The NBA season is more than a quarter complete and most teams have played at least 10 home games and 10 road games, providing enough information to form solid opinions about the prospects of each team going forward.
The Indiana Pacers have the league’s best record at 20-3 and a three-game cushion over 17-6 Miami for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. No other Eastern team has a winning record. The third best record, 12-12, belongs to Atlanta.
Boston at just 11-14 leads the Atlantic Division where all five teams are looking up to .500. Highly touted Brooklyn and New York are a combined 15-31 and have only slightly elevated their games over the past two weeks.
It remains a completely different story in the West. Portland leads the conference with its 21-4 record but two other teams have also lost just four games as both San Antonio and Oklahoma City are 19-4.
In all, nine Western Conference teams have winning records with two more teams at .500. One more team, the Lakers, is just a game below breakeven and Memphis is just three games under at 10-13.
Only 7-15 Sacramento and 6-20 Utah can lament about their geographic misfortune.
Thus it should come as no surprise to learn that in games between Eastern and Western Conference teams the Western teams hold a commanding lead. In such games the Western Conference team is 83-33 for a 71.6 winning percentage.
The point spread results are much closer but the Western teams still have a decided edge with an ATS record of 66-47-1, a of 58.4 winning percentage and a profit of 14.3 net units.
The Totals results are not very significant as 62 of those interconference games have gone OVER with 54 staying UNDER for 53.5 percent OVER. The overall results for the NBA thus far show 182 OVERs and 172 UNDERs for 51.4 percent OVERs.
Road teams, overall, have had great point spread success through the first quarter of the season, covering 196 of the 348 games that have not ended in a push – a success rate of 56.3 percent.
Insofar as individual teams are concerned Phoenix has the best point spread record at 17-5-1. Next best are Portland at 18-7 and Indiana at 16-7.
At the bottom of the point spread standings are Memphis (6-15-2), Chicago (7-15), Milwaukee (8-16) and New York (8-15).
These results bear monitoring over the next few weeks to see what adjustments are made by the lines makers as well as which teams start reversing direction irrespective of any adjustments.
Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.
Houston at Indiana (Fri.): Both teams are capable of making deep runs in the Playoffs with Indiana more likely to have a higher seed in the East than will Houston in the West. At the same time Houston will be more toughly tested in the rough Western Conference than will Indiana in the East where only Miami appears capable of challenging the Pacers.
We may see the relative difference in schedule difficulty evident in this game in which the Pacers are expected to be solid favorites. Houston has been a .500 team on the road thus far and matches up nicely against the deep Pacers. They make for an attractive underdog. HOUSTON.
OKC at San Antonio (Sat.): Two of the West’s big guns meet for the second time this season. Oklahoma City defended its home court with a 94 to 88 win in late November, covering as short 2.5 point favorites. That was one of just two road losses suffered by the Spurs to date. They will be favored in this spot and perhaps by more than just a bucket or two.
San Antonio has more options to turn to than does the Thunder and the Spurs almost always have the edge in coaching, especially after having seen an opponent earlier. Neither team played on Friday so we should get a cleanly played game. SAN ANTONIO.
Minnesota at LAC (Sun.): The Clippers are at home for a second straight night after hosting Denver on Saturday. But no travel is involved for Minnesota who played on this same court Friday night against the Lakers. The Clippers are off to a fine 16-9 start and sit atop the Pacific Division.
The Timberwolves have been a mild disappointment at 12-12 but have the talent to make a strong run at the Playoffs despite the depth of the West. They are playing with double revenge after losing a pair of close games to the Clippers in November, by 2 on this court and by 4 at home a week and a half later. MINNESOTA.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]