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NBA performance trends to watch for rest of season

By Steve Makinen  (Point Spread Weekly editor) 

February 24, 2020 10:10 AM
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As the NBA comes out of the All-Star break with only about one-third of the regular season left, the playoffs already are on the horizon. But with about two months of games before then, a lot of betting opportunities remain, especially if you believe a carryover effect exists from before to after the break. If so, this is the perfect time to take stock of the most notable scheduling tendencies emerging from the first part of the season. The idea is to recognize these trends, judge them and then apply those we believe in to the rest of the season to create new profit opportunities.

I have put together a group of 10 of the best and worst performance records concerning teams’ schedules this season. These come right off the NBA Team Reports pages in Point Spread Weekly. I then cross-referenced these games against the teams’ remaining schedules to show exactly where bettors can take advantage of the findings.

At the bottom, I’ve also handpicked nine head-to-head series trends with winning percentages of close to 90% or better. These are some of the most distinctive angles we’ve offered in that section of PSW.

For each angle, I list the team with the notable performance trend, the record of that trend with the average score of those games, an explanation and then the games for which the trend would be in play the rest of the way.

ATLANTA

Trend: On Road: 6-24 SU and 10-20 ATS

Analysis: You can usually tell a bad team by how poorly it plays on the road. Atlanta is a bad team, and its record away from home reflects that. The Hawks allow an unsightly 122.2 PPG in those contests.

Remaining games

2/24/20 - at Philadelphia

3/6/20 - at Washington

3/7/20 - at Memphis

3/16/20 - at New Orleans

3/21/20 - at Philadelphia

3/25/20 - at Golden State

3/26/20 - at Sacramento

3/28/20 - at Utah

4/5/20 - at Charlotte

4/10/20 - at Toronto

4/12/20 - at Milwaukee

DALLAS

Trend: On Road: 18-8 SU and 20-5-1 ATS, 18-8 O/U

Analysis: Quite the opposite of the Hawks, the Mavericks have been one of the league’s more pleasant surprises and should be strong again out of the break with Luka Doncic back from injury. Dallas is outscoring opponents by 7 PPG away (117.9-110.9) and covering spreads at an 80% clip.

Remaining games

2/21/20 - at Orlando

2/22/20 - at Atlanta

2/26/20 - at San Antonio

2/28/20 - at Miami

3/1/20 - at Minnesota

3/2/20 - at Chicago

3/10/20 - at San Antonio

3/16/20 - at LA Clippers

3/17/20 - at Sacramento

3/19/20 - at Portland

3/21/20 - at Phoenix

4/1/20 - at Minnesota

4/3/20 - at Memphis

4/5/20 - at Brooklyn

4/13/20 - at Denver

LA LAKERS and MILWAUKEE

Trend: 0 Days’ Rest: 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS

Analysis: The best teams typically respond to adversity the best. The most adverse scheduling situation is playing on the second of back-to-back nights. Well, the Lakers and the Bucks are the title favorites this year and by no coincidence share identical records in the back-to-back scenario. The Lakers could have more opportunities on this pending the rescheduling of their recently postponed game with the Clippers.

Remaining games

LA Lakers

3/1/20 - at New Orleans

3/16/20 - at Utah

3/22/20 - at Detroit

4/5/20 - vs. Oklahoma City

4/15/20 - at Phoenix

Milwaukee

2/25/20 - at Toronto

3/2/20 - at Miami

3/9/20 - at Denver

4/12/20 - vs. Atlanta

MIAMI

Trend: 2 + Days’ Rest: 12-1 SU and 10-2-1 ATS

Analysis: In games when the Heat have gotten more than the standard full day of rest, they have been tough to beat. It figures to pay off the rest of the way in backing a rested Miami team.

Remaining games

2/20/20 - at Atlanta

3/11/20 - vs. Charlotte

3/23/20 - vs. Oklahoma City

3/28/20 - vs. Phoenix

MINNESOTA

Trend: At Home: 7-20 SU and 6-20 ATS

Analysis: This is a tough one to comprehend as Minnesota seems to have the talent to be a much better home team than it has been. The Timberwolves also own a pitiful 9-23 ATS record against the Western Conference. Already 11 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the conference, I don’t expect a rejuvenated Minnesota team out of the break.

Remaining games

2/21/20 - vs. Boston

3/1/20 - vs. Dallas

3/4/20 - vs. Chicago

3/6/20 - vs. Orlando

3/8/20 - vs. New Orleans

3/22/20 - vs. Portland

3/24/20 - vs. Philadelphia

3/26/20 - vs. San Antonio

3/30/20 - vs. LA Lakers

4/1/20 - vs. Dallas

4/5/20 - vs. Detroit

4/7/20 - vs. Phoenix

4/9/20 - vs. Sacramento

4/15/20 - vs. New York

NEW ORLEANS

Trend: 2 Days’ Rest: 7-2 SU and 8-1 ATS, 7-2 O/U

Analysis: New Orleans is showing signs of a team that could challenge for a playoff spot in the West. The Pelicans will essentially be at full strength out of the break and were 17-6-2 ATS in their most recent 25 games. They also are succeeding in the comfortable two-day rest scenario. They’ll have four more important opportunities to extend this record down the stretch.

