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Home court not that favorable for covers in NBA

Jan 6, 2009 5:00 PM
Bettin’ on B’ball by Andy Iskoe |
last week

Through this past Sunday, NBA road teams were hitting nearly 54 percent against the spread (ATS).

Home teams normally enjoy great success straight up and such is again the case this season. Through last Sunday a total of exactly 500 games have been played with home teams winning 296, or 59.2 percent.

Yet there are some surprising stories within those results.

Normally teams will perform better at home than on the road. Very few teams have winning records away from home and usually they are the elite in the league – those that win in excess of 50 or more games over a full season.

It is extremely rare for any team to actually have a better road record than home record. Yet more than a third of the way through, New Jersey and the Los Angeles Clippers have better road records than home. And neither team is considered a playoff contender.

The Nets are a poor 6-12 at home but a solid 10-6 on the road. On the left coast the Clippers are a weak 3-14 at home but a marginally better 5-11 on the road. To reiterate, these results are straight up, not point spread.

On the court the Los Angeles Lakers have passed Boston with the league’s best record, 27-5. The Celtics have slumped of late, dropping four of their last 10 games and tied in the loss column with Cleveland for the best record in the East.

And very quietly Orlando at 26-8 is within distance of overtaking both Boston and Cleveland. Holding down the fourth seed in the East is surging Atlanta at 22-11. The Hawks are 15-2 at home and 8-2 in their last 10.

The Lakers at 27-5 are well on their way to securing the top seed in the Western Conference.

Here’s a look at three attractive matchups this weekend:

Celtics at Cavs (Fri): The Cavs and Celtics opened the season in Boston with the Celts winning 90-85, just barely missing the point spread cover by a point. The Cavs’ LeBron James is becoming more of a team leader in addition to perhaps being the best player in the game. Given Boston’s recent efforts, this is a good time for Cleveland to face the Celts. CAVS.

Pistons at Jazz (Sat): Detroit gets a chance for payback after losing at home to the Jazz 120-114 last month. After losing to Atlanta in their next game, the Pistons have reeled off 7 straight wins to start the week. Utah has gone just 2-4 since beating the Pistons and continues to be saddled with injuries to key players. Detroit is 9-6 on the road and should get a few points here. PISTONS.

Magic at Spurs (Sun): Orlando has a 90-78 win over the Spurs. San Antonio had won the previous three meetings, each by double digits. The Spurs have played better of late while Orlando has been consistent all season. The Magic are 14-4 against the West. They figure to get points and could win straight up. MAGIC.