NBA Data Mining and Against-the-Spread Results

Basketball Apr 09, 2021

Standings and simple win-loss records don't always tell the whole story as to what NBA teams are a good bet or a bad bet.

In fact, sometimes the numbers can be deceiving.

In today's article, we'll examine these numbers more closely and identify outlier betting situations based on the accumulated results through April 8th, 2021.

Here's a look at the overall wagering results of all NBA teams in this regular season:

So, what stands out the most?  What situations are potential buried treasure that most of the gambling public hasn't caught onto yet?

We might have made some profitable discoveries here.  Here are some notable outliers from the chart:

(1) The Phoenix Suns are the NBA's best bet against-the-spread – While the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and red hot Utah Jazz have dominated headlines much of this season, the young and talented Phoenix Suns have risen in the West and have been the NBA bettors best freind.  The Suns have posted a blistering ATS record, covering in 70 percent of their games.  No way Phoenix can continue at this current pace, but this has been an incredible run.

(2) The Utah Jazz are neck-a-neck with the Suns as ATS performers – Utah has completed two more games this season and isn't quite on par with Phoenix.  However, the Jazz have been making sweet music for their backers.  In Jan.-Feb., Utah destroyed the NBA going a remarkable 18-1-1 versus the number in one 20-game stretch.  That's never happened before.  Spreads caught up to the Jazz eventually, but they're still one of the top performers for bettors.  With an NBA-best 39-13 W-L record, the Jazz are likely headed for a #1 seeding in the West, which will make them heavy favourites in many playoff games.

(3) Memphis and New York have been the ATS under-the-radar teams –  By "under the radar teams" we're refering to teams that aren't atop the standings or looked upon a the best squads, yet which have consistently overperformed versus the pointspread.  The Grizzlies are a mediocre 26-23 team barely hanging in there as the bottom seed in a possible playoff scenario, but they're killing it for bettors as 63 percent winners (30-18-1 ATS).  The insufferable Knicks are even more of a disparity as a team with a losing W-L record at 25-27, but they've been much better covering the spread – 30-21-1 this season, good for 60 percent winners.  Going forward, there's still likely to be some value betting on these under-the-radar teams.

(4) Houston is the bottom of the NBA barrel – No surprise, the Houston Rockets are the pig of the league, a horrible team both straight-up and versus the spread.  Houston is an NBA's worst in both categories (which is unusual).  They're 14-37 SU and 17-34-1 ATS, which means they're covering just one-third of the time.  It does appear linesmakers have correctly adjusted the numbers more recently.  Since their 20-game losing steak, the Rockets are 4-4 ATS as double-digit dogs.  So, the party for betting the Rockets to crash and burn might be over.

(5) Indiana is the NBA's fraud of a team – After the trade deadline, Houston was expected to tank.  The same cannot be said of the Indiana Pacers, who have no excuses.  Despite being a middle-of-the-pack .500 team, the Pacers are bankroll killers for those who bet them.  Indiana is 20-30 ATS this season, good for only 40 percent covers.  

(6) Toronto is the NBA's most disappointing team in 2021 – The young and upcoming Raptors were considered by many to be a darkhorse contender in the Eastern Conference this season, but they got off to a terrible start and never recovered.  Toronto is 20-32 SU and nearly as bad ATS, at 21-31.  The Raptors have clearly mailed it in, going 2-8 versus the line in their last ten contests.  Guess which team Houston defeated to break their own 20-game losing streak?  That's right – the woeful Raptors.

(7) The Chicago Bulls are the home-away outlier – Hard to explain how the Bulls are so good as a road bet, while they have trouble covering spreads at home.  In Chicago, the Bulls are 10-15-1 ATS, which means they're cashing only 40 percent of the time.  However, on the road this team have been outstanding.  Chicago is an NBA's best 18-6 ATS as the visitour.  That's better than the Suns or the Jazz.  One suspects that few bettors have caught onto the Bulls prowess on the road yet, as the Bulls are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 roadies.

(8) Worst road teams to bet on: Warriors, Cavs, Bucks – The opposite of the Bulls have been three teams with very similar results.  Golden State, Cleveland, and Milwaukee each have winning records versus the spread at home, but on the road they have been money burners.  Both the Warriors and Cavaliers have gone 9-18 ATS on the highway (33 percent covers – yuck!) and the Bucks are nearly as terrible at 9-17 against the spread.  

Note:  In the next report, we'll examine some NBA O/U trends.

Check out the latest odds at SPREADS.CA, Canada's Best Bet!