Betting Impact of NBA Trade Deadline
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 02/23/2009
If the current NBA standings don't tell you who is a contender this year and who is ready for the offseason to get here, then the dealings at the trade deadline sure have to. Some teams are content with their lineups, others are gearing up to make a playoff push while the rest are cashing their chips early and fighting for better odds in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The seven-day span between Feb. 13 and Feb. 19 went a long way in determining which teams to back at the betting window and what teams to fade as the NBA regular season approaches its backstretch.
Discussing the teams making moves at the trade deadline and the teams in playoff contention that did not make moves, I will separate teams into four categories. "Start to back" are teams that made smart moves for this year and will improve the on court product in terms of straight up wins and against the spread wins. "Continue to back" are teams that have produced ATS throughout the season and thanks to some timely moves will continue to do so. "Stop backing" are teams that maybe should have been making deals at the trade deadline but by merely standing pat could have hurt themselves as other teams start to gain on them. "Start to fade" are teams that still have enough talent not to warrant double digit spreads as underdogs but by planning ahead for next year will cost them SU and ATS.
Start to back
Never mind the fact that the Bulls are on a 9-2-1 ATS stretch but general manager John Paxson has his team geared up for a playoff run with the addition of Brad Miller in the middle and John Salmons on the outside. The addition of those two will more than make up for the departure of Andres Nocioni and Larry Hughes. The offense will still flow through Derrick Rose and expect Ben Gordon (20.7 ppg) to continue to flourish and for Joakim Noah to get some help on the inside.
Continue to back
The Orlando Magic have been the second best team to bet on this season with a 35-19-1 ATS record. That all appeared to be in jeopardy when point guard Jameer Nelson was lost for the season after shoulder surgery. However, the Magic acted swiftly even though it may have come at a big cost. The cost in this situation is next year in a first round draft pick and that obviously has no bearings on bettors' actions this season. They were able to bring in point guard Rafer Alston to help keep the offense pumping on all cylinders.
It has to be tough to turn your back on a team that has made you a lot of money this season but the NBA's best team ATS (36-18) did absolutely nothing as the trade deadline came and went.
While teams in the Eastern Conference like the Bulls, Magic and Heat worked to improve their lineups, the Cavs were content with sitting still. Lebron James and Cavs fans alike cannot be happy with the failure to bring in a big man even when a few were available out there and the Cavs had the means to acquire them without hurting the product this season. The Cavaliers may still be a favorite coming out of the East but they are hardly a worthwhile investment.
Start to fade
Already one of the biggest disappointments in the NBA this season and one of the worst teams ATS, the Raptors will continue to struggle down the stretch thanks to some moves that clearly signal the season is over for Canada's NBA team. The Raptors have gone 22-34-2 ATS, the third worst mark in the entire league and I expect it to only get worse. Oddsmakers continue to peg the Raptors as no more than minor underdogs even as they continue to get blown out. They are 3-9 ATS in their last 11 games and have opened after the all-star break with two lopsided losses. The Cavaliers beat them in Toronto 93-76 when the Raptors were only getting six points and at New York when the Raptors were getting three points, they lost by 30 points.
The departure of Jermaine O'Neil only further hinders things and the acquisition of Shawn Marion does little if anything. Chris Bosh is already planning on making a gigantic free agent splash in the summer of 2010.