Catching up with NBA betting action

By Steve Makinen  () 

Many bettors tend to wait until football season winds down to start betting the buckets each year. Since the college football regular season just ended, this could be that time. If you are just starting to get into the NBA season, you’ve already missed a lot — about a third of the season, in fact. I’m sure you know the obvious things: Milwaukee has been amazing … the Lakers and Clippers have been as good as advertised ... Golden State has been obliterated by personnel losses and injuries ... we have yet to see Zion Williamson for the Pelicans. That said, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with many other handicapping tidbits before you really start hitting the betting window hard. I’m here to catch you up on some of that key info. I will address teams’ records and strengths, plus some key matchup performance trends that have developed early in the season and some key games the rest of the week you’ll want to keep an eye on. You can also find all the key scheduling situational trends on this week’s NBA Team Reports.

 

Overall Records (sorted by SU winning percentage)

 

These are the records of the 30 NBA teams sorted by winning percentage through games of Monday 12/16:

 

1. LA LAKERS - Record: 24-3 SU, 16-11 ATS, 12-15 O/U, PF/PA: 113.3 - 103.9

2. MILWAUKEE - Record: 24-4 SU, 15-13 ATS, 16-12 O/U, PF/PA: 121 - 108.1

3. LA CLIPPERS - Record: 20-8 SU, 15-12 ATS, 12-16 O/U, PF/PA: 115 - 108.1

4. PHILADELPHIA - Record: 20-8 SU, 13-12 ATS, 12-14 O/U, PF/PA: 109.3 - 104.1

5. BOSTON - Record: 17-7 SU, 14-9 ATS, 10-14 O/U, PF/PA: 110.8 - 104.1

6. MIAMI - Record: 19-8 SU, 16-9 ATS, 15-11 O/U, PF/PA: 112.2 - 107.3

7. DALLAS - Record: 18-8 SU, 16-10 ATS, 18-8 O/U, PF/PA: 118.2 - 109.2

8. TORONTO - Record: 18-8 SU, 15-11 ATS, 13-13 O/U, PF/PA: 111.7 - 105.7

9. DENVER - Record: 17-8 SU, 10-12 ATS, 8-17 O/U, PF/PA: 106.5 - 101.7

10. HOUSTON - Record: 18-9 SU, 13-14 ATS, 11-16 O/U, PF/PA: 119.7 - 114.3

11. INDIANA - Record: 18-9 SU, 14-11 ATS, 11-16 O/U, PF/PA: 109.3 - 104.3

12. UTAH - Record: 15-11 SU, 10-16 ATS, 12-14 O/U, PF/PA: 107 - 106.4

13. BROOKLYN - Record: 14-12 SU, 14-11 ATS, 11-13 O/U, PF/PA: 111.9 - 111.9

14. SACRAMENTO - Record: 12-14 SU, 16-10 ATS, 9-17 O/U, PF/PA: 104.9 - 106.9

15. ORLANDO - Record: 12-14 SU, 11-13 ATS, 13-13 O/U, PF/PA: 103.5 - 104.4

16. OKLAHOMA CITY - Record: 12-14 SU, 15-10 ATS, 11-15 O/U, PF/PA: 107.6 - 107.2

17. PHOENIX - Record: 11-15 SU, 15-10 ATS, 15-11 O/U, PF/PA: 115.3 - 114.2

18. CHARLOTTE - Record: 12-17 SU, 15-14 ATS, 14-15 O/U, PF/PA: 104.5 - 111.1

19. PORTLAND - Record: 11-16 SU, 11-15 ATS, 12-14 O/U, PF/PA: 112.2 - 114.1

20. DETROIT - Record: 11-16 SU, 11-14 ATS, 15-11 O/U, PF/PA: 109.3 - 109.6

21. MINNESOTA - Record: 10-15 SU, 9-15 ATS, 16-9 O/U, PF/PA: 114.7 - 118.1

22. SAN ANTONIO - Record: 10-16 SU, 6-18 ATS, 14-10 O/U, PF/PA: 111.7 - 115.4

23. MEMPHIS - Record: 10-17 SU, 12-15 ATS, 13-14 O/U, PF/PA: 110.2 - 116

24. CHICAGO - Record: 10-19 SU, 15-14 ATS, 14-15 O/U, PF/PA: 105.5 - 107.4

25. WASHINGTON - Record: 8-17 SU, 14-11 ATS, 14-10 O/U, PF/PA: 118 - 122.2

