A couple of years ago, the NBA started its season on Christmas Day. I’m sure there are fans and bettors alike that would make this a holiday wish every season, as the league does itself a disservice by challenging football and extending the season as far out as it does. But that’s an argument for a different day.
With the Christmas holiday coming on Sunday, a day the NBA claims to be one of its most important on the calendar, it’s a good time to take a first in-depth look at the VSiN NBA Team Report and see which scheduling and situational trends have emerged in the early part of the season. In turn, we will take these angles and fit them to upcoming games. At the conclusion of the article, I’ve included a batch of all of the top head-to-head trends for this week’s games, including the five scheduled for Christmas Day.
NBA Team Report top early-season performance angles
I’ve pulled out 15 of the top early-season angles you’re going to want to be following in the coming weeks:
BOSTON is 12-3 OVER the total at home
The Celtics are scoring 122.5 PPG in their home games this season, a prolific amount even by today’s standards. Boston is in the middle of a long seven-game homestand and will host Indiana on Wednesday, Minnesota on Friday and Milwaukee on Christmas.
CHARLOTTE is 3-17 SU and 7-12-1 ATS on a full day of rest
This is a nightmarish trend for the Hornets in that the single full day of rest is the most common scheduling situation on the slate. This is one of the key reasons Charlotte is 15 games under .500, and the team will be in this scenario for each of its next two games in Los Angeles, Wednesday vs. the Clippers, Friday vs. the Lakers.
CHICAGO is 3-12 SU and 4-11 ATS on a full day of rest
Chicago is another team that has struggled in the most common scheduling situation, and it’s a big reason why the Bulls are one of the league’s most disappointing teams to date. They face this scheduling spot again Friday in New York.
DALLAS is 5-10 SU and 3-10-2 ATS vs. the Eastern Conference
The Mavericks are another disappointing team, sitting a game under .500 as of this writing. Nonconference games have been a problem, but fortunately, they’ve already played half of the season’s allotment. The next one is on Dec. 27 versus New York.
L.A. CLIPPERS are 15-2 UNDER the total at home
The Clippers’ home games have produced just 208.8 PPG. Twenty years ago, that number would have been lofty, but today it means surefire Unders on totals. L.A. concludes a five-game homestand on Wednesday versus Charlotte before hitting the road for a lengthy trip.
L.A. LAKERS are 0-6 SU and ATS versus division opponents
After Monday’s loss to Phoenix, the Lakers own a 0-6 SU and ATS record versus Pacific Division rivals. It’s no wonder they are in last place. They will try to end the skid in a Wednesday night game at Sacramento, a place they have enjoyed success recently, as you’ll see below in the h2h trends section.
MIAMI is 10-20 ATS this season
The Heat have been an enigma in the early going, playing incredibly inconsistent basketball while dealing with seemingly endless injury woes. Part of this record includes a 3-12 ATS mark at home, and Miami hosts games on the Dec. 23, 26 and 28.
MILWAUKEE is 14-3 SU and 12-5 ATS at home
One of the big reasons that the Bucks have raced out to the league’s best record has been their performance at home. While not on the level of the epic Celtics’ 50-1 season in the ’80s, Milwaukee has performed very well at Fiserv Forum, outscoring opponents 118.2-108.2 on average. The next Bucks home game isn’t until Dec. 30.
NEW ORLEANS is 5-1 SU and ATS versus division opponents
Quite the opposite of the Lakers who’ve sunk to the bottom of the standings because of their struggles in divisional play, the Pelicans have risen to contention in the Southwest because of their strong play against their biggest rivals. New Orleans gets another chance with a Thursday night home game versus San Antonio.
NEW YORK is 7-0 SU and ATS in its last seven games
The Knicks are playing their best basketball of the season and have reached four games over .500 by winning their last seven games. In that span, they have held four teams under 100 points. New York plays four games between Tuesday and Sunday.
ORLANDO is 6-1 SU in its last seven games and has covered eight straight
The Magic are another team playing its best basketball of the season as the holiday approaches. Hopefully you’ve hopped on for the ride in the last few games, but if not, Orlando plays on Wednesday and Friday.
PHOENIX is 7-0 SU and ATS vs. division opponents
While the Lakers are winless in Pacific Division play, front-running Phoenix has yet to lose a game to a divisional rival, either straight up or against the spread. The Suns don’t play another divisional game until Jan. 10.
PORTLAND is 6-1 OVER the total in divisional games
The Blazers have played some incredibly high-scoring games versus divisional opponents this season, outscoring them 123.1-116.1 in the process. Portland’s games Wednesday versus OKC and Friday versus Denver will be two more opportunities to test this trend.
SACRAMENTO is 11-5 SU and 13-3 ATS on one full day’s rest
I detailed a couple of teams that have struggled in the NBA’s most frequent scheduling situation earlier and how it has affected their overall season record. The opposite has occurred for Sacramento, which has been a pleasant surprise thanks in large part to excelling in the one-day-rest scenario. The Kings’ games on Wednesday and Friday fit the bill.
SAN ANTONIO is 4-17 SU and 7-14 ATS versus conference foes
Quite frankly, the newest version of the Spurs is simply overmatched by Western Conference teams. The Spurs face the Pelicans on Thursday and Jazz on Monday as they try to turn things around.