Remaining games

2/28/20 - vs. Cleveland

3/11/20 - at Sacramento

3/21/20 - at Memphis

3/27/20 - vs. New York

OKLAHOMA CITY

Trend: 0 Days’ Rest: 5-3 SU and 8-0 ATS

Analysis: I had the choice of several great trends regarding Oklahoma City, which is arguably the bettors’ surprise team of the first part of the season. Highlighted by a road record of 21-5 ATS, the Thunder have proven quite reliable in many betting scenarios with their rebuilt roster. And they are perfect ATS in the second of back-to-back games, with five more opportunities.

Remaining games

2/28/20 - at Milwaukee

3/4/20 - at Detroit

3/18/20 - at Atlanta

4/5/20 - at LA Lakers

4/11/20 - at Memphis

PHILADELPHIA

Trend: On Road: 9-19 SU and 9-18-1 ATS

Analysis: For as pleasant a surprise as the Thunder have been, the 76ers have been equally disappointing and perplexing. The lineup is loaded with talent, so it’s odd to see Philly struggling so badly on the road. If the season ended today, this team wouldn’t have home-court advantage in the playoffs. The 76ers will need to turn this trend around to have any hope of making playoff noise. The first road game out of the gate certainly won’t be easy but could be impactful if the 76ers play well.

Remaining games

2/22/20 - at Milwaukee

2/26/20 - at Cleveland

3/1/20 - at LA Clippers

3/3/20 - at LA Lakers

3/5/20 - at Sacramento

3/7/20 - at Golden State

3/19/20 - at Charlotte

3/24/20 - at Minnesota

3/26/20 - at Chicago

4/3/20 - at Washington

4/10/20 - at San Antonio

4/11/20 - at New Orleans

4/13/20 - at Memphis

TORONTO

Trend: 1 Day’s Rest: 27-6 SU and 22-11 ATS, 21-12 O/U

Analysis: Toronto had won 15 straight preceding the final contest before the break, a flat 10-point loss at Brooklyn. While the streak ended, it certainly doesn’t tarnish the resume of the defending East champ. Even without Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors remain formidable, and their record in games in standard one-day rest scenarios could prove important come playoff time, as many postseason contests are played on that schedule. 

Remaining games

2/23/20 - vs. Indiana

2/25/20 - vs. Milwaukee

3/1/20 - at Denver

3/3/20 - at Phoenix

3/5/20 - at Golden State

3/16/20 - vs. Golden State

3/18/20 - at Philadelphia

3/20/20 - vs. Boston

3/22/20 - vs. Denver

3/24/20 - vs. LA Lakers

3/30/20 - vs. Memphis

4/1/20 - at Milwaukee

4/3/20 - vs. Milwaukee

4/5/20 - at Houston

4/7/20 - at Washington

4/10/20 - vs. Atlanta

4/12/20 - vs. New York

4/14/20 - at Miami

WASHINGTON

Trend: 0 Days’ Rest: 4-3 SU and 6-1 ATS

Analysis: The Wizards haven’t done a whole lot well, but the back-to-back scheduling scenario is a spot where they have rewarded their backers handsomely. With six more opportunities on the horizon, continued success could help Washington creep back into the playoff picture.

Remaining games

2/24/20 - vs. Milwaukee

3/4/20 - at Portland

3/16/20 - at Philadelphia

3/21/20 - vs. Milwaukee

3/28/20 - vs. LA Lakers

4/11/20 - at Charlotte

Top head-to-head trends to consider the rest of the way:

Here are the dates of upcoming games and details of some top head-to-head series trends you’ll want to consider in the rest of the regular season.

2/20, 3/23: Milwaukee is on a 9-0-1 ATS run vs. Detroit

2/21, 3/3: Phoenix is on a 12-0 ATS streak vs. Toronto

2/21, 3/20, 3/30: Denver is on a 10-0 ATS streak vs. Oklahoma City

2/28: Detroit is on a 14-1 ATS run vs. Phoenix

3/8: Underdogs are on a 14-1-1 ATS run in WAS-MIA series

3/10: Underdogs are on a 19-2 ATS run in CHI-CLE series

3/12, 4/13: Under the total is 15-1 in last 15 of CHI-ORL series

3/14, 4/15: Over the total is on an 11-0-1 run in the ATL-CLE series

3/17: Sacramento is on a 10-1-1 ATS surge at Dallas

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