26. CLEVELAND - Record: 6-21 SU, 10-15 ATS, 13-14 O/U, PF/PA: 103.7 - 114.2

27. NEW YORK - Record: 6-21 SU, 13-13 ATS, 10-17 O/U, PF/PA: 101.2 - 111.2

28. NEW ORLEANS - Record: 6-21 SU, 8-17 ATS, 14-13 O/U, PF/PA: 112.8 - 120.1

29. ATLANTA - Record: 6-21 SU, 12-15 ATS, 15-12 O/U, PF/PA: 108.1 - 117.8

30. GOLDEN STATE - Record: 5-23 SU, 12-16 ATS, 13-15 O/U, PF/PA: 104.3 - 113.7

 

Strength Ratings and Effective Stats

 

We know that won-lost records never tell the full story. Let’s look at my current Strength Ratings and Effective Stats/Rankings to see if any teams might be overperforming or underperforming their records. These have adjusting factors built into them daily to account for things like scheduling intricacies and games missed because of key player injuries.

 

Some interesting observations you will find in the chart above:

 

— The columns from left to right are Power Rating, Effective Strength (by points per possession differential), EffNL or Bettors Rating, Schedule Strength, Pace, Effective Offensive PPP, Effective Defensive PPP.

— Golden State’s ratings are heavily impacted by the number of games missed by their stars, in particular Stephen Curry and DeAngelo Russell. The Warriors are being judged as if Curry will be back this season, and the team is discounted -4.5 points for each game he misses.

— Milwaukee has the No. 2-rated offensive and defensive efficiency ratings and the highest pace ratings. Interestingly, the Bucks lost Monday night to the Mavericks, the team with the highest offensive rating, and Thursday will be taking on the team with the best defensive rating, the Lakers.

— You can see some variances in records from stats in teams like Miami, which has the sixth-best record right now but is only No. 9 in offensive and defensive efficiency. The Heat are also just 10th in the EffNL column, their effective neutral-line value, according to the betting markets.

 

Matchup Performance Trends

 

Based on the Strength Ratings and Effective Stats above, here are some best-5 and worst-5 lists of teams against specific levels of competition so far:

 

Best Records vs. Top 10 Power Rated Teams

1. SACRAMENTO: 3-4 SU & 7-0 ATS, PF/PA: 105.6 - 106.6

2. OKLAHOMA CITY: 1-7 SU & 6-2 ATS, PF/PA: 108.1 - 113.3

3. PHILADELPHIA: 5-1 SU & 4-2 ATS, PF/PA: 110 - 101.5

4. BOSTON: 4-4 SU & 5-3 ATS, PF/PA: 109.9 - 107.6

5. HOUSTON: 4-4 SU & 5-3 ATS, PF/PA: 112.8 - 114.6

 

Worst Records vs. Top 10 Power Rated Teams

26. CLEVELAND: 1-15 SU & 4-10 ATS, PF/PA: 103.4 - 119.4

27. NEW ORLEANS: 1-12 SU & 3-9 ATS, PF/PA: 109.8 - 122.9

28. TORONTO: 2-8 SU & 2-8 ATS, PF/PA: 103 - 109.7

29. GOLDEN STATE: 0-6 SU & 1-5 ATS, PF/PA: 104.5 - 126.5

30. MINNESOTA: 1-6 SU & 0-6 ATS, PF/PA: 111.1 - 124.6

 

Best Records vs. Bottom 10 Power Rated Teams

1. MIAMI: 12-2 SU & 10-3 ATS, PF/PA: 115.1 - 104.4

2. TORONTO: 8-0 SU & 6-2 ATS, PF/PA: 120.4 - 103.1

3. CLEVELAND: 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS, PF/PA: 110.8 - 105.3

4. DALLAS: 9-2 SU & 8-3 ATS, PF/PA: 123.5 - 104.6

5. PHOENIX: 7-3 SU & 7-3 ATS, PF/PA: 119.7 - 114.9

 

