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That statement rings true in the early workings of the 2016-17 NBA season, where the best teams in the NBA are among the worst wagers basketball bettors could make. And, conversely, the worst teams in the NBA are among the top moneymakers against the spread.
Isolating the five teams with the best win/loss records from the 2015-16 season, we have the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder. Those five teams have started the new season with a collective 17-20-1 ATS mark, with last year’s NBA Finals contenders – Golden State at 3-5 ATS and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 2-5 ATS – as the biggest money pits to start the schedule.
Looking at the bottom of the 2015-16 standings, we have the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, and Minnesota Timberwolves. Considered to be the cellar dwellers of the NBA, these clubs combine for a 24-15-0 ATS mark – covering the spread 61.5 percent of the time. The Lakers and Nets are among the top bets in the NBA for the young season at 6-2 ATS while the Suns have started 6-3 ATS as of Thursday.
Of course, this has to do with public perception and sportsbooks tacking on extra points to the spread when these teams are involved – making top teams like the Warriors and Cavs bigger favorites, with the public pounding those elite clubs, while giving bad squads like the Lakers and Nets extra helpings of points, with NBA bettors fading those poor teams.