comfortable leads in the standings, with Cleveland 2.5 games better than second-place Chicago and Golden State three games better than the Spurs.
Division standings aren’t mentioned often, as most of the attention goes to standings within each conference. However, there are two divisions that are doing far better than the rest in terms of top-to-bottom quality. In the Eastern Conference, the Central Division has four teams currently slated in playoff position, and all four of those teams have at least 20 wins (just three teams in the other two conferences with at least 20 victories).
Over in the Western Conference, the Southwest Division also has four teams that are currently in line for a postseason berth, with the other two division having just two playoff teams each. This is an important piece of information to use when handicapping NBA games, as teams in the weaker divisions tend to look better than they really are. Likewise, a team like Detroit that is in fourth place in their division looks weaker than they really are – as they are still better than other teams that are in second place in their division. It’s no surprise then that the Pistons are the sixth-best ATS team in the league, going 20-15-1 at the betting window.
Betting on basketball has much to do with public perception – you’re not going to find many chances to get good line value backing one of the elite teams like the Warriors, Spurs, Cavs, or Thunder. And more than any other sport, the NBA’s betting lines are driven by individual star players more so than the team. For example, if LeBron James was going to sit out a game for rest purposes, the line could move five points or more. These line moves are usually an overreaction, and some star players carry more weight than others.
Kobe Bryant is in the downside of his career, although you wouldn’t know it by his All-Star votes. But because Bryant is still a star player, the Lakers have not had good line value this season even with their poor straight up record. LA is one of the worst ATS teams in the league this year, going 16-21 against the spread for a total loss of 7.1 units overall.
The Spurs have surged to a commanding lead as the best ATS team in the NBA this season, going 26-11 ATS for 13.9 units of profit. That’s an insane 70% ATS winning percentage, and they have earned more than double the profit of second-best Golden State (6.7 units of profit). Expect this online sportsbook to make it even harder for the Spurs to cover the spread, and for San Antonio’s ATS winning percentage to drop in the near future.
We’ll be back next week with another NBA betting update.