Worst Records vs. Bottom 10 Power Rated Teams

26. ATLANTA: 2-3 SU & 2-3 ATS, PF/PA: 106.8 - 112

27. PHILADELPHIA: 9-1 SU & 3-5 ATS, PF/PA: 112.8 - 101.7

28. WASHINGTON: 2-4 SU & 2-4 ATS, PF/PA: 114.8 - 120

29. DETROIT: 4-9 SU & 4-9 ATS, PF/PA: 109.5 - 109.9

30. SAN ANTONIO: 4-6 SU & 2-8 ATS, PF/PA: 114.7 - 116.5

 

Best Records vs. Top 10 Fastest Pace Teams

1. DALLAS: 9-2 SU & 8-3 ATS, PF/PA: 121.2 - 110.9

2. PHOENIX: 6-5 SU & 8-3 ATS, PF/PA: 120.4 - 115.7

3. LA LAKERS: 9-0 SU & 6-3 ATS, PF/PA: 121.3 - 106.9

4. INDIANA: 7-2 SU & 6-3 ATS, PF/PA: 110.8 - 103.9

5. MIAMI: 10-3 SU & 8-4 ATS, PF/PA: 116.5 – 108

 

Worst Records vs. Top 10 Fastest Pace Teams

26. PORTLAND: 2-4 SU & 2-4 ATS, PF/PA: 115.2 - 121

27. MINNESOTA: 3-7 SU & 3-7 ATS, PF/PA: 114.5 - 122.1

28. ATLANTA: 0-7 SU & 2-5 ATS, PF/PA: 113.7 - 130.1

29. SAN ANTONIO: 4-7 SU & 2-8 ATS, PF/PA: 115.6 - 119.5

30. CHARLOTTE: 2-9 SU & 2-9 ATS, PF/PA: 106.6 - 115.9

 

Best Records vs. Bottom 10 Fastest Pace Teams

1. CHARLOTTE: 5-1 SU & 5-1 ATS, PF/PA: 107 - 107.3

2. OKLAHOMA CITY: 2-3 SU & 4-1 ATS, PF/PA: 99.2 - 97.6

3. MIAMI: 4-1 SU & 3-1 ATS, PF/PA: 111 - 102.8

4. TORONTO: 9-2 SU & 8-3 ATS, PF/PA: 117.5 - 105.3

5. BOSTON: 9-2 SU & 7-3 ATS, PF/PA: 107.8 - 97.7

 

Worst Records vs. Bottom 10 Fastest Pace Teams

26. LA CLIPPERS: 3-1 SU & 1-3 ATS, PF/PA: 100.5 - 97

27. HOUSTON: 4-4 SU & 2-6 ATS, PF/PA: 112.4 - 113.1

28. UTAH: 2-2 SU & 1-3 ATS, PF/PA: 101 - 95.5

29. NEW ORLEANS: 2-7 SU & 2-6 ATS, PF/PA: 109.4 - 113.3

30. CLEVELAND: 1-7 SU & 2-6 ATS, PF/PA: 97.5 – 109

 

Best Records vs. Top 10 Offensive Efficiency Teams

1. BOSTON: 5-1 SU & 5-1 ATS, PF/PA: 116.7 - 108.3

2. SACRAMENTO: 5-5 SU & 8-2 ATS, PF/PA: 109.6 - 110.3

3. PHILADELPHIA: 5-2 SU & 5-2 ATS, PF/PA: 111.9 - 105.7

4. LA CLIPPERS: 10-3 SU & 8-4 ATS, PF/PA: 114 - 107.4

5. BROOKLYN: 3-3 SU & 4-2 ATS, PF/PA: 112 – 113

 

