Digging for trends in NBA Team Reports

By Steve Makinen  (Point Spread Weekly editor) 

February 23, 2021 09:42 PM

In talking about Point Spread Weekly with readers, I always get the feeling they are underutilizing some of the regular features offered each week. One of those sections I feel readers may breeze over most is the Team Reports, offered for NBA, NHL, college basketball and MLB in season. The truth is that there are a lot of hidden nuggets that can be found on these pages, particularly in the NBA, where the schedule and situational records are unveiled.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to show some of the value that can be found in this week’s NBA Team Reports by picking out 10 early-season trends that have defined some of the teams. Along with a brief explanation of some of these situational trend records, I’ve also put together a list of some upcoming games in which that trend will come into play. The league will be releasing its second-half schedule soon, so obviously other opportunities will arise when that happens.

10 Top NBA Team Reports Trends for 2021

L.A. CLIPPERS are 5-0 SU and ATS when playing on the second of back-to-back days.

This is an unusual trend in that the Clippers are often resting one or both of their stars, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, in this scenario. Still, they’ve been quite successful so far in the 2020-21 season.

Upcoming game to utilize trend:

Feb. 26: at Memphis

CHICAGO is 12-12 SU and 15-8 ATS when on either back-to-back days or on a single day of rest.

Short-rest scenarios have not hurt the Bulls’ play this season, in fact, if anything, they have been better in such cases. This isn’t a huge surprise for a young team that doesn’t need as much rest as much as older clubs.

Upcoming games to utilize trend:


Feb. 26: PHOENIX

Feb. 28: at Toronto

March 1: DENVER

March 3: at New Orleans

CLEVELAND is 4-1 SU and ATS when playing with two or more full days of rest.

Cleveland’s struggles in 2020-21, particularly lately in losing at least 13 straight games ATS, are well documented. However, the Cavs have been strangely good in the five games they’ve played off two or more days of rest. Unfortunately, with the jam-packed schedule this season, those opportunities are few & far between.

Upcoming game to utilize trend:

Feb. 27: at Philadelphia

GOLDEN STATE is 7-8 SU and 5-10 ATS against the Eastern Conference.

Golden State boasts a profitable 10-6 ATS record against its West rivals this season but has gone 5-10 ATS against the East. The Warriors are also 10-5 Under the total in these games. The reason? They are scoring 5.9 points per game fewer (117.2-111.3). It’s an interesting early dynamic as the East teams seem to be better prepared for Golden State.

Upcoming games to utilize trend:

Feb. 24: at Indiana


BROOKLYN is 14-4 Over the total on standard one-day rest.

The NBA schedule is essentially designed around a play-one-day, rest-one-day routine with obvious exceptions for every team. However, most teams play most of their games on this routine. Brooklyn has functioned very well offensively in this scenario under first-year coach Steve Nash. The Nets are averaging 123.4 points per game in such games, about five points better than in all others. The result is a lot of Overs on totals.

Upcoming games to utilize trend:

Feb. 25: ORLANDO

Feb. 27: DALLAS

March 1: at San Antonio

March 3: at Houston

DALLAS is 7-8 SU and 4-11 ATS at home this season.

This is a continuation of last season when the Mavericks were a much better team on the road for bettors. They were only 15-19 ATS at home last season, and they are 4-11 ATS to start this season (not counting Tuesday’s result). 

Upcoming games to utilize trend:


MIAMI is 7-11 SU and 6-11 ATS versus Eastern Conference foes in 2020-21.

The Heat’s rivals in the East have been chomping at the bit to get a shot at the defending conference champions. To be fair, Miami has endured a ton of injury issues and hasn’t been able to click the same way it did in the bubble environment in Orlando last summer. Opponents are taking advantage.

Upcoming games to utilize trend:

Feb. 24: TORONTO

Feb. 28: ATLANTA

March 2: ATLANTA

Washington is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five games entering Tuesday’s clash versus the Clippers.

It’s easy for bettors to ride teams like Utah that have been so fantastic in 2020-21, but it takes some guts to start backing a bottom feeder like Washington when it gets hot. Heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Clippers, the Wizards had put together a season high five-game SU and ATS winning streak. They did it by playing well on both ends of the court. They scored 126.5 points per game in the most recent four, shooting almost 51% from the floor. The pricing by oddsmakers doesn’t tend to run up on the league’s lesser teams when they’re playing well.

Upcoming games to utilize trend:

Feb. 25: at Denver


Feb. 28: at Boston

March 2: MEMPHIS

March 4: L.A. CLIPPERS

SAN ANTONIO is 5-0 SU and ATS against the Eastern Conference.

With Monday night’s win at Indiana, the Spurs stayed perfect against East teams this season. Not coincidentally, heading into the rest of this week’s games, they are five games over .500 overall. Simply put, San Antonio has been mediocre against its West rivals (-2.8 PPG differential) but spectacular against East foes (+ 10.4 PPG).

Upcoming games to utilize trend:


March 2: NEW YORK

PHOENIX is 7-1 SU and ATS when playing on the second of back-to-back days.

I wrote earlier about how Chicago was a young team that didn’t seem to be bothered by short-rest scenarios. The same goes for the Suns, who have played their best ball in a situation that most veteran teams despise … the second game of a back-to-back. Phoenix has won seven of eight games in that typically difficult scheduling spot, excelling on both ends while outscoring opponents by 12 points per game.

Upcoming games to utilize trend:

Look at the second-half schedule when it’s released. 

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