Top NBA head-to-head series trends for Dec. 20-26
Here is a look a top head-to-head trends for all of this week’s gamesk. They are sorted in order of board number where applicable:
Tuesday, Dec. 20
(519) UTAH at (520) DETROIT
* DETROIT has won its last four ATS vs. Utah
(521) GOLDEN STATE at (522) NEW YORK
* GOLDEN STATE has won last four ATS at New York
(523) CHICAGO at (524) MIAMI
* Six of the last seven games in CHI-MIA h2h series went OVER the total
(525) WASHINGTON at (526) PHOENIX
* OVER the total is 9-2 in WAS-PHX h2h series since 2017
(527) MEMPHIS at (528) DENVER
* MEMPHIS is 10-4-1 ATS versus Denver since 2018
Wednesday, Dec. 21
(529) MILWAUKEE at (530) CLEVELAND
* HOME TEAMS have won last four ATS in MIL-CLE h2h series
(531) DETROIT at (532) PHILADELPHIA
* OVER the total is 8-2 in the last 10 of DET-PHI h2h series
(533) INDIANA at (534) BOSTON
* UNDERDOGS are on 7-1 ATS run in IND-BOS h2h series
(535) CHICAGO at (536) ATLANTA
* FAVORITES are 10-1 ATS in last 11 of CHI-ATL h2h series but lost last time
(537) GOLDEN STATE at (538) BROOKLYN
* BROOKLYN is on an 8-2 ATS run vs. Golden State
(539) TORONTO at (540) NEW YORK
* HOME TEAMS are 18-4 ATS in TOR-NYK h2h series since '16
(541) PORTLAND at (542) OKLAHOMA CITY
* OKLAHOMA CITY is on a four-game ATS winning streak vs. Portland
(543) DALLAS at (544) MINNESOTA
* HOME TEAMS have won last five ATS in DAL-MIN h2h series
(545) ORLANDO at (546) HOUSTON
* OVER the total is 7-2-1 in last 10 of ORL-HOU h2h series
(547) L.A. LAKERS at (548) SACRAMENTO
* L.A. LAKERS are 7-1 ATS in last eight at Sacramento but lost last time
(549) CHARLOTTE at (550) L.A. CLIPPERS
* L.A. CLIPPERS are on 7-2 ATS run vs. Charlotte
Thursday, Dec. 22
SAN ANTONIO at NEW ORLEANS
* ROAD TEAMS are on 10-3 ATS surge in SAN-NOP h2h series
WASHINGTON at UTAH
* OVER the total is 6-1-1 in last eight of WAS-UTA h2h series
Friday, Dec. 23
CHARLOTTE at .LA. LAKERS
* L.A. LAKERS have won last seven ATS versus Charlotte
CHICAGO at NEW YORK
* UNDER the total is 7-2 in last nine of CHI-NYK h2h series
DALLAS at HOUSTON
* ROAD TEAMS are on 8-2 ATS run in DAL-HOU h2h series
DETROIT at ATLANTA
* HOME TEAMS are on 6-1 ATS run in DET-ATL h2h series but lost last time
INDIANA at MIAMI
* UNDER the total is 12-4 in last 16 of IND-MIA h2h series
L.A. CLIPPERS at PHILADELPHIA
* PHILADELPHIA is 10-3 ATS vs. L.A. Clippers since 2016
MEMPHIS at PHOENIX
* UNDER the total is 6-2 in last eight of MEM-PHX series at Phoenix
MILWAUKEE at BROOKLYN
* MILWAUKEE is on 6-1 ATS run vs. Brooklyn
MINNESOTA at BOSTON
* BOSTON is on 8-0-1 ATS run hosting Minnesota
NEW ORLEANS at OKLAHOMA CITY
* OKLAHOMA CITY is 8-2-1 ATS in last 11 vs. New Orleans
PORTLAND at DENVER
* HOME TEAMS are 7-2 ATS in last nine of POR-DEN h2h series
SAN ANTONIO at ORLANDO
* SAN ANTONIO has won last four ATS vs. Orlando
TORONTO at CLEVELAND
* HOME TEAMS are on 13-2 ATS run in TOR-CLE h2h series
WASHINGTON at SACRAMENTO
* SACRAMENTO is 5-1 ATS in last six vs. Washington
Sunday, Dec. 25
(587) PHILADELPHIA at (588) NEW YORK
* FAVORITES are 6-2-1 ATS in last nine of PHI-NYK h2h series
(589) L.A. LAKERS at (590) DALLAS
* DALLAS has won last five ATS vs. L.A. Lakers
(591) MILWAUKEE at (592) BOSTON
* BOSTON is on a 14-3 ATS run vs. Milwaukee
(593) MEMPHIS at (594) GOLDEN STATE
* HOME TEAMS are 8-1 ATS in last nine of MEM-GSW h2h series
(595) PHOENIX at (596) DENVER
* PHOENIX is on 6-1 ATS run vs. Denver
Monday, Dec. 26
BROOKLYN at CLEVELAND
* CLEVELAND has won last four ATS hosting Brooklyn
CHARLOTTE at PORTLAND
* OVER the total is 4-0-1 in last five of CHA-POR series in Portland
HOUSTON at CHICAGO
* HOME TEAMS are 6-2 ATS in last eight of HOU-CHI h2h series
INDIANA at NEW ORLEANS
* UNDERDOGS are on 4-1-1 ATS run in IND-NOP h2h series
L.A. CLIPPERS at DETROIT
* ROAD TEAMS are 8-1-1 ATS in last nine of LAC-DET h2h series
MINNESOTA at MIAMI
* UNDERDOGS are 7-1-1 ATS in last nine of MIN-MIA h2h series
UTAH at SAN ANTONIO
* SAN ANTONIO is 10-3 ATS hosting Utah since ’14