Worst Records vs. Top 10 Offensive Efficiency Teams

26. GOLDEN STATE: 1-6 SU & 2-5 ATS, PF/PA: 107.7 - 125.3

27. SAN ANTONIO: 4-8 SU & 3-9 ATS, PF/PA: 113 - 116.8

28. TORONTO: 2-7 SU & 2-7 ATS, PF/PA: 104.3 - 110.8

29. MINNESOTA: 2-6 SU & 1-6 ATS, PF/PA: 116.3 - 125.1

30. DETROIT: 1-7 SU & 1-6 ATS, PF/PA: 107.3 - 118.8

 

Best Records vs. Bottom 10 Offensive Efficiency Teams

1. MIAMI: 10-1 SU & 9-2 ATS, PF/PA: 116.5 - 104.5

2. TORONTO: 10-0 SU & 8-2 ATS, PF/PA: 114.8 - 98.4

3. LA LAKERS: 12-0 SU & 9-3 ATS, PF/PA: 111.6 - 97.7

4. CHARLOTTE: 5-3 SU & 6-2 ATS, PF/PA: 106.3 - 104.4

5. BOSTON: 8-0 SU & 5-2 ATS, PF/PA: 114 - 100.5

 

Worst Records vs. Bottom 10 Offensive Efficiency Teams

26. NEW YORK: 3-6 SU & 4-5 ATS, PF/PA: 104.6 - 109.1

27. CHICAGO: 6-6 SU & 5-7 ATS, PF/PA: 108 - 104

28. MEMPHIS: 4-6 SU & 4-6 ATS, PF/PA: 103.7 - 111.1

29. NEW ORLEANS: 2-3 SU & 2-3 ATS, PF/PA: 117 - 120.4

30. SAN ANTONIO: 3-4 SU & 2-4 ATS, PF/PA: 112.1 - 110.6

 

Best Records vs. Top 10 Defensive Efficiency Teams

1. PHILADELPHIA: 7-3 SU & 7-2 ATS, PF/PA: 106.1 - 100.1

2. SACRAMENTO: 3-6 SU & 7-2 ATS, PF/PA: 98.6 - 103.8

3. OKLAHOMA CITY: 2-8 SU & 7-3 ATS, PF/PA: 105.4 - 109

4. LA CLIPPERS: 6-3 SU & 6-3 ATS, PF/PA: 106.1 - 104.1

5. BOSTON: 4-5 SU & 6-3 ATS, PF/PA: 107 - 105.1

 

Worst Records vs. Top 10 Defensive Efficiency Teams

26. MINNESOTA: 2-7 SU & 2-6 ATS, PF/PA: 108.9 - 117.6

27. CLEVELAND: 1-13 SU & 3-9 ATS, PF/PA: 102.6 - 116.9

28. DENVER: 3-3 SU & 1-4 ATS, PF/PA: 98 - 98

29. SAN ANTONIO: 1-5 SU & 1-5 ATS, PF/PA: 103.8 - 111.2

30. PORTLAND: 0-8 SU & 1-6 ATS, PF/PA: 109.1 - 120.3

 

Best Records vs. Bottom 10 Defensive Efficiency Teams

1. TORONTO: 7-0 SU & 6-1 ATS, PF/PA: 125.1 - 107.9

2. MEMPHIS: 5-1 SU & 5-1 ATS, PF/PA: 117.3 - 112

3. MIAMI: 10-2 SU & 9-2 ATS, PF/PA: 115.4 - 104.1

4. CLEVELAND: 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS, PF/PA: 109 - 103.5

5. NEW ORLEANS: 3-1 SU & 3-1 ATS, PF/PA: 115.3 – 112

 

Worst Records vs. Bottom 10 Defensive Efficiency Teams

26. NEW YORK: 2-3 SU & 2-3 ATS, PF/PA: 104.6 - 110.6

27. PORTLAND: 2-3 SU & 2-3 ATS, PF/PA: 113 - 110.4

28. GOLDEN STATE: 3-7 SU & 4-6 ATS, PF/PA: 107.5 - 110.6

29. DETROIT: 4-7 SU & 4-7 ATS, PF/PA: 111.6 - 109.8

30. SAN ANTONIO: 5-7 SU & 2-10 ATS, PF/PA: 114.7 - 116.3

 

A few observations

 

Here are a few more thoughts to consider in handicapping the NBA season:

 

— If you missed the news, we already have seen a coach fired, as the Knicks fired David Fizdale on Dec. 6. It might have had a positive effect, as New York has won twice since then while going 4-1 ATS.

