Around the NBA in 24 Seconds
by Robert Ferringo and Nolan Sinclair - 01/27/2009
Don't look now but the bottom feeders of the NBA are the ones making the most noise at the bank. If you want to make a buck betting the NBA lately it's been a pretty easy formula: look for the elite teams and lay the points and find the pathetic clubs and take the points. That's it. Cut and dry.
Underdogs are covering games at a 54-percent clip overall this year and teams like Indiana, Charlotte, New York and Oklahoma City are all covering lines at an impressive rate. The Pacers, Bobcats and Knicks are a combined 24 games under .500 straight up yet a combined 20 games over .500 against the spread. Oklahoma City is off the charts at 29-16 ATS while sitting at a putrid 9-36 SU mark.
Of course, none of this takes into account the savage run that Minnesota has been on. The T-Wolves are the hottest thing going on the hardwood. Just before Christmas they were a weak-willed 4-23 doormat plodding their way toward the No. 1 overall pick. But a quick 12-4 SU rush that has seen them cover 12 of 15 games ATS has them going from busters to best bet in the span of a month.
In all sports the public loves them a team that has a great straight-up record and we are all under the assumption that good teams cover spreads. Well, at present they are correct. Five of the six division leaders - Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, Denver, and the Lakers - all have winning ATS records. But the converse is also true in that if a team has a terrible SU record the odds are that they are likely doing OK against the spread. Bet the really good teams. Bet the really bad teams. Sit back and let the oddsmakers do their thing, and turn their own skill against them.
With that said I give you Around the NBA in 24 Seconds:
24. Injuries are starting to take a toll on some teams. Keep an eye on teams that lose their stars, but be sure to do the opposite of what your natural inclination is. If a team loses its best player then play on them and play into inflated/deflated spreads. If a club gets its top player back from injury fade, fade, fade.
When a star is out the line is inflated or deflated to make up for that missing player yet the backups in most cases can come close to matching the normal output. Al Horford, Michael Redd, Yao Ming, Carmelo Anthony, Shawn Marion, Marcus Camby, and Baron Davis are all big names that are currently on the shelf. But their teams have managed to do just fine without them.
23. You would think things are bad enough for the 10-32 SU, 20-22 ATS L.A. Clippers, but think again. News around the Clip joint is that the players have given up and they are starting to fake injuries. Baron Davis is out right now and his teammates are starting to think he is OK to play. Keep an eye on this situation, as you might be able to steal a few games before the bookies catch on and raise their lines.
22. News out of Detroit is that the Pistons are considering trading Allen Iverson before the deadline. If they can pull this off it looks like they will want an expiring contract in return. This would help the Pistons get back to basics - efficient offense and tough half-court defense - and might actually help them SU and ATS.
21. Now that Delonte West is hurt the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the market for a point guard. Daniel Gibson is not getting the job done and an upgrade would help this team get by until West returns. Stephon Marbury anyone?
20. Dwight Howard is an absolute MAN! He dominates night in and night out. He is the leading vote getter for both the Eastern and Western Conference. The only knock against him is the fact that he cannot grow hair on his chin. Good lord. He has a patch of hair on each side of his chin yet none in the middle. With all the money he makes you would think he could afford a clean shave. Someone help a brother out.
19. The Milwaukee Bucks are in the midst of the playoff hunt in the East and they are earning their backers a solid profit, as they are 27-18-2 ATS. However they will be without Michael Redd for the remainder of the season as he tore both his ACL and MCL Saturday night.
18. Wizard fans take note: Gilbert Arenas will not be back this season. That is not a definite, but if I was management that is what I would want. It's time to build for future, and waiting on Arenas this year will slow the development of players like Nick Young. Let Arenas sit out the rest of the year, improve your draft status, and come back strong next season and perform like the team some expected this year.
17. The Boston Celtics are on fire. Not only have they won eight games in a row they have covered seven of eight. The Celtics have gotten back on track by focusing on the defensive end of the floor. The C's have only given up more than 89 points three times in the last 10 games.
16. The Miami Heat are a team that won games by playing good defense and relying on Dwayne Wade to take over a game offensively. Numerous times this year the Heat won games that were in the 80s. The Heat have changed their look lately as they are getting scoring from many players which has lead to their 'over' streak of seven of their last 10 games.
15. The Minnesota Timberwolves have continued to play hot basketball, as they are 12-2-1 ATS in their last 15 games.
14. Don't look now but the New York Knicks are only two games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks should be able to stay close as the bottom teams in the East just aren't that good. Keep an eye on the Knicks, as they have been a live road dog as of late.
13. The Cleveland Cavaliers still have yet to lose a game at home and they sport an incredible 16-4 ATS home record. Even with the injuries piling up, the Cavs still win. And yes, LeBron is that good.
12. At the beginning of the year I wondered if playing in the Olympics would have an effect on the stars that played for the US. The NBA has a stat that measures efficiency and out of the top 10 players in the NBA, seven played for the red, white, and blue.
11. Only 10 of 30 NBA teams are averaging 100 points or more on the season, yet almost half of the NBA has a winning record versus the total (five from the East and nine from the West).
10. Rebounding isn't as important a stat as it has been in the past due to better shooting and lack of defense throughout the league. Out of the top 16 teams in the league only the Celtics, Cavs, and Lakers have a rebounding margin of +2 or better.
9. News from overseas is that Josh Childress is trying to return to action but his sports hernia is making things extremely difficult. Most big wigs in Greece believe that he will be back in his role as sixth man for the Hawks next season.
8. Over the last week home dogs have covered the spread at an amazing 69.23 percent rate.
7. The Golden St. Warriors are giving up an NBA worst 112.1 points per game, which has led to their 26-18 record versus the total. However, these Warriors aren't even close to the worst defensive team ever. That title belongs to the 1990-91 Denver Nuggets who gave up 130.8 points per game. Get a damn stop!
6. The Philadelphia 76ers have covered eight of their last nine games, all while getting little or no help from Elton Brand as he has been rehabbing from a dislocated shoulder. The 76ers have become an up-tempo team and Brand will have to adjust his game. If Brand can do this, the 76ers will live up to the hype of one being of the better teams in the East. Look for this 76ers team to have great success versus some of the lower teams in both conferences, as they are playing better.
5. The New Jersey Nets have covered seven of their last 10 road games to improve their ATS road record to 15-6. Only the Oklahoma City Thunder at 15-6-1 and the Orlando Magic at 16-6 have records as good as the Nets away from home.
4. The Utah Jazz are 28-20-2 versus the total in games where one of the three former Jazz all-stars, Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, or Andrei Kirilenko have missed. This team is filled with players that can get the job done. To be honest though, what else is there to do in Utah besides score a ton of points? Every man is married to three different women, so there can't be any left for the hoopsters, and there isn't a drop of liquor the state so that leaves a lot of time for people to work on their game!
3. The 'Over' is 10-3 in games that Matt Boland has officiated where the total is between 185-194.5.
2. Nate Robinson may be on his way out of New York. Even though he is a fan favorite many are worried that he is more about "me", and less about the team. Ever since he was named a member of the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest his play has deteriorated. This will hurt the Knicks this season as Lil' Nate brings the fire, and even though he is being accused of playing selfishly the shorthanded Knicks need that energy.
1. Check back next week for more Around the NBA in 24 seconds.