Injuries bettors should be aware of
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - As the NBA is heading to the All-Star Break, there are teams that are either tanking to attempt to gain one of the top picks in the 2014 Draft or they have so many injuries, they can't keep up with the rest of the league.
The betting public still loves the chalk and teams like Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Indiana are going to get a lot of love even if they have injuries. Oklahoma City has played without star point guard Russell Westbrook since Dec. 25, yet they have covered 16 of the last 26 games with Kevin Durant leading the team in assists.
San Antonio has struggled with injuries all season long. They lost guard Manu Ginobili (hamstring), Kiwi Leonard (hand), Tiago Splitter (calf) and Danny Green (wrist) for numerous injuries, yet they are still in first place in the Southwest Division. Yet the injuries are starting to catch up to the Spurs are there's no better time for them than right now to gain some rest. Ginobili, Green and Splitter should all be back after the break, but Leonard will probably be out another week or two. They've have lost three straight against the spread and have only covered three of their last 10.
Nobody has been hampered by injuries this season more than the Los Angeles Lakers. It started with Kobe Bryant, who injured his knee on Dec. 17, after he was attempting to come back from a torn Achilles. The Lakers are just 18-34 and they've lost a team-record six straight at home. But the Lakers are a decent 27-24-1 against the spread and 16-13 on the road against the spread.
This is the same team that had just five players on the floor and nobody on the bench due to injuries to Nick Young and Jordan Farmar, while Chris Kaman had fouled out. Despite that, the Lakers still beat woeful Cleveland, 119-108. Steve Nash (leg), Steve Blake (arm), Xavier Henry (knee), Pau Gasol (groin), Jodie Meeks (calf), Nick Young (knee), Bryant (knee) and Farmar (calf) are all on the injury report. Can the Lakers still cover with all these players out or are they undervalued?
The Denver is another team that has been bitten by the injury bug. With the Nuggets, it's more about the quality of the injuries than the quantity. They opened the season without one of their best players in Danilo Gallinari, who is now out of the season with a knee injury. Since then, the injuries have really started to climb led by center JaVale McGee's leg injury and backup guard Nate Robinson ACL tear that will cost them both the season.
Denver is 22-28 against the spread and they have failed to cover in their last three. Their starting point guard-Ty Lawson-has been hampered by a ribs issue and may miss more time after the break. Without Lawson, the Nuggets are unable to push the temple and they've had trouble scoring and defending.
Milwaukee (19-32 against the spread) is the worst team in the league and also has the worst record against the spread. The Bucks have been hit hard by injuries all season long, starting with shooting guard Carlos Delfino (foot) and going through their latest issue with Larry Sanders (eye) and John Henson (foot). Both players are excellent shotblockers and without them, the Buck can't really stop people. Yet while they have lost three straight, they have covered four of five. This is a team to watch in the second half, but make sure you don't get an an overinflated line.
Finally, one of the teams who have overachieved in the first half is Atlanta (25-25 SU), but they are starting to show signs if crumbling. The Hawks have lost four straight straight up and against the spread. It's understandable that the Hawks would have issues with All-Star center Al Horford out for the season and Pero Antic (ankle) out until late February.
Check out these teams in the second half of the season that are hampered by injuries and if you have a quality line, go against them.