NBA Handicapping: Bad Teams with Good ATS Records
by George Monroy - 2/3/2015
Handicapping NBA basketball games can be a bit deceiving. Good teams do not necessarily cover the most spreads, and bad teams do not necessarily cover the least. ATS success is often determined by a group's reputation amongst the media, bettors and the general public. Squads like the Cleveland Cavaliers, who brought three superstars together during the offseason, will always get the lion's share of the media attention, which will eventually skew the spreads they receive on a nightly basis.
The first step when handicapping an NBA game is to look past a team's straight up record and analyze how the points come into play. We all know that the Golden State Warriors are a much better squad than the Philadelphia 76ers, yet there is a certain point where Golden State's reputation pushes its spread too high and Philadelphia has all the value with the points. Let's take a closer look at NBA ATS records and isolate the bad teams with good ATS records and vice versa.
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Bad Teams with Good ATS Records
Utah Jazz: 17-30 SU; 25-22 ATS: At the moment there are really no bad teams with good ATS records. There are a couple of bad teams with decent ATS records or decent teams with good ATS marks. Utah is sitting on the fifth-worst record in the entire NBA yet is covering spreads at a 53 percent rate. Yes, 53 percent is nothing to write home about, but it's still the seventh-best ATS mark in the NBA
New Orleans Pelicans: 26-22 SU; 29-19: The Pelicans are not necessarily at bad team at 26-22. The squad's problem is that it plays in a loaded Western Conference and is currently sitting in the ninth overall spot. New Orleans still has a reputation of being a bottom-feeder, and Anthony Davis is still largely unknown outside of NBA-junkie circles. The Pelicans have the talent to not only cover the spread but also beat any contender on any given night.
Milwaukee Bucks: 26-22 SU; 33-15 ATS: The Bucks are another team that is not necessarily bad but continues to just sit in the middle of the SU standings. Milwaukee, however, does have the second-best ATS mark in the entire NBA with a 33-15 record. The team has covered six straight spreads and should continue to stay under the radar while being a great value bet for gamblers for the rest of the season.
Good Teams with Bad ATS Records
Los Angeles Clippers: 33-16 SU; 20-29 ATS
Washington Wizards: 31-18 SU; 20-28-1 ATS
Cleveland Cavaliers: 30-20 SU; 22-28
Chicago Bulls: 30-19 SU; 22-27
San Antonio Spurs: 30-18; 21-15-2
Of the 10 worst ATS teams in the NBA, five of them are sitting on a Top 10 SU record. Los Angeles currently has the second-worst ATS record in the entire league and is only a game ahead of the New York Knicks. The rest of the squads on that list; Washington, Cleveland, Chicago and San Antonio; have gone 8-14 ATS over their last 22 games.
The Cavaliers have improved since LeBron James returned from mini vacation to rehab his body and may be ready to get off the "good team with a bad ATS record list," but the rest of the squads in that group seem to be getting vastly overrated by the oddsmakers. Remember, when you are handicapping a game, take a look at a team's overall ATS record first, because you might find a hidden gem to wager on. The Bucks, at the moment, seem to be the team that bettors should be keeping an eye on.
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