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Reply To: NBA • Monday Service Plays • 12/7/15

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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 7
by Al McMordie

We’re 303 games into the season, so some trends have started to take shape. Road teams have covered 54% (163-137-3 ATS), including 56% (113-89-1 ATS) as underdogs. And, with respect to totals, ‘Unders’ have won the money 53.5% (159-138-6). The best teams “in Vegas” this season have been Orlando (13-6-1 ATS), Golden State (15-7 ATS) and Toronto (14-7 ATS), while the worst have been the Lakers (6-14 ATS) and Houston (7-14 ATS). Here are some other situations to keep an eye on this week.

Spread Watch

The Houston Rockets have covered their last three games. And this 3-game SU/ATS win streak is on the heels of an 11-game stretch, in which Houston went 3-8 SU and 1-10 ATS. Certainly, one of Houston’s biggest problems has been the integration of point guard Ty Lawson. When Houston traded for him in the off-season, many thought it was the move which could push Houston to the top of the Western Conference. But Lawson currently ranks an unbelievable #412 (of 416) in RPM and #288 (of 321) in PER. Still, Lawson has been told by management that he will not be traded, and he’s definitely starting to play better. Over his last four games, he’s 11-for-23 from the floor, including 5-for-8 from long distance. With its next six games against teams currently out of the Playoff picture (including a revenge match-up against Brooklyn on Tuesday), don’t be surprised if Houston’s win streak reaches nine games.

Total Watch

The Golden State Warriors are averaging an eye-popping 115 ppg, and have played their last six games ‘Over’ the total. Interestingly, the Warriors are averaging four more points on the road (116.9) than at home (112.9). And that’s led them to go ‘Over’ the total in nine of 12 road games (compared to just four of 10 at home). This week, the Dubs will conclude their seven-game road trip with games at Indiana, Boston and Milwaukee. The Pacers have played six of their last eight ‘Over’ the total, while the Bucks have gone ‘Over’ in 10 of their last 13, so those two situations surely bear watching.

Injury Watch

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert suffered an MCL sprain in his left knee during practice last week, and will likely be sidelined 1-2 months. This is a huge blow to Utah, as Gobert ranks #63 (of 416) in RPM, including #33 in Defensive RPM. Without his shot-blocking, rebounding and overall defensive prowess, Utah has given up an average of 111 ppg in its two games since his injury. Both games also went ‘Over’ the total. The Jazz were 11-5 ‘Under’ the total prior to his injury, and had given up 94 ppg, so this trend is something to take note of this upcoming week in Utah’s games vs. Sacramento, New York and Oklahoma City (twice).

Schedule Watch

Early in an NBA season, there are often schedule imbalances. Some teams open with a home-heavy slate of games, while others are saddled with a bunch of road games. So, rather than focus on a team’s win percentage, I like to assign teams a numerical rating, whereby I subtract their number of home losses from their road wins. Thus, the best teams are Golden State (+12), San Antonio (+6), Indiana (+4), Dallas (+4), and Toronto (+4). If one just looked at raw win percentage, Indiana would be sixth, while Dallas and Toronto would be tied for 10th. The common thread which runs through the early schedules of Indiana, Dallas and Toronto is that each has played a majority of their games on the road. So, even though the Pacers currently are the league’s 4th best team, in terms of scoring margin (+5.1 ppg), the fact that the team above them (Oklahoma City, +5.3 ppg) has played 12 of its 20 games at home, means the Pacers are actually the 3rd best team, when scoring margin is adjusted for schedule strength. This week, the Pacers will welcome the undefeated Warriors to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday. Indiana has covered 12 of its last 16, though it’s currently on a 2-game SU/ATS losing streak following upset losses to Portland and Utah. Still, Indiana will have one advantage on Tuesday, as it will play with two days’ of rest. Don’t be surprised if Paul George & Co. hand Golden State its first defeat, as the Pacers are 47-27 ATS since 1991, if they’re off an upset loss, and playing with at least two days’ of rest. Good luck, as always…Al McMordie. A