NBA Betting Trends: Hot and Cold Teams Against the Point Spread
by Aaron Smith - 11/11/2014
We're two weeks into the new NBA season. The NBA landscape changed in a big way when LeBron James left Miami in the offseason. Cleveland quickly became the favorite to win the title this year. The Spurs were the favorites in a loaded Western Conference. Both Cleveland and San Antonio have disappointed so far this year, but that shouldn't come as any big surprise considering the circumstances. It's a long season, and you are going to hear a lot of people overreact to early results. Make sure you keep a long-term perspective when betting in the NBA.
Doc's Sports has done an NBA ATS Hot and Cold report in the past, and we will be offering it again this year. We'll highlight the Top 5 hot teams and the Bottom 5 cold teams. This report allows bettors to keep an eye on which teams are streaking and which are slumping. There's no doubt that the NBA is a momentum-driven league. Will these current trends continue or will they change soon? This report will be offered on a bi-weekly basis throughout the NBA regular season.
Top Five Hot Teams
1. Toronto Raptors (6-1 ATS) I think it would surprise a lot of people to find out that Toronto leads the NBA in points per game. The Raptors are putting up 107.4 per contest so far this year. Dwayne Casey doesn't get as much credit as he deserves for the job he has done with this team. Toronto surprised a lot of people last year, and they are certainly surprising the oddsmakers once again this season. Toronto plays their next five games at home, where they are 4-0 ATS this year.
2. Golden State Warriors (5-1 ATS) The Warriors won and covered their first five games before falling at Phoenix in their last outing. Golden State is a really dangerous team. The Warriors obviously have the ability to score in bunches with Curry and Thompson in the backcourt. Now that their defense is becoming one of the best in the league, this team could go a long way in the playoffs. Golden State is currently first in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. Count me among those who believe that the Warriors are going to have a great year.
3. Miami Heat (5-2 ATS) The Heat being on this side of the report might surprise people, but I'm not sure it should. While James is no longer here, the Heat have several very proud veterans on this team. They won't say it publicly, but guys like Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh want to prove they can still get it done without James. I'm not sure if that kind of motivation can last an entire season, but it can last through the first seven games. I think Miami cools off in the near future.
4. Sacramento Kings (5-2 ATS) Sacramento has arguably been the biggest surprise in the league so far this year. The Kings have been bad for a long time, so it's odd to see them beating teams like the Clippers and the Suns on the road. There are two key reasons for the Kings success. No. 1 is their tremendous rebounding advantage. Sacramento is outrebounding opponents by 8.43 boards per game. Secondly, they are much improved on defense. The Kings are allowing opponents to shoot only 42 percent from the floor.
5. Houston Rockets (5-2 ATS) Houston is tied for the best record in the NBA, and they have done it with their defense. Houston ranks second in the league in field goal percentage defense as well as points allowed per game (90.9). Opponents are shooting only 27.2 percent from long range against the Rockets. The signing of Trevor Ariza went a bit under the radar, but he has been huge for Houston. Ariza is averaging nearly two steals per game, and he is the elite perimeter defender this team has needed the last few years.
Bottom Five Cold Teams
1. Los Angeles Clippers (0-7 ATS) This one is a really big surprise. The Clippers were thought of as a team that could contend for a title this year. While they still have plenty of time to fix things, their poor defense has been alarming. The Clippers are giving up 101.7 points per game, and opponents are shooting nearly 48 percent from the floor. This team has a ton of talent, though, and as long as the chemistry stays solid, the Clippers will become a good value play soon.
2. Detroit Pistons (0-7 ATS) Stan Van Gundy is trying to change the culture in Detroit, but it's definitely not an easy task. Van Gundy has gotten the Pistons to work harder on the defensive end, but their offense has been so miserable that they can't cover the number or get wins. Detroit is averaging only 91.9 points per game. The Pistons are dead last in the NBA in field goal percentage at 41 percent.
3. Denver Nuggets (1-5 ATS) The Denver Nuggets have fallen hard and fast. This franchise was in good shape a couple years ago, but they decided to let George Karl go, and things have gone south ever since. Brian Shaw is squarely on the hot seat right now, and the Nuggets look like a team that could finish with one of the worst records in the Western Conference. I don't think backing this team anytime soon is a good idea.
4. San Antonio Spurs (1-5 ATS) The Spurs started 0-5 ATS before picking up a win and a cover in Los Angeles against the Clippers on Monday night. San Antonio's offense that was so crisp in last year's NBA Finals has been poor so far this year. While the Spurs are unlikely to be as amazing as they were at the end of last year, I also don't think they'll continue to be as bad as they have been thus far. At the same time, finding value won't be as easy here, because the books know better than to get too low on the Spurs.
5. New York Knicks (2-6 ATS) The Knicks are trying to get accustomed to a new system. Will the triangle work with this team? How will Derek Fisher do as a head coach? These certainly aren't questions that can be answered in the first two weeks of the season. The Knicks next three games are against teams that will likely finish below .500. New York has a chance to build some momentum.
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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