A look at first half ATS records and who to bet on after the NBA All-Star break
As we head for the NBA mid-season break with their annual scoring carnival and weekend entertainment festival also known as the All-Star break, an interesting question comes to mind for bettors. Just who's been the most profitable team to depend and wager upon during the first half of the season and who might they seek in the second half?
Before I satisfy your curiosity let me make this fact known. There ain't a whole lot of difference team to team, top to bottom. It's unlike the NFL, where the New England Patriots compiled an amazing 15-3-1 against the spread record this year. And conversely the sad Cleveland Browns echoed their record going 3-12-1 ATS. All NBA teams fall consistently closer to the middle betting-wise.
There could be several key reasons comparing basketball to NFL football or even baseball when it comes to the challenge of wagering. Logically, the sheer number of games is number one with the duration of the long season also contributing to fatigue. Throw in the additional travel, smaller overworked rosters with starters playing big minutes, etc. and it could be why we rarely see any NBA team win more than 60% of their games against the spread.
Checking the statistics through wagering guru StatFox, of the 30 NBA teams only ONE team is barely holding on to a 61.1% leading edge with two teams currently tied at the bottom 41.5%. The remaining 27 aren't that far off either way. Doesn't exactly inspire much confidence before clicking your wager, does it?
First Half Trivia Question
If you thought the intimidating Golden State Warriors or champion Cleveland Cavaliers were the obvious ATS quiz answers, you're quickly eliminated. The Warriors are an average 50.1% while the Cavs a highly unprofitable 47.1 against the spread. Bettors pay the price for many double-digit spreads and future Hall of Famers. Or maybe you might have guessed the surprising Utah Jazz. Uh uh. A disappointing 42.6. What's that all about?
Take a bow if you selected the Philadelphia 76ers. Yup, by far the worst team of the current decade has the highest win percentage this season by covering many games as both an underdog and a few as a new found favorite. The Sixers, who have struggled to win 15 games an entire season have thus far won 21 straight-up and an even more impressive 34-21 ATS.
More logically, the Houston Rockets check-in a distant second at 57.9% ATS with a straight up 40-17 record. But remember, allowing for the vigorish, a straight-up bet on the Rockets every game would only net a bettor a small profit. Therefore, picking the right spots necessary isolating on Houston or any other team over all games.
NBA Second Half Best Bets – The George Costanza Strategy
Any fan of "Seinfeld" instinctively knows what "do the opposite" means. For the uniformed, legendary loser George Costanza turned his life around in one famous episode by performing the opposite of every unsuccessful strategy employed in his life. Clever NBA bettors might want to take note of George's plan for the second half of the season.
By that we suggest being careful of playing on teams like the 76ers or even the Washington Wizards, who've performed well at 57.4 ATS per StatFox. Opportunities will come up to wager against these teams, especially when in a favorite role at home soon after the All-Star break. Preferred offshore sportsbooks including Bovada, BetOnline and Diamond Sports may add that extra point making a difference "doing the opposite" or betting against these high-performing ATS first half teams.
Interesting, there likely will be better upcoming spots targeting favorites Golden State, Cleveland and San Antonio very soon. Now that these perennial top teams have lost luster with bettors, they will be yielding a few less points. For example, the Warriors may be 23-6 straight up on the road this season but are a terrible 13-16 ATS. Look for GS to turn that stat around.
Totals – The Return of DEFENSE
Very simple strategy to keep in mind wagering Over/Under Totals before the playoffs. GO UNDER.
For likely a dozen reasons, it seems that NBA scoring is up thus far this season. With pressure toward several teams contending for playoff position as the season wears on plus fatigue, look for scoring to diminish. Of the 30 NBA teams, 20 have averaged games more than 50% going OVER the total this season. The Denver Nuggets lead the pack and have gone Over an incredible 70.4% with the struggling Milwaukee Bucks second at 63.4%. That's not good basketball shooting but rather poor defense.
Only two teams are less than 45% going Over. The Chicago Bulls at 38.9% and Dallas Mavericks at 42.3%. Again, another opportunity to "do the opposite". Most leading offshore sportsbooks will be taking notice offering lowered totals to play Over in upcoming games.
NBA All-Star Special Bet
I will not flip a coin East or West predicting a side for this Sunday evening's NBA All-Star game. Nor predict whether both teams will score more than 323 points in any Over/Under Total wager. A more popular and fun opportunity is taking notice of the odds BELOW for the 3-point shooting contest this Saturday night courtesy of BetOnline:
Three-Point Contest - Odds to Win the NBA Three-Point Contest
Klay Thompson (GS) +140
Kyrie Irving (CLE) +500
C.J. McCollum (POR) +650
Eric Gordon (HOU) +700
Kyle Lowry (TOR) +800
Nick Young (LAL) +800
Wesley Matthews (DAL) +1000
Kemba Walker (CHA) +1000
Nothing wrong with cashing in on generous +140 odds for Klay Thompson defending his long-range shooting reputation and picking up an extra check before the game. If I was making the line, I'd assign Thompson -140, making this a great value play. Plus, keep in mind, sure thing Academy Awards Oscars with -5000 odds winners are only a week away.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.