The holidays are over, and so is college football. The NFL still has center stage, but the NBA will start getting more attention over the next month or two. We’re only a couple weeks away from the midpoint of the NBA season for most teams. Who’s streaking and who is slumping right now? Doc’s Sports will be posting an NBA Hot and Cold Report every two weeks this year to help you stay ahead of the game. Please note that statistics in this initial report are from games played between Dec. 27 and Jan. 9.
Top Five “Hot” ATS NBA Teams
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--Houston Rockets (6-2 ATS) This is the second straight report where Houston has been right at the top of this list. Kevin McHale’s team is getting out in transition and putting up some huge point totals. They have scored at least 112 points in six of their last 10 games. James Harden continues to star in his new role as the leader of a team. Jeremy Lin started slowly, but he is playing better of late. Four of the Rockets next five games are on the road, so we’ll see if they can keep their streak going.
--Washington Wizards (5-2 ATS) The Wizards may be 5-28 overall, but the oddsmakers are undervaluing them a bit of late. Even the worst of teams in the NBA can be a good team to wager on when the odds are out of line with reality. John Wall is close to returning, and it will be interesting to see how his return changes this team. Jordan Crawford, Cartier Martin, Trevor Booker, and Nene are all listed as questionable for the team’s next game. Injuries could slow them down over the next few games.
--Sacramento Kings (5-2 ATS) Here’s another team that isn’t very good, but they’ve been good to bettors of late. Sacramento actually covered in five straight games before dropping their last two. The big news surrounding this team of late has been the rumors that they are headed to Seattle. Will the Sacramento Kings be moving to another city or not? It feels like this story will never end.
--Memphis Grizzlies (5-2 ATS) Memphis has been one of the most consistent teams in the league all year. The Grizzlies are 20-12 ATS on the season. They have been on this side of the list multiple times. No team in the league has played fewer games than the Grizzlies, so their schedule is about to get a lot more busy over the next few weeks.
--Utah Jazz (5-2 ATS) The Jazz have been up and down this year. They are always a great team at home, but the most encouraging part of their recent play for fans has to be the fact that they have picked up some nice wins on the road. If this team can play close to .500 on the road, they’ll definitely be a part of the playoffs.
Bottom Five “Cold” ATS NBA Teams
--Philadelphia 76ers (1-7 ATS) Apparently, the Philadelphia 76ers really miss Andre Iguodala. Doug Collins’ team played pretty good basketball last year, but they have been bad of late. The biggest difference is their inability to get stops on the defensive end. Iguodala was the team’s best perimeter defender, and they clearly miss his play on that side of the ball. It wouldn’t hurt if Andrew Bynum would get healthy, either.
--Miami Heat (1-6 ATS) Dominant teams like the Miami Heat often go through periods in the regular season where it appears they are just coasting. Miami has looked like they are coasting for the past couple weeks. The Heat are just 3-4 overall, and they have only covered the number once during those seven games. Miami has been struggling on the boards, and the team’s defense hasn’t been at the same level it was late last year.
--Los Angeles Lakers (2-4 ATS) Is it really a surprise to see the Lakers on this side of the report? The Lakers not only have poor team chemistry, but now they are short-handed. Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol are both out of the lineup, which puts a lot more pressure on Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Bryant continues to put up big numbers this year, but the Lakers are now five games under .500. The Lakers play both Oklahoma City and Miami at home in the next week.
--Chicago Bulls (2-4 ATS) Chicago can’t wait to see Derrick Rose back in uniform. Rose is getting closer, but he is probably still more than a month away from returning. The Bulls are 12-21 ATS this year. Chicago is averaging just 93.4 points per game this year, and the offense often goes through long droughts that can be hard to overcome. The Bulls are holding their own in the standings, but they can’t keep up with the lines oddsmakers are putting on them.
--Minnesota Timberwolves (2-4 ATS) Just as the team was working Ricky Rubio back into the lineup; the Timberwolves lost Kevin Love for at least a couple months due to a fractured hand. This team could be dangerous if they ever get completely healthy, but it hasn’t happened yet this year. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Minnesota in the next week. Minnesota must travel to San Antonio and Dallas and host the Los Angeles Clippers. Can this team hold its own during a tough scheduling period?