NBA Handicapping: First Half Trends
by Nolan Sinclair with Robert Ferringo - 2/16/2010
The NBA Season is a little more than half over but we still have ample opportunity to beat our local books for some late-winter cash. As All-Star weekend leads into The Stretch Run it’s time to take a close look at some of the best betting trends of the first half of the season.
Gamblers want to win money, plain and simple. And this light reading should help you do so. I have filtered through all the mush and focused on teams that the public likes to wager on and the information that people may overlook when placing their bets. It is important for all of us to realize that certain teams are better (or worse) in certain situations and those situations are where we need to take advantage. NBA handicappers are aware of teams that have success at home, on the road, versus good teams, and versus poor teams. But the NBA lines are not always on point. When that line is off we need to pounce like the drunk at townie bar goes after 50-cent bottles.
It is time for us to become the fisherman instead of the worm. These top 10 trends of the first half should help you along your quest to earn enough money to take your wife, sister, daughter, grandmother, son, brother, or just your own scraggly ass on vacation following the NBA Finals.
Enjoy and good luck.
10) The Dallas Mavericks are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games versus the Western Conference. The Mavs have been struggling as of late and the West just seems to have a ton of great talent to match the Mavs. Dallas isn’t scoring like they are capable and if they continue to do this against conference teams they are going to continue to struggle at the window. The additions of Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood should help, but not as much as people think.
9) The Utah Jazz are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games following a straight up loss. When you have a coach that is as good as Jerry Sloan you know that a losing streak isn’t something that is in the Jazz vocabulary. Utah is playing like one of the best teams in the NBA and if they stay healthy they should be a solid wager in the second half of the season.
8) The Miami Heat are 31-11-1 ATS in their last 43 games versus teams with a winning percentage less than .400. There are currently nine teams in the league that are under that winning percentage. When you have D-Wade you can always beat up on lesser talent. Miami isn’t a team that sees a lot of double-digit lines so an impressive ATS mark against weaker competition is not a surprise. This is one of those situations where the lines may continue to be “off” due to the Heat’s overall lack of consistent play. Jump on quickly when you see the Heat playing one of the schlubs of the league.
7) The Orlando Magic are 9-20 versus the total in their last 29 road games. The Magic fans love to back their squad when they are sitting in the friendly confines of Disney World, but we all know that Mickey and Goofy don’t leave home that often. The Magic are a jump-shooting team. And jump-shooting teams are obviously better marking their own rims than trying to knock down jumpers on the road.
6) The Boston Celtics are 6-17-1 ATS in their 24 home games thus far this season. Boston is just not as explosive as people think or hope. The C’s will struggle to cover big lines all year, and the oddsmakers are going to continue to set high spreads in Boston home contests. The Celtics are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 home games where they were favored by nine or more points.
5) The San Antonio Spurs are 9-18 ATS in their 27 games versus teams that made the playoffs last season. This Spurs team just has not clicked since the addition of Richard Jefferson. Many people felt that if they added another scorer they would compete for the top spot in the West (myself included). Jefferson hasn’t played up to his capabilities and San Antonio just doesn’t look like a threat. Don’t get me wrong, they still have a shot at going a long way in the playoffs but it just doesn’t feel like their year.
4) The L.A. Lakers are 4-17 ATS when giving up 100 or more points. The Lake Show is not a good wager in most cases as they are saddled with huge lines and they seem to let bad teams hang around. When you can get the Lakers in a letdown spot against a solid offensive team the opponent is a great play.
3) The New York Knicks are a streaky team when it comes to playing against the total. Throughout this season there have been eight different streaks where they have fallen short of the total for at least three games in a row or gone ‘over’ the total for at least three games in a row. Ride the wave with this group, as they are either feast or famine.
2) The Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-11 ATS when their opponent hits for 100 points or more. And on a side note for the Cavs, they are not fans of the Northeast. Cleveland is 2-8 ATS versus teams located in the Northeast. A buddy once told me never place a big wager against a team from the Northeast. He says they are just “tough-minded” and always seem to play better when the chips are stacked against them.
1) The home team is 48-20 ATS combined in games that either Eli Roe or Joe Forte officiates. The home team margin of victory is 6.3 points when Roe is wearing the stripes and 3.8 points in Forte’s games. Mike Callahan has one of the highest home margin of victory at 7.0 points per game.
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