— Injuries are always a major part of the NBA handicapping routine. While critical players like Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Victor Oladipo have missed much of the season, other key players miss a game here or there. This is not a reason to fade a team, as experience has taught me that the affected team typically bands together in the early games after a key injury and tapers off thereafter. Just in the last week, the Bucks won handily without Giannis Antetokounmpo in the lineup, yet a few days later the Mavericks pulled off perhaps the most impressive win of the season, snapping the Bucks’ winning streak at 18 despite playing without Luka Doncic. Injuries are a huge part of the rigorous NBA schedule, and if you follow my daily Strength Ratings, I have logged and accounted for all games missed by key players. I also build these injury adjustments into the ratings when a player is listed as doubtful or worse. In cases when a questionable player is missing, the bettor needs to make this adjustment on his or her own.

— There have been numerous streaks this season on both sides of the won-lost argument. Besides the Bucks’ recent streak, several other instances have occurred when teams have won or lost double-digit consecutive games. I try not to step on the tracks of this train. Challenging streaks may seem like the more manly thing to do, but I prefer to ride them or let them burn out on their own.

— Load management is a popular term nowadays in the NBA. While it was probably made most famous by the Spurs in recent years, only a couple of key players really are being given this treatment regularly, Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers and Joel Embiid of the 76ers. Los Angeles is 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS in games Leonard has missed, and Philly is 3-3 SU and ATS when Embiid sits. The bottom line is not to overreact. The books have accounted for this in their numbers.

— Two key players who’ve been suspended for 25 games each are returning. Deandre Ayton was back Tuesday for Phoenix, while John Collins is due back Monday for Atlanta. Both are considered about 2-point line movers. What will be most interesting with Phoenix is to see how the team’s tempo changes with Ayton back on the floor.

 

Big games this week

 

Wednesday: Miami at Philadelphia — The Heat have been one of the early surprises in the Eastern Conference. Two of their eight losses have come at the hands of the Lakers. They have been much better at home, going 11-1 as compared to 8-7 away. The 76ers are a perfect 14-0 at home so far and, as shown earlier, boast a 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS record against other top-10 power rated teams.

Thursday TNT doubleheader: LA Lakers at Milwaukee, Houston at LA Clippers — Strangely, Milwaukee does not appear on any of our top or bottom lists for performance trends against specific-level opponents. The Lakers are on one, boasting a 9-0 SU and 6-3 record against the fastest-paced teams in the NBA. We’ll see if they can slow the Bucks in Milwaukee. The Rockets could be a good matchup for the Clippers, as Los Angeles is 10-3 SU and 8-4-1 ATS versus teams ranked in the top 10 in offensive efficiency. Houston is No. 3. This will certainly be a great matchup of superstar duos, assuming everyone plays.

 

Stay tuned for more NBA coverage next week when I go over Christmas betting history, and for the rest of the season, in “Point Spread Weekly.”

 

back to news

Get the FREE VSiN Email

Key line movements -- and what they should mean to you -- delivered to your inbox every morning.

VSIN_300x250

QP-Texas-Winner-5-Into-2500-300x250_(2)

PropSwap_Logo_002_FullColor

Online Sports Betting Marketplace

Featured Tickets for Sale on PropSwap.com

1) SF 49ers to Win NFL Championship - Sale Price: $999, Collect: $2,000, Odds: +100

2) Gonzaga to Win NCAAB Championship - Sale Price: $216, Collect: $2,600, Odds: 11/1

3) LA Clippers to Win NBA Championship - Sale Price: $1,283, Collect: $5,000, Odds: +290

Go to PropSwap.com or call
1-844-PROPSWAP

All tickets are open to Bidding. Prices & availability are subject to change.

Google Play
App Store
Close