for Chicago is when they are a six-point-or-more favorite. The team has been a six-point-or-more favorite 10 times and has only covered two of those spreads. However, when you look at the SU record, you will see that Chicago actually won six of those games and even out-scored their opponents by an average of 3.6 points per game. Unfortunately for bettors, having Chicago out-score their opponents by 3.6 points just isn’t enough when the points spread is six points or higher.
Another alarming stat for the Bulls is that when they lose, they lose big. The team has lost by an average of 9.2 points per game this season, and, on the rare occasion that they are actually receiving points (about 36 percent of the time), they are only getting 3.9 points in their role as the underdog.
The Chicago Bulls are a solid NBA team, but, unfortunately, are just not covering spreads. When they are the underdog, they are getting beat by a large margin. And, when they are the favorite, they are not winning by enough to cover those large lines (six points or more) that the sportsbooks are making for them.
It seems that the oddsmakers are overvaluing the Bulls quite a bit, as they have seen lines of six points or more 41 percent of the time that they are favored. The oddsmakers may adjust their odds as the season continues. However, if they do not, be wary of giving up six points or more on the Bulls — chances are they won’t cover. Remember to bet wisely and may the spread be with you.
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Read more articles by George Monroy