NBA Teams - Hot or Not ATS
by Trevor Whenham - 11/09/2006
The NBA season is only a week old, but already some teams are proving themselves to be far more valuable to bettors than others. Whether it is because a team has started out very well, or whether they can't get their act together yet, their consistency is appreciated, and it's profitable. Most teams have played four or five games so far. While that's too early to establish a long-term trend, or to tell us which teams are going to be good and which are in trouble, it is more than enough to see how teams are starting, and to try to take advantage of that early direction. Here's a look at seven teams who have rewarded bettors so far in the season:
New Orleans/ Oklahoma City - It's hard to know what to call this team with two hometowns, but the Hornets have taken their young talent and jumped out to a big start. They're 4-0. More importantly they are 3-1 against the spread, and they have gone under the total all four games. They are allowing the fourth fewest points in the league thanks to a new and much needed focus on defense. The addition of some talent to complement the fantastic sophomore guard Chris Paul and developing forward David West, like Tyson Chandler and Peja Stojakovic, means that this team is not the pushover they have been for a while now. They will obviously slow down and fall back to earth at some point, but for now they have improved faster than public perceptions of them have, and that means betting profit.
San Antonio - The Spurs are solid and successful. Yawn. There isn't a team in the league that bores me more, but they seem to be rolling so far. They are 3-1-1 ATS and they have gone over in four of their five games, and they should continue to benefit from a reasonably soft schedule over the course of the next several games to continue posting solid returns. It won't be exciting to watch, but the money you make from them spends the same as any other money.
Atlanta - The Hawks have been so bad for so long that it seems counterintuitive to actually consider betting on them. Yet somehow they have managed to string together three wins in a row, and they have covered all three times, including once, remarkably, as favorites (they were favored just 15 times last year, and they failed to cover 10 of those times). Cleveland was the most recent victory, and it was the result of a decisive overtime period. It's inevitable that the Hawks have to get better at some point, and that might make them worth a continued look. Despite being so bad last year they managed to cover 40 times, so even a bit of improvement could make them a very solid bet.
Los Angeles Lakers - The Lakers are still a bit of a circus thanks to Kobe and Phil Jackson, but they have been very profitable so far. Despite facing reasonably high totals in their first four games, the Lakers went over all four times. They went under the total for the first time in their fifth game against Minnesota, and again against Portland, but they still remain solidly profitable at 4-2. The results have come because of an offense that is better than expected, with help from a surprisingly good start from 19-year-old center Andrew Bynum, and a defense that hasn't intimidated opponents yet. Their performance in the O/U should continue to warrant a look for a while.
Milwaukee - The Bucks are playing just like they should - a fairly mediocre team with some promise. They are 2-3 both straight up and ATS. Where they have been attractive so far, though, is in betting them to go over, which they have done four times. They have that potent combination of an offense that can explode if given a chance and a defense that doesn't stop much, which can lead to continued profitability by betting the over. They are inconsistent enough on offense - 90 points in their losses and 104.5 points in their wins - that the totals won't be bumped up to much for a while yet, so we could be able to continue to take advantage of this situation.
Miami - Maybe their championship rings are too heavy to let them run or jump or something, but the defending champs have looked more like chumps so far. They are just 1-3 ATS, and they have gone under three times in four games. The biggest contributor to their problems is an offense that hasn't managed to gain traction. They have given up an average of 10.5 more points per game than they have scored. With Dwyane Wade heading the roster, you know that the team is going to improve, but until they do there could be opportunities to continue to profit from their struggles.
Dallas - Dallas started their season with fewer games than most teams, but they have looked like they have forgotten to show up to the ones they have played. They have lost all four games they have played, including a 31-point embarrassment at Houston, and they have failed to cover all four times. They were favored in three of the four games. Dallas' problems won't be long-term, but they might not go away quickly, and that means that their opponents could continue to look attractive. The schedule for the Mavs over the course of the next couple of weeks could be easier, which will make it hard for them if they continue to struggle.