NBA Betting Strategy: Fading Teams Down the Stretch
by Dave Schwab - 4/5/2012
The NBA regular season is winding down with just three weeks left to play before the start of the playoffs. As of Tuesday night’s games Chicago and Miami have already clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference and there are realistically seven other teams vying for the six remaining postseason berths. Over in the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder are in and there are 11 other teams battling it out for the final seven spots.
If you add it all up, that leaves six teams in the East and three teams in the West riding out the string until they can call it a day for the 2011-12 season. While all the players on these teams are professionals and have a certain amount of pride in what they do, it is still hard to get up for a game, especially on the road, with nothing on the line. You also have to take into consideration the NBA Lottery System, where every loss from here on in would equate to better odds for a high pick in this year’s draft.
The following is a look at a couple of teams you might want to seriously think about betting against down the stretch, given their current record both straight-up and against the spread.
Charlotte opened this season with a promising 96-95 victory over Milwaukee as a three-point underdog, but it was all downhill from there. It lost 26 of its next 28 games SU and went 9-19 ATS. Including Wednesday’s 120-93 loss to Atlanta as 13-point road underdogs, the Bobcats are a woeful 7-45 SU and a costly 20-32 ATS. They have been bad no matter where they play with a 4-20 SU (9-15 ATS) record at home and a 3-25 SU (11-17 ATS) record on the road.
Charlotte is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games playing on no day’s rest, so a couple of games left on the schedule that would fit the bill would be a home game against Atlanta this Saturday and a road game against Miami on April 13. As an added bonus for both of those contests, the Bobcats are 2-7 ATS in their last nine Southeast Division games.
Washington has a few more SU wins than Charlotte at 12-42, but it is actually worse ATS at 20-33-1.The Wizards have been phoning it in for awhile now with just two SU wins in their last 12 games and a 2-5-1 ATS record in their last eight games. They have been especially costly at home with a 9-18-1 ATS record to go along with a SU record of 7-21.
The Wizards are just 4-12-1 ATS in their last 17 home games and 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against the Eastern Conference’s Central Division, so two potential paydays could be against Cleveland at home on April 14 and Milwaukee at home on April 18.
New Jersey Nets
The East is loaded with bad teams with New Jersey representing the Atlantic Division at 19-37 SU and 25-31 ATS. The Nets continue to fight for respectability with a 3-3 SU record in their last six games and a 4-2 record ATS, but they are another team that has really struggled at home this season with just seven SU victories in 26 games and a 9-17 record ATS.
New Jersey also appears to have its hands full against teams it should have a decent shot at beating. It is just 5-13 ATS in its last 18 games against teams with losing records. If you look to combine a remaining home game against a losing team, then mark down this coming Sunday’s matchup against Cleveland as a prime opportunity to wager against the Nets.
The Western Conference’s lone entry on this list is a dismal 19-35 SU, but overall the Kings have not been that bad ATS with a record of 26-28. However, the tanking factor for a high lottery pick may be picking-up steam with a 2-6 record both SU and ATS in their last eight games.
Sacramento is 0-4 ATS in its last four Pacific Division games and 2-5 ATS in its last seven conference games. It faces the LA Clippers at home on Thursday night in the first of a home-and-home series with Game 2 scheduled at the Staples Center for this Saturday. The third and final division game of the season is an April 26 home game against the LA Lakers to closeout the year.
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