Putting our focus on against the spread for each NBA team

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Although the Warriors opened the week 20 games above .500, Saturday’s 135-90 win over the Portland Trail Blazers ended a run of five consecutive games without a cover. Golden State is 13-14-1 against the spread entering Tuesday’s showdown with Northwest Division-leading Utah, so oddsmakers have done a nice job pricing games out of range for the superteam.

After hosting the Jazz, the Warriors hit the road for a three-game road swing that culminates with the Christmas day clash against defending champion Cleveland. What better time than now to examine how NBA teams have fared against the spread, since it’s clear that betting favorites haven’t necessarily fared well given the burden of a spread.

Atlanta: The Hawks started 9-2 overall and 8-3 ATS, but have gone 4-12 against the number since. With Paul Millsap back from a hip injury and Dwight Howard re-emerging a force, look for this group to start turning things around.

Boston: The Celtics were the betting favorite to not only win the Atlantic, but also to finish second to the Cavs in the Eastern Conference. They’ve won consecutive games, but have basically been a .500 team straight up and against the spread and haven’t had a winning or losing streak longer than three thus far.

Brooklyn: Despite being projected to supplant the 76ers as the NBA’s worst team, the Nets covered six of their first seven and have only had one streak of failed covers, a five-game skid from Nov. 18-27.

Charlotte: The Southeast Division leaders snapped a season-high four-game skid without a cover by pulling off a Saturday night upset at Atlanta. The Hornets will be home for four of six to end 2016.

Chicago: The Bulls open the week having dropped seven of eight against the number, a rough stretch that has seen them go 2-6 outright. We’ll see if the team’s lack of athleticism continues to be a problem.

Cleveland: The Cavs have been streaky in covering the number, putting together runs of five consecutive games failing to do so and five straight where they dominated and cashed. They enter the week 3-5 as a double-digit favorite.

Dallas: The Mavericks are 8-4 ATS since Nov. 27 after opening 4-12. With Dirk Nowitzki likely to return at some point, look for this group to continue improving.

Denver: The Nuggets have put together a five-game cover streak and enter the week on a solid run after averaging 129.5 points per game in home wins over the Blazers and Knicks. With Gary Harris back, this is a group that should continue improving.

Detroit: The Pistons are 7-4 ATS at home, so even though they’re moving back to the city next season, they’re making good use of Auburn Hills for now.

Golden State: As stated above, the Warriors entered the week a sub -.500 team against the spread.

Houston: The Rockets have been fantastic for most of the season. They’ve won 10 consecutive games entering the week, going 7-3 ATS in that stretch to continue their strong run.

Indiana: This group opened 2-10 against the spread, but has been at about .500 since then. If Myles Turner continues improving, they should become reliable.

L.A. Clippers: After a 10-1 start where they covered the number nine times, the Clips have come back down to earth and have actually had three separate runs of four games or more where they failed to cover the spread.

L.A. Lakers: The Lakers opened on a fantastic run, but come off a stretch where they failed to cover in eight straight games, all outright losses.

Memphis: Even without Mike Conley, the Grizzlies persevered and have been one of the NBA’s best surprises as David Fizdale has hit the ground running in his first year as head coach.

Miami: Fizdale was a long-time assistant here before moving on, and the Heat certainly miss him, among others. Despite their struggles, the Heat have had a pair of four-game streaks where they were able to cover the number.

Milwaukee: As has been the case straight up, the Bucks have been a .500 team but continue on the rise since Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker are making tremendous process.

Minnesota: Tom Thibodeau’s squad failed to cover in five of their first six and have had three separate streaks of three or more where they didn’t come through for backers. The Timberwolves open with a three-game streak of covers despite a 1-2 mark and should begin a resurgence.

New Orleans: Now that Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans are healthy, Anthony Davis has help. The Pelicans are 2-7 over their last nine and opened 1-5 against the spread, so they’re way behind.

New York: The Knicks had a run of covers in 10 of 12 from Nov. 20 through Dec. 11 and are looking forward to a playoff chase they haven’t been a part of in years. Derrick Rose’s back issues must be monitored.

Oklahoma City: The Thunder have had a six-game run of prosperity, but are entirely reliant on Russell Westbrook, who has shown signs of wearing down of late.

Orlando: The Magic had a run of three consecutive games going over the posted total ended in a 109-79 home loss on Sunday, but have only covered more than two straight games once.

Philadelphia: The NBA’s long-time laughingstock have had two streaks of three straight covers, but enter the week on their first three-game run of the season where they’ve failed to cover. For the season, they’ve still been on the right side more often than not.

Phoenix: The Suns have yet to drop three straight covers, but are in danger of doing so if they fail to do so in Minnesota on Monday.

Portland: The Blazers have been awful against the spread all season, failing to cover in seven straight from Nov. 8-17. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum may be a top backcourt, but a lack of defense has been an issue all season.

Sacramento: DeMarcus Cousins’ squad goes as he does, so it’s no surprise they’re under .500 and have been remarkably inconsistent.

San Antonio: After covering against Phoenix before Tim Duncan’s jersey retirement ceremony, the Spurs have come through four consecutive times entering this week’s three-game road swing.

Toronto: The Raptors entered the week 12-2 in their last 14 games and have been the NBA’s most reliable team against the number all season as DeMar DeRozan continues breaking out.

Utah: The Jazz have Derrick Favors back to aid Rudy Gobert inside and have covered four of five to start the week. Look for continued progress.

Washington: John Wall’s squad has been disappointing due to an awful bench, but have started putting things together and have covered three consecutive games for the first time this season entering the week.

Website: VegasInsider.com

About the Author
Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia

Tony Mejia has been a national writer for nearly two decades and has covered NBA and college basketball as a columnist, analyst, handicapper, and bracketologist for CBS Sports, Pro Basketball News, and numerous other sites.

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