NBA Betting Advice: Teams Poised for Cold ATS Streak after Break
by Trevor Whenham - 2/17/2015
The NBA all-star break can be a pivot point for the season. Players and coaches get a chance to step away from the season for a few days and regroup. After the break the playoff hunt really gets serious and the true contenders start to focus on what matters. Often, then, we see teams that have been very successful against the spread before the break struggle to be quite so profitable - or profitable at all, for that matter - after the break. Bettors who are able to deduce which teams could be in line for a downward adjustment could profit nicely.
Here's a look at three teams that might not finish as well as they have started:
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks have quietly had a very good season. They have 30 wins - already double what they had all of last year - and they are the second-best team in the league against the spread behind only Atlanta. Despite injuries and suspensions, the team has far exceeded public expectations, and people largely haven't noticed. A team playing well at both ends of the court - they are Top 5 in both shooting and defense - while not getting public attention is sure to cover a lot of spreads. That could change going forward, though - at least somewhat. They are getting more attention, and that attention will only increase now that they have all but locked up a playoff spot. They have dealt with a lot of injuries lately, and that has led to their weakest play of the season in the few games before the break - the first time all season that they have failed to cover the spread in as many as three games in a row. They also have the ongoing Larry Sanders drama to deal with - his suspension is over, but he could be bought out. Add it all up, and they might not deliver quite as many profits as they have so far.
Atlanta Hawks: Atlanta is unquestionably the most pleasant surprise of the season. It was reasonable to expect them to be solid in the second year of a coaching regime and with decent talent, but not many could have expected them to run away with the East as they have so far. They sit at 43-11 and are a remarkable 37-17 ATS to date - a highly-profitable 68.5 percent success rate. I don't think that this team is playing massively over their heads - it would be far from a surprise to see them keep clicking along and win the conference easily. There are two good reasons to suspect we could see at least a slight downward adjustment the rest of the way, though. For starters, the public believes more and more in this team as things go along, and that will draw more betting attention - and tougher spreads to cover. Second, the rate that the team is covering spreads at hasn't proven to be sustainable. I went back six years, and no team over that time has, in a full 82-game season, covered more than 65 percent of their spreads.
Orlando Magic: Pretty much nothing positive has happened for the Magic this year, yet somehow despite having only 17 wins they have been a very slightly profitable 29-26-1 ATS on the year. That's pretty good for a team this bad. It's not hard to imagine them being quite a bit worse down the stretch, though. This team, simply, is in a state of chaos. They fired Jacque Vaughn - about two months, or two years, too late depending on your perspective. There is no end to the rumors about his replacement, but nothing is certain as of yet - and uncertainty never helps players perform their best. Regardless of who replaces him, it's going to require an adjustment. Combine that change with a young roster - one that could see some changes before the trade deadline - and a lack of any dramatic reason to be optimistic over the short- to mid-term, and you have a team that could easily wilt down the stretch. Wilt, that is, even more than they have to this point. The schedule makers haven't done any favors, either - 16 of the 26 remaining games are against teams that are in the playoffs now or have a very good chance at winding up in them. On the plus side, though, they do play a lot at home - they have seven of their next eight in Orlando and another stretch of eight home games in 10 near the end of the season.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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