Last week, we examined the analytics for NHL teams.
Today, let's do the same for the NBA.
Analytics can be a very useful tool when handicapping any sports, and especially the NBA which has so many games. This is because analytics are more meaningful with excessive data. The more data we have, the more likely the results are to be accurate insofar as predicting future outcomes.
Many websites provide reliable analytics. I suggest looking at season-long data, as well as shorter-term data. Short-term data means within the last 5 of 10 games (some sites show more recent results, which should be weighed into handciapping since teams will often improve or decline as the season goes along).
Now five months into the 2020-2021 season, we have a wealth of information available to us. Let's examine some outlier discoveries.
Here's the latest data from a site called EV Analytics:
NBA RESULTS FOR ALL TEAMS (POINTSPREAD RESULTS)
Here are a few major takeaways, keeping in mind this is not win-loss results, but rather against-the-spread data:
(1) The New York Knicks have been one of the NBA's best bets this season. New York's NBA woes over the years are well-documented. This was one of the worst-run teams in all of pro sports. So, the 2021 season has been both a major surprise and a huge turnaround. Betting on the playoff- bound Knicks in every game on the pointspread this year would have produced 35 wins and 21 losses, netting nearly a +19 percent return on investment.
(2) The Memphis Grizzliers are the best team in the league against-the-spread, so far. Surprisingly, the Grizzlies are the bettors' best freind when it comes to covering. Nevermind that Memphis is barely a .500 team; against-the-spread, the Grizzliers are money makers. Memphis (29-26 SU) are 35-20 versus the number and +21.5 percent in profits betting them in every game this season.
(3) The Houston Rockets are not only the NBA's worst team, they're also the biggest losers against-the-spread. It's no surprise the toxic wasteland known as the Houston Rockets own the worst record in the league. However, that usually doesn't translate into terrible pointspread results. Since bad teams usually get lots of points on the betting line, they tend to perform significantly better from a gambling perspective. Not the Rockets. They stink straight up. They stink against-the-spread. Betting on Houston in every game this season wouldn't just be insane, it would have been a financial disaster. The Rockets are 18-38 versus the number, netting -38.5 percent in losses overall. That's staggeringly awful. (Note: By contrast, even the horrid Buffalo Sabres in the NHL only lost -27 percent for their backers.)
(4) Some other really bad bets this season include Cleveland, Toronto, and Miami. No team comes close to the Houston Rockets in terms of moneykillers. However, the Cavs, Raptors, Pacers, and Heat have each burned bettors. Wagering on these three teams netted between 18-20 percent in losses, this season. The caveat here is that all three of these teams have won NBA titles within the last decade (the Raptors just two seasons ago).
(5) Finally, look for teams that could be turning the corner. One such example is the Washington Wizards. Betting on the Wiz in every game would have produced slightly above break-even results this season (+3 percent ROI). However, since the All-Star break, Washington is one of the best teams in the league against-the-spread. As of Apr. 17th, they've covered in 7 of their last 10. Teams like the Wizards could be wise bets the remainder of the season since the betting public might not be catching on to improvements and better pointspread results.