Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 01/19/2009
24. The Orlando Magic has continued their stellar play and it looks as if no end is in sight. The Magic are 28-12-1 ATS on the season, including 18-3 ATS in their last 21 games. The Magic covered 10 straight games in December and followed that up with a current six-game ATS winning streak. The Magic look to continue their streak versus some of the NBA's best as the Celtics and Cavs are on the docket in two of their next four games.
23. The Chicago Bulls have all three of their captains back and they are starting to follow their examples on the defensive end. The Bulls defense is led by Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, and Drew Gooden and without those three the Bulls were one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA. With all three back in the lineup the last two Chicago games have fallen under the posted total, including one that went into overtime.
22. The Celtics have taken over the lead in the +/- category. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, and Brian Scalabrine are now +24 and tops in The Show.
21. After losing Big Z the Cavs now have to deal with a serious injury to their starting point guard, Delonte West. With West out of the lineup the Cavs should struggle offensively to get in a flow. LeBron should get more touches on the offensive end - which is never a bad thing - but the offense won't click like it has throughout the season as they now play without two key pieces.
20. Away dogs are now covering the line in over 55 percent of the total games this season. Over the last week the road puppy has hit 64 percent of the time. Staying with the road trend, over the last seven days the road team in general has covered the line in just over 65 percent of the games. Keep pounding those visitors, especially getting points.
19. Weekly Syracuse Orange Update: The No. 8 ranked Orange lost on the road to Georgetown but then bounced back with a solid win over then No. 13 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Up next for the Orange are the Pittsburgh Panthers on Big Monday.
18. The Philadelphia 76ers are starting to play like many of us thought they would prior to the season. The Sixers have won seven straight games including eight straight ATS. All of these wins have come without the services of Elton Brand, which has lead to an increase in scoring and a more up-tempo style of play that fits the 76ers to a T.
17. Jerry Sloan has signed a one-year extension with the Utah Jazz. Not that this has anything to do with gambling but you have to give props to a man that has now been the head coach of a professional team since Dec. 9, 1988, a span of 22 seasons. I think Sloan is one of the best basketball coaches ever and I think the guy remains one of the most underrated minds in the business.
16. The "over" title for officials has switched yet again as Mike Callahan has taken over the lead for a third time this season. His record against the total is now 20-9 with an average score of 198.7 total points.
15. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics are the only teams in the NBA ranked in the top 10 in SU record, ATS record, total offense, total defense, and rebounding margin. The Celtics are ranked 10th in the NBA with a less than impressive 22-20 ATS record.
14. There are only five teams in the NBA with an ATS record that is at least five games over .500, and only seven teams in the NBA with an ATS record that is five or more games under .500. This leaves 18 teams that are within five games of .500 on either side. That just shows that oddsmakers know what they are doing, and that there are a lot of very average teams in the NBA.
13. Since New Year's Eve the Oklahoma City Thunder are 8-2 ATS improving their already solid ATS record to 27-15 on the season. This team stinks, as indicated by their 8-34 record. But they have been an absolute ATS machine, and that shows that they play hard every single night.
12. The high-scoring New York Knicks are 15-24 against the total on the season. That includes a run of nine out of 10 games going 'under' the total. The Knicks live and die by the three-point shot, which in many cases ends in death and a lower total than most are counting on.
This Knicks 'under' trend also follows perfectly with the Oklahoma City point: to make money in the NBA you have to do the exact opposite of what people expect to happen. Everyone thinks OKC is terrible, so they are cleaning up ATS. Everyone thinks the Knicks can score 120 points every night and they are a dead 'under' bet.
11. T-minus 30 days until the NBA trade deadline. There are already a lot of rumors of big names on the move and it seems like the Heat are involved with just about every team in the league.
Some of the major names that could be on the move: Jermaine O'Neal, Vince Carter, Brad Miller, Josh Howard and Lamar Odom. And that's just the rumors from this week. Stay tuned.
10. Be careful when taking the 'over' in a Denver Nuggets game. The Nuggets hit the 'over' in seven straight games earlier in the year, but since Carmelo Anthony went out with a hand injury Denver is just 3-6 versus the total.
9. The Lakers have been double-digit favorites 20 times this season. Out of those 20 games the Lakers have only covered the spread in seven of the games. The Lake Show can put up a ton of points but they lack the defensive capabilities to cover lines that high consistently.
8. How long will the New Jersey Nets stay with Lawrence Frank as their head coach? I have to admit I am a fan, as he always seems to give it 100 percent. But when you take a closer look at the numbers opinions can change. Frank is 13-33 ATS versus teams with a winning percentage of 70 percent or better over the last two seasons.
Now, part of this is the fact that his team has been gutted. But it's really tough for a coach - unless he is an established Name - to hold a team together through rebuilding processes and come out the other side and still have players' respect. Look for Frank to get canned after the season ends, or early next year.
7. The Portland Trailblazers' home success has slowed as of late as the Blazers are just 10-7 ATS on the season. At the beginning of the year it seemed as though a Portland home game was money in the bank, but as always the oddsmakers have caught up.
6. Rudy Fernandez has won the write-in vote for the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. I hope to god he brings in a Spanish Bull and jumps over him while dressed up as a torero.
5. The Charlotte Bobcats take every possession seriously and seem to value the basketball more than any other team in the NBA. Looking at the numbers you would see that over the past five games Charlotte has been holding its opponents to just 93.6 points per game. Yet, they have allowed the opposing teams to shoot over 49 percent from the floor. The Bobcats have been winning despite this because they don't give their opponents that many opportunities due to their efficiency on their own offensive end.
4. Mark Ayote loves him some home cooking. The home team must invite Ayote over for dinner before the games, as they are 20-9 ATS in games that Ayote officiates.
3. The Indiana Pacers are on an 'over' tear as 16 of their last 19 games have gone over the total. Gotta go to the well here. They simply cannot stop anyone and no one can stop them. I think we have another week before the books completely catch up to them and start shackling them with numbers in the 230s every night like they did with the Knicks earlier this year.
2. The Minnesota Timberwolves are starting to play some great basketball under coach Kevin McHale. The Wolves are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games including 4-0 ATS in their last four road games. They are playing smart, determined basketball and they have been the best bet on the board since Christmas.
Since Dec. 23 the T-Wolves are 9-2-1 ATS and they have scored eight straight up wins in their last 11 games. Half of those eight wins came SU as an underdog, giving them tremendous value. However, they were instilled as six-point road favorites against the Clippers on Monday so it looks like the books are throwing down the kibosh on Minny.
1. Check back next week for more Around The NBA In 24 Seconds.