Best NBA Teams Against the Spread This Season and Worst
We are, more or less, at the mid-point of the NBA season. As close to the end of the season as the beginning. There is still a whole lot of basketball left to play and a whole lot that we don't know. More than we know, really. But the sample size is large enough that we have a sense of which teams have been a pleasure to bet on and which really haven't. Here are the betting studs and duds of the first half of this season.
Oklahoma City (27-13 ATS): Few people expected much from the Thunder this year after the dismantling was completed this offseason. But new addition Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been great, having a roster loaded with point guards is working for them, and they are comfortably in a playoff spot in a Western Conference that is a long way from good on the bottom end. The team has gone 12-3 straight up since December 16. That is well beyond the most optimistic of expectations people could have had for the team, which accounts for their betting success.
Boston (22-14-2 ATS): Milwaukee is running away with the East, but Boston is the best of the rest right now and has been up there in that realm for much of the season. They were a tough team to judge this year as they took swings in the offseason but couldn't land a big target. And last year had been rough. But things are mostly working now, and they are taking care of people's money.
Miami (22-15-2 ATS): Miami is young, and their roster is pretty unconventional. It felt like no guarantee that they were even going to be okay this year. But their 17-1 home record is the best in the league, some of those youngsters are way ahead of schedule, and the team never takes an off night. It remains to be seen if they can keep it up down the stretch, but for now it has been real fun to watch - and to bet on.
Milwaukee (23-18 ATS): A team that faced seriously high expectations coming into the season has lived up to every bit of them. At least lived up to them - maybe more. Bettors were always going to be into this team, but they are doing their part on the court, and that's making all the difference.
Indiana (22-17-1 ATS): The Pacers are a pretty forgettable team right now. Quietly fine. Under the radar. And operating towards the higher end of the range of expectations. It's not always exciting, but it's profitable.
Detroit (14-26-1 ATS): The Pistons have on some level succeeded this year. They have built a roster that couldn't possibly win, and it is doing exactly what it was built for. There is very little that they are any good at, and it shows in their play and at the betting window. This team is depressingly mediocre.
Portland (15-23-2 ATS): The Trail Blazers have been proof this year that you can't be ripped apart by injuries and hope to survive it - even with a talented roster that seemed reasonably deep at full strength. It feels like a lost season in a serious way. The last playoff spot in the West is not going to be won by a good team, so they could sneak in. At this point, though, they are better off finishing lower down and getting as many ping pong balls in the lottery as they can. It's not like they'll do anything if they do make the playoffs - not against one of the top teams.
San Antonio (15-22-1 ATS): It's been an amazing run in San Antonio, but it just doesn't feel like it is meant to be right now. They don't have enough talent, and their roster doesn't entirely make sense. They won't be down forever - the organization is too strong for that. But it will take a while until they are good enough to meet expectations and cover spreads regularly again.
Atlanta (17-23 ATS): They are the worst team in the league, having just eight wins in 20 games - four at home and four on the road. Their -10.1 point differential is the worst in the league by a solid margin. They have lost four in a row and eight of 10. It's not surprising that they are struggling to help out bettors. What is surprising is that they haven't been worse ATS than they have been.
Philadelphia (16-21-4 ATS): I like perusing the standings for oddities. And nothing stands out as odder than the Sixers' schedule split. Their 18-2 home mark is tied with Milwaukee for second best in all of basketball. Their home is a very hostile place to visit. But they are a truly pathetic 7-14 on the road. It's like they have a roster that plays at home and an entirely different one that travels - the Globetrotters at home and the Generals on the road. The squad has a lot going for them, but they aren't going to do anything when it matters until they figure this out.
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