Welcome to the Hoop and the Harm! This is going to be a weekly feature on OddsShark where hoops bettors can uncover all the hottest need-to-know trends, stats and info for the week that was on the hardwood, delivered every Thursday. The 2016-17 NBA season is still young, but some intriguing wagering angles are already starting to take shape.
For the inaugural edition, we’ll dive into the best and worst ATS teams, which squads are cashing the most OVERs and the ones that are going UNDER with ease. Let’s do this.
Best Teams Against the Spread
- Los Angeles Clippers 7-1 ATS
- Los Angeles Lakers 6-2 ATS
The Clippers have been the class of the NBA thus far, as Chris Paul and company rank atop the Association with a spotless 7-1 SU record. But unlike other powerhouse teams (hello, Golden State), Los Angeles has been dynamite against the spread. The Clips are averaging 105.1 points per game while allowing just 88.2 – a 16.9 margin that’s 7.5 points higher than the Hawks, who are the second-best club in that regard. Keep riding their hot start while you can.
No, you’re not seeing things. The Lakers, Nets and Suns really are on this list. The trio were three of the worst clubs in the NBA last year, but they’ve been dynamite at covering the spread as underdogs. I truly believe the Lakeshow will have one of the best ATS margins this season. Luke Walton is doing a fantastic job in Tinseltown, and the young Lakers are having fun again in the new uptempo offense.
Worst Teams Against the Spread
- New Orleans Pelicans 2-6 ATS
- Minnesota Timberwolves 2-5 ATS
- Cleveland Cavaliers 2-5 ATS
One of these things is not like the others. Everyone expected the Cavs, fresh off an impressive NBA championship victory, to see some big lines, but oddsmakers are respecting them a little too much in the early going. The wine and gold are 6-1 SU yet they’ve only managed two covers – a trend that could very likely continue in the coming months.
The Magic, Pelicans and Timberwolves are young, inexperienced and overmatched on a nightly basis – a great formula to fade. Larry Bird revamped Indiana’s roster in the offseason but the early returns have been anything but impressive. Until the Pacers can figure out how to play together, they’re a team to avoid at the betting window.
Best OVER Teams
- Portland Trail Blazers 6-3 O/U
Betting the OVER in the NBA is a lot of fun. Rather than hoping both teams will chuck up bricks, OVER bettors love seeing plenty of scoring, and the Phoenix Suns reign supreme in that department. As of November 10, the Suns were riding a very profitable six-game OVER streak. Phoenix has the pieces to light it up on offense (107.6 points per game) and defends like a junior high team (113 points against per game).
The Jazz are perennially an UNDER machine, but the offseason additions of George Hill, Boris Diaw and Joe Johnson have breathed new life into the offense. Gordon Hayward has fully recovered from a finger injury and hasn’t missed a beat, which is another promising trend for OVER bettors. Sportsbooks got killed by Jazz UNDERs last year, so they generally get tabbed with lower totals than they should.
Best UNDER Teams
- Oklahoma City Thunder 2-6 O/U
Oklahoma City has looked just fine in the post-Kevin Durant era, and UNDER bettors are laughing all the way to the bank as a result. OKC’s defense has been top-notch through the first two weeks, and the lack of secondary scoring has created the perfect storm for UNDERs. Yesterday I profiled this trend further in-depth, which you can read about here.
There’s a good chance the Magic will be in this category all year long. Orlando has the worst points per game mark in the league (94.6) and ranks in the bottom 10 in every shooting category. This team is simply out of sorts on offense right now, so tailing the UNDER until the Magic can find their rhythm seems like a safe play.
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