Welcome to the Hoop and the Harm. This is a weekly feature on OddsShark where hoops bettors can uncover all the hottest need-to-know trends, stats and general info for the week that was on the hardwood.
The NBA season is a grind, and even though we’re only a quarter of the way through it, fatigue is already starting to set in. That means you have to be careful that you don’t get too overeager with your hoops bets, as playing the waiting game can pay dividends.
Case in point: Wednesday’s Cleveland Cavaliers-Memphis Grizzlies contest. One day after the teams did battle in Cleveland, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue decided to rest his big three of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.
That left the wine and gold having J.R. Smith as their No. 1 option, which is never a good sign. Cleveland closed as 7-point underdogs – an unfathomable number if the full roster was on the floor – and failed to cover the spread in a 93-85 setback.
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni had some razor-sharp words on the practice of resting players, telling ESPN’s Calvin Watkins “You think of the kid that travels three hours to see somebody and they don’t show up, it’s tough. It’s complicated. I know every coach is trying to do the best for his team and trying to win. He has to do what he thinks is right to win. The league may have to look at it and figure it out.”
When it comes to playing on back-to-back games, there’s a huge discrepancy in the NBA. Here are the best and worst teams at the betting window when playing for the second time in as many days.
Best bet on no rest: Memphis Grizzlies (6-1 ATS)
The Memphis Grizzlies are somehow thriving in the absence of starting point guard Mike Conley, as the team has won seven of nine without the highest paid player in league history on the floor.
In the second half of back-to-back tilts, the Grizz rank as the best bet in the Association at 6-1 ATS. Memphis will play two games in two nights on December 20 (vs Boston) and December 21 (at Detroit) as well as on December 26 (at Orlando) and December 27 (at Boston) before 2016 concludes.
Worst bet on no rest: Charlotte Hornets (0-5 ATS)
Charlotte has yet to cover the spread in five opportunities in the latter half of back-to-back sets, failing to do so by a -8.2 margin. The Hornets have been a middle of the road wager against the spread this year (12-13-1), so trying to find value in Steve Clifford’s club has been a fruitless endeavor.
In the coming weeks, Charlotte plays two in a row on December 16 (at Boston), December 17 (at Atlanta) before ending the year on December 28 (at Orlando) and December 29 (vs Miami).
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