Nearly two weeks into the NBA season several teams continue to struggle out of the gate. That might be an understatement as a pair of playoff teams from last season had yet to crack the win column through Sunday.
The Brooklyn Nets went 38-44 last season and were seeded eighth in the Eastern Conference Playoffs but have started 0-7. The New Orleans Pelicans have started 0-6 after going 45-37 last season which had them seeded eighth in the West.
The poor starts are closely mirrored at the betting windows. New Orleans is 0-6 ATS while the Nets have opened 1-6 ATS. Cleveland is off to a good start as is Kevin Love.
The other winless team is not a surprise. After going 18-64 last season – third worst record in the NBA – the Philadelphia 76ers have begun this season 0-6. Expected to be bad the linesmaker anticipated a rough start for the 76ers but Philly has managed to go 3-3 ATS.
The two teams that had records worse than Philadelphia – Minnesota and the New York Knicks – have gotten off to relatively decent starts, going 3-2 and 3-4 respectively.
The kind of team that sharp bettors like to back is a relatively weak team that is not as bad as its straight up record would suggest. Such teams are often those that just cannot close games out or teams that do not quit even when well behind in the fourth quarter.
The best early season example of such a team this season is Orlando. The Magic have started 3-4 SU but are a perfect 7-0 ATS. Orlando receives very little media exposure, rarely doing anything exceptional enough to be shown on the nightly sports highlight shows. Such teams remain ‘under the radar’ as far as widespread media coverage is concerned.
Daily bettors are well tuned in to such teams and spend a great deal of time searching for signs of teams on the verge of making a pointspread run without necessarily winning games straight up. Underdogs are usually a professional bettor’s best friends.
Through Sunday, 98 games have been played and road teams have a strong 57-40 ATS edge with one game pushing. Road favorites have had early season success going 19-13 ATS as the price on home underdogs has not been high enough. The adjustments will be coming soon enough such that home teams, and home underdogs in particular, should be enjoying more success as the overall ATS results tend to hover near 50/50 as we get deeper into the season.
The UNDER has a solid 55-41 edge vs OVER with 2 pushes. Of the four games that have gone into overtime, two still stayed UNDER. The two overtime games that produced OVERS had done so by the end of regulation.
Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.
Utah Jazz at Orlando Magic (Friday): Orlando starts the week a perfect 7-0 ATS but just 3-4 SU. Hence, the Magic, as stated above, attract little attention as they continue to outperform the linesmakers, mostly in losing efforts. Utah has started 3-1 SU on the road but is off a game in Miami Thursday night. Meanwhile Orlando last played Wednesday night on this court where they already pulled an upset over Toronto last Friday. ORLANDO
Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets (Saturday): After starting the season with 3 straight 20 point losses Houston won its next 4 in a row through Sunday, including wins over Oklahoma City and at the Clippers. Dallas is 3-3 which included double digit home losses to Toronto and Charlotte. Both teams played Friday night and are traveling to this site although Dallas is playing a fourth game in five nights. Houston won 7 of 9 meetings last season including their opening round ousting of Dallas in the Playoffs with the points not coming into play in any of the 9 games. HOUSTON.
Portland Trail Blazers at Charlotte Hornets (Sunday): Despite a virtual makeover of their roster with Damian Lillard the only returning starter Portland has started 4-3 this season, including 2-1 on the road. Charlotte has started 2-4 SU but 4-2 ATS with both wins by double digits. Portland is in Game 2 of a five game road trip that includes a game in San Antonio on Monday. With a stronger roster Portland won both meetings last season but by just 2 and 8 points. The spot sets up nicely for the hosts whose two home games through Sunday have been a 2 point loss to 7-1 Atlanta and a 25 point win over Chicago. CHARLOTTE.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]