The NBA playoffs are set to begin on Saturday, April 18, with a full slate of first-round matchups. The seedings will not be finalized until the final game of the regular season as there are still two teams in each conference fighting for their playoffs lives, while five squads in the in the West still have a chance at moving up or down in the playoff bracket. Before the postseason begins, let's take a closer look at the best and worst ATS records for certain playoff teams and figure out which have the potential to make bettors some money over the next few weeks of basketball.
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Best ATS Records in the East
Atlanta Hawks : 50-30-1; 62.5 percent: Atlanta will end the season with 60 wins and a seven- or eight-game lead over Cleveland. The Hawks turned out to be the surprise team of season, essentially coming out of nowhere and without an established star or big-name coach to grab the No. 1 seed in the east. Many fans and experts are still not sold on Atlanta as an actual contender, and that doubt could be great for bettors.
The Hawks will probably face an Indiana Pacers squad that recently got their franchise superstar Paul George back. And if this matchup does in fact materialize, expect a Pacers upset to become a trendy pick. Atlanta, however, has been the best ATS team in the league with 50 covers. The Hawks are not flashy, but they play the correct way. Expect them to cover spreads.
Boston Celtics : 47-32-2; 59.5 Percent: Boston exploded during the last third of the season after the Rajon Rondo trade and other salary dumps that left most experts predicting that the team was ready to enter "tank mode". The Celtics, however, took a sharp turn and actually morphed into a playoff contender and one of the best ATS teams in the league under the excellent coaching from Brad Stevens.
Boston will most likely end up in a first-round matchup with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which could be a great situation for bettors to make some money on the underdog. Cleveland will undoubtedly be a huge favorite on a night basis; probably in the seven- to eight-point range, and taking the Celtics in these situations feels like an excellent opportunity.
Best ATS Records in the West
Golden State Warriors : 47-32-1; 59.5 percent: What more can be said about Golden State that hasn't already been said a million times? The Warriors are about to cap off one of the all-time-great regular seasons and will be one of the few teams in NBA history to finish with a double-digit margin of victory-the mark is currently at 10.2. Steve Kerr's squad currently has the best home ATS mark in the league with a 68.4 cover rate and will probably steamroll whoever enters the postseason as the eight seed.
Houston Rockets : 47-34; 58 percent: Houston will end the year as the fourth-best ATS team in the league and will probably face a Memphis Grizzlies squad that was a sub-.500 ATS group. Houston relies heavily on MVP-candidate James Harden and may struggle against an elite defensive team like the Grizzlies that can clog the lane and make Houston's slash-and-kick offense struggle for every point.
The Worst ATS Records
Washington: 31-46-3; 40.3 percent
Dallas Mavericks: 35-43-2; 44.9 percent
Los Angeles Clippers: 37-43; 46.2 percent
Toronto Raptors: 37-42-1; 46.8 percent
Washington and Toronto will most likely face each other in a series between two teams that cannot cover a spread. Neither has been a particularly good home team, but the one stat that stands out is Washington's horrendous 14-24-1 road ATS mark. Bettors might begin to consider going against the Wizards during this series. Dallas is looking at a probable first-round elimination at the hands of the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. The Clippers, on the other hand, probably have enough talent to beat an injury-plagued Portland squad but may not be able to cover many spreads. Take Los Angeles on the series price but Portland on the spread if those teams do in fact meet up in the postseason.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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