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Hoop and the Harm: Weekly NBA Betting Recap for January 5-12

Welcome to the Hoop and the Harm. This is a weekly feature on OddsShark where hoops bettors can uncover all the hottest need-to-know trends, stats and general info for the week that was on the hardwood.

The NBA is often criticized as a top-heavy league that lacks parity, and to be honest, it's a fair assumption. Barring injuries and/or a major push from another Eastern Conference team, the Cleveland Cavaliers appear well on their way to securing a third straight appearance in the NBA Finals. Out west, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors will very likely meet the Cavs there once again.

Straight-up records are one thing, but how are the NBA's best teams faring against the spread? This week we dive into how the top five clubs in the Eastern and Western conferences have done at the betting window as well as their OVER/UNDER records.

Top 5 Eastern Conference Teams

TeamSU recordATS recordOVER/UNDER record
Cleveland Cavaliers28-1016-20-219-19
Toronto Raptors25-1323-14-125-13
Boston Celtics24-1521-16-222-17
Atlanta Hawks22-1620-1814-23-1
Indiana Pacers20-1817-2123-15

Cleveland and Toronto are perceived as the top two teams in the East, but it's the Raptors who have been the more profitable club for hoops bettors. Toronto ranks as the second-best bet in the Association while also coming in as the second-best OVER bet. The reigning champion Cavs, who consistently face huge spreads, simply haven't been able to get the job done and are third-last in the NBA against the spread.

Be wary of the Hawks going forward. Atlanta currently occupies the fourth spot in the conference, but this team is sinking. The Hawks recently traded sharpshooting veteran Kyle Korver to the Cavs, and soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Paul Millsap is expected to be moved before the trade deadline. Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox realizes his team won't be able to truly contend (i.e. beat LeBron James) with its current roster, so they'll likely be fade material in the coming months.

Top 5 Western Conference Teams

TeamSU recordATS recordOVER/UNDER record
Golden State Warriors33-616-22-118-21
San Antonio Spurs30-822-15-122-16
Houston Rockets31-1026-1524-17
L.A. Clippers27-1420-2123-18
Utah Jazz24-1619-20-118-22

Did you know the Warriors are the worst team to bet on in the league? It's true. At 16-22-1 ATS, the Dubs are covering at a lower rate than cellar-dwellers Orlando, Minnesota, Dