Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 12/29/2008
Home cooking plays a major role in the NBA when it comes to wins and losses. Home favorites are winning straight up at a nearly 70-percent clip, because obviously the hookers and the chronic that you get in your own crib are going to beat what you have to score on the road. That, and NBA players are huge egomaniacs who thrive on energy, passion, and fulfilled need for acceptance that they get from the home crowd.
But while the home hardwood is a tremendous advantage, as always, the oddsmaker is the Great Leveler.
Home court means everything in determining the standings in the morning paper but actually means very little when it comes to cashing at the window. Well, that is unless you are playing against the home chalk. The NBA hosts are covering the spread just 45 percent of the time to this point of the year, which means that fading that angle has been consistently profitable. In fact, since the start of the 2007-08 season home teams have earned the cash in just 46 percent of all regular season contests, which, again, would mean that blindly betting on the road underdogs would have earned you some loot.
Now, no one is probably playing every single road dog in the NBA. Maybe you should be. But even if that isn't in your investment strategy on the hardwood, it's important to overcome the "home court bias". Just because a more talented team had the added edge of their own beds and own fans that doesn't make them any more likely to cover the spread. In fact, just the opposite.
Keep that in mind and enjoy Around the NBA in 24 Seconds:
24. Over the last week favorites have won 76 percent of their games yet they have only covered 53 percent of their games. This is up from 47 percent on the season. Hmmm…it seems like the good teams are getting better as the season goes on.
However, if more favorites are covering than that means the books are seeing a reduction in profit margins. Look for them to start inflating the numbers on some of the especially square bets this week and look for more dogs to be barking over the next couple weeks.
23. Nice win on Sunday by the Mavs without Dirk Nowitzki. Not only does that prove yet again how absolutely pathetic the Clippers are, but it also shows that Dallas can rally in the face of some adversity. Hasn't exactly been a strong suit for the organization in recent years.
22. Weekly Syracuse Update: Eric Devendorf is back off suspension just in time for Big East play to start. The Orange are currently ranked 17th in the AP and 14th in the USA Today Poll with a 12-1 record.
21. The Cleveland Cavaliers have continued to rack up ATS wins as they are now 22-7 ATS. Milwaukee no longer has the second best ATS mark in the league as Orlando (20-9-1 ATS) has passed them. The Magic have covered in 10 straight games and are the hottest team in the NBA.
20. Interesting Over/Under trend: In a game where both teams are playing on zero days rest and the total stands at 210 or higher the over has hit 63 percent of the time since 2005. Nice little nugget I picked up online. Once again, it shows that being counterintuitive is always good in the NBA. Most bettors would expect these teams to be worn out from travel and a game the night before. But if the total has origins that high, there is a reason.
19. Mike Smith, Courtney Kirkland, and Bill Kennedy do not like the home teams in the games that they officiate. The home team is a combined 20-51 ATS during a game that any of these gentlemen officiate.
18. We have been waiting for it. It just took a little while longer than we thought. The Knicks are collapsing. The Mike D'Antoni honeymoon is now over after a blowout home loss to the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves D'Antoni was quoted saying, "This is a crisis, without a doubt."
The Knicks can still be a very active dog regardless of the coach's bleak outlook. The best part of all this is that D'Antoni was also quoted, on Dec. 23, as saying that this Knicks team would be in the playoffs for the first time in five years. Interesting.
The problem is that they don't have the bodies, much less the talent. This team looks physically worn out from having just a seven-man rotation playing D'Antoni's up-tempo style.
17. Two weeks ago in our 24 Seconds we talked about how many people were jumping off the Lakers bandwagon after they lost to the Sacramento Kings and were playing a little sluggish. This past week they have beaten the New Orleans Hornets and Boston Celtics in back-to-back nights. Anyone want to jump back on now?
16. Yes! My man Chris Anderson is in the building. You know who I am taking about, they guy on the Nuggets with the hair, and the colorful tattoos. In the last five games the Nuggets have only covered one of them and that was all because of my man Chris. Check out this stat line, 11 points, three rebounds, and six, yes, SIX blocks. That is how you rule the paint.
15. Previous reports stated that Monta Ellis would be back sometime this week. Those reports are not looking to be truthful as Don Nelson was quoted earlier this week saying that Ellis would not be back until late January, and even that could be a little early.
Keeping with the Golden State Warriors, a significant trend to remember when betting on the Warriors is to take them at home versus a team that has won 75 percent of their games. Golden State has gone 17-6 ATS in their last 23 such games.
14. It is hilarious to me that Dikembe Mutombo is still - at age 73 - such a hot commodity around the NBA. It is rumored that the Rockets are still interested in the lumbering center, and Boston was said to be a contender as well.
One team to look for making some moves in the near future is Milwaukee. Both Damon Jones and Ty Lue (to the Lakers) are players that I anticipate won't be playing for the Bucks come Feb. 1. However, don't think that the Bucks are just going to start dumping guys for cash or draft picks. They are still intent on competing.
13. According to online sources, Detroit Pistons love to play under the total when they play against good rebounding teams. The 'under' is 22-5 over the last two years in Pistons games when they play teams that outrebound their opponents by at least three rebounds per game.
12. The hot streak the Denver Nuggets were on has slowly dwindled. The Nuggets have failed to cover five of their last seven games. However, if you have to wager on Nuggets games look for home games versus non-conference teams. They are 15-3 ATS in these games over the last two seasons.
11. Kevin Martin participated in a portion of Thursday's practice for the Sacramento Kings. Martin would be a welcomed sight for the Kings as they have only won two of their last 10 games. However, they have played a bit better than what would be expected without their star player, posting a respectable 10-11 ATS without Martin.
10. The Houston Rockets are 6-1 against the total in games that Tracy McGrady doesn't play. That means more shots for Yao Ming and that means less forced shots and turnovers for the Houston Rockets. Do not, and I repeat do not think that the Rockets offense will stall without McGrady.
9. In non-overtime games the 'under' has hit in just over 63 percent of all games in the last seven days. Totals have been VERY streaky this season. The first several weeks of the season were dead 'under' weeks, and then there was about a three-week stretch where teams were putting up points and the 'over' was the auto play. Now it looks like the pendulum is swinging back the other way and that we're going to go through another 'under' spell. Play your total accordingly.
8 The last month has not provided us with a trend that we can latch on to as there is barely a difference ATS between home teams and away teams. Out of the 218 total games the home team is 105-110-3 ATS.
7. New Jersey and Milwaukee are the only two teams in the NBA that have both winning ATS records and have a winning record against the total. The Nets are 16-14 both ATS and against the total and the Bucks are 20-10 ATS and just 16-15 against the total. The Bucks don't look like they will have a winning record against the total much longer as five of their last six have gone 'under'.
6. Teams that rebound the ball well seem to cover the spread at home. Offensive rebounds and putbacks seem to infuse a team with a little added energy and the fans love it. Portland, Cleveland, and Boston are all at least +4 in rebounding margin and they all have excellent ATS records at home: Portland is 8-5 ATS, Boston is 11-7 ATS, and Cleveland is 12-3. That's a very profitable 31-16 ATS mark.
5. Zach Zarba is now 15-5 against the total with an average of 201 points per game scored during the games he officiates.
4. There are only three teams in the entire Western Conference that are covering the spread in at least 50 percent of their games. Denver, Utah, and Oklahoma City are all covering the lines in at least 55 percent of their games. Phoenix and Minnesota are the worst at 39.3 percent and 37.9 percent.
3. Andre Blatche has played at least 35 minutes in the last two games for the Washington Wizards and the Wiz have covered both of those games. Blatche can be a tough matchup for other teams as he is a big that can take opposing centers off the dribble. Keep an eye on the Wizards when they play against a team with a slow-footed big man.
2. The 'under' is 20-7 in home LA Clippers games versus teams with winning records over the last two seasons. So far this season the under is 7-4 (should be 8-3 as one game was under before overtime) in Clippers home games versus winning teams.
1. Have a Happy New Year and check back next week for more Around the NBA in 24 Seconds.