As the NFL season winds down and heads to the Playoffs more attention will start being given to the NBA.
The season, which started at the end of October, is roughly one quarter complete and the biggest story of the season’s first seven weeks has been the amazing play by the Golden State Warriors.
There were many who questioned the firing of Coach Mark Jackson following last season in which the Warriors went 51-31 before losing to the LA Clippers in the Playoffs’ opening round. But there were reports of internal disharmony and the decision to jettison the coach and former NBA player and TV analyst was made.
In came another former player and analyst to make his coaching debut, the highly regarded Steve Kerr. Despite his lack of coaching experience, his knowledge of the game and its many intricacies was evident.
The Warriors were expected to have another fine season and be one of several challengers to defending champion San Antonio for Western Conference supremacy. But nobody could have rationally envisioned the kind of start Golden State has fashioned.
The Warriors start this week with the NBA’s best record, an astounding 21-2 and winners of a franchise record 16-straight games. And their early season schedule has been marked by more road games than home games. The Warriors are 13-1 on the road and 8-1 at home. They are also 16-6-1 ATS, indicative that the linesmakers have not yet caught up.
But that sort of success cannot hold up and we can expect the Warriors to suffer defeats both on the court and at the betting windows in the coming weeks. But a long time truism is not to try and guess when that reversal will begin. The Warriors will be overpriced in the short term and there will be opportunities to go against Golden State once they show signs of slowing down.
We cannot guess when that reversal will begin. As the Warriors keep winning that attitude just keeps building and getting reinforced. Lest you think the Warriors have feasted on the NBA’s weakling for most of their success it is worth noting Golden State is 6-1 both SU and ATS against “elite” teams – those winning at least 65 percent of their games.
Overshadowed by Golden State’s hot start has been the 19-4 start of Memphis, the 18-5 start by Houston and Portland’s 18-6 start. Those are the top four teams in the West and there are three other teams in the West at least 9 games above .500 (San Antonio, Dallas and the LA Clippers).
Also under the radar has been Toronto’s 18-6 start in the East. And perhaps just as impressive has been Chicago’s overcoming of numerous injuries to start 15-8.
More than a quarter of the way into the season it is becoming evident this will be a season marked by an extreme contrast between the haves and the have nots. Eleven teams are winning more than 65 percent of their games. But another nine teams are winning less than 35 percent of their games.
This could be a season in which laying double digits when a “cream of the crop” team hosts one of the bottom feeders could be profitable. Through Sunday, home favorites of 10 points or more are 22-22 ATS.
Laying such a huge price on the road cannot be recommended as road favorites of 10 points or more are just 2-9-1 ATS. But don’t get greedy and consider a money line play on those big home dogs. Those double digit road favorites have won 11 of those 12 games SU.
Here’s a look at three games to be played this weekend.
Portland at San Antonio (Fri.): Coach Gregg Popovich continues to rest starters on a regular basis and not just in back-to-back situations. But with the Spurs playing at Dallas on Saturday we could see San Antonio’s starters see limited minutes.
Portland also plays on Saturday, at New Orleans. As such we could see both teams prefer a slower than normal pace in an effort to conserve energy for those games 24 hours later. UNDER.
Atlanta at Houston (Sat.): Atlanta has been another pleasant surprise with its 16-7 start although most of the Hawks’ success has come at home where they are 9-2 SU. Atlanta is just 5-5 SU on the road (6-4 ATS). Houston is 9-3 SU at home and a profitable 7-5 ATS.
Atlanta has an extra day of rest and should be a nice sized underdog in this matchup of East vs West. The lack of defense on the part of Houston’s James Harden should open things up for athletic Atlanta that is more than capable of trading points with the Rockets. ATLANTA.
Memphis at Cleveland (Sun.): Cleveland has played better of late and has been a streaky team all season, with a 4-game win streak followed by a 4-game losing streak followed by 8-straight wins. That streak ended last week and the Cavs start this week having lost two in a row.
Memphis is off to a 19-4 start which includes 8-3 on the road. The Grizzlies play defense and will be modest underdogs in this spot. MEMPHIS.
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]