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NBA Mid-Season Report
NBA Mid-Season Report
By Brad Young
We are at the midway point of the NBA’s 82-game regular season, meaning noticeable trends are popping up all over the box scores. While most of the focus is on top teams like Boston, Detroit and Phoenix with solid straight-up records, the best teams to back against the spread include squads like Washington, Orlando and New Orleans.
Boston has been a beast in the Eastern Conference, storming out to a 32-6 SU ledger. The Celtics are still a profitable 23-13 ATS, going 10-5 versus the number on their home court and 13-8 on the road. Boston currently enjoys the biggest advantage of any division leader right now, 11½ games ahead of second-place Toronto. To give you an indication of how wide that margin is, Detroit leads the Central Division over last-place Milwaukee by 12½ games.
Speaking of the first-place Pistons, they are 29-12 SU and 25-15 ATS. Detroit has been cashing tickets at a 12-6 clip on its home court, while going a more modest 13-9 ATS away from home. Ironically, the Pistons are the only Central Division team that has a winning ATS home record. Chicago has struggled to a 6-13 ATS home record, while Cleveland is 6-12, Indiana has gone 9-10 versus the number and Milwaukee is 7-9.
Phoenix is 29-12 SU, but just 18-22 ATS atop the Pacific Division standings ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers by 1½ games. The Lakers have the best home ATS ledger in this division at a modest 12-9, while the front-running Suns are the worst team cashing tickets at 8-11.
The best team to back the first half of the season has been the Washington Wizards (21-17 SU, 24-13 ATS), Orlando Magic (25-17 SU, 26-15 ATS) and the New Orleans Hornets (27-12 SU, 25-14 ATS). Orlando and Washington continue to slug it out atop the Southeast Division standings, with the Magic holding a slight couple game lead over the Wizards.
New Orleans has been the surprise team in the Southwest Division standings, entering the start of the week tied with the Dallas Mavericks (27-12 SU, 17-20 ATS) and ahead of defending league-champion San Antonio (25-13 SU, 18-20 ATS). However, the Spurs do have the best ATS-home ledger in the division with a modest 13-10 record versus the number.
There are also a couple of great teams to fade, cashing tickets with more regularity than some of the top-ATS teams. New Jersey is mired in the middle of the Atlantic Division standings, 15 games behind Boston. The Nets are just 18-22 SU, and an even worse 15-25 ATS. New Jersey has gone a modest 9-8 ATS on the road, but has struggled to a dismal 6-17 ATS home ledger.
Chicago entered the season with high hopes after last year’s surprising 49-33 record. However the Bulls are just 16-23 SU this season and languishing in fourth place, barely ahead of last-place Milwaukee. Chicago is a meager 14-25 ATS, including a 6-13 record at home while going 8-12 on the road.
Another team that has failed to live up to preseason expectations on the court and inside the sportsbook has been the Miami Heat. This franchise won the NBA title just a couple years ago, but currently has the second-worst record in the league.
Miami is 15½ games behind Orlando in the Southeast Division standings, and 7½ games behind fourth-place Charlotte. The Heat are 8-31 SU, and 14-25 ATS with a team that has remained mostly intact since winning the title. Miami has gone a nondescript 10-11 ATS on the road, but is a horrible 14-25 ATS when playing in front of its own fans.
Lastly, the Minnesota Timberwolves were expected to struggle this year after trading Kevin Garnett to Boston. They have lived down to those expectations with the worst record in the league, going just 5-34 SU and 15-23 ATS. Minnesota has really struggled on its homecourt, going just 5-12 ATS in 18 outings while going a more modest 10-11 ATS on the road.