What you see isn’t necessarily what you get
January 05, 2018 9:15 AM
by Mark Mayer
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first slam dunk in our 2018 NBA edition of the Dirty Dozen, which emphasizes the very worst in the Association over the past week from a betting perspective.)
Looking at the NBA standings nothing appears out of the ordinary. Golden State, Cleveland, and Houston continue to pile up the victories while Orlando, Sacramento and the rebuilding LA Lakers are what we thought they were.
But a closer look reveals something entirely different and from a betting perspective that is knowledge with a price tag. You see winners don’t necessary cover a lot and some losers more often than not do.
The NBA remains an 82-game grind, unlike the National Hockey League which this season more than any other is giving teams breaks in order to keep its product fresh and lessen the chance of injuries.
When you see the Lebrons play, it’s not the 25-13 record that you should notice, but rather the 12-25-1 against the number – worst among the 30 NBA franchises. And the Cavaliers are not alone. Houston is 27-10 yet 17-19-1 ATS. Golden State for all its firepower is only 18-21 versus the number.
On the other end is Utah which is 19-19 ATS – much better than its 16-22 overall mark. So how do you explain it? Well, motivation could be one reason. After all the playoffs are everything and teams do tend to take more than a few regular season games lightly.
A full schedule always lends itself to some sloppy, tired performances. Philadelphia is an exciting team to watch but they can’t keep Joel Embiid in the lineup for consecutive games. And Brooklyn, which may never get to .500, nevertheless has become a pretty good cover team.
Even the Knicks showed signs of life at MSG with 7-foot rising superstar Kristaps Porzingis, but of late his play has been disappointing and the record has dipped below .500.
With all this Lonzo ball of confusion our panel did produce a first Dirty Dozen list that hopefully will give bettors a guide on who is trending down.
12. Utah (19-19 ATS): No team works harder than the Jazz.
11. Houston (17-19-1): Rockets talk a much better game.
10. Minnesota (17-20-2): Underachieving with all that young talent.
9. Golden State (15-19-3): We just wish they were underdogs more.
8. Miami (16-19-2): Things are looking up for the Heat.
7. LA Lakers (17-20): Well at least the loudmouth dad is in Lithuania.
6. Sacramento (15-19-3): Oh for the days of Chris Webber!
5. Charlotte (15-19-3): Can Michael Jordan ever get it right?
4. Oklahoma City (16-23): Knicks fans will blame Carmelo.
3. Memphis (13-23-2): It may finally be time to let Marc Gasol go.
2. Orlando (13-25-1): We forgot when the Magic were good.
1. Cleveland (12-25-1): Can’t blame Isaiah Thomas.
Encore: You may want to throw a small wager on Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan for league MVP. His odds are high and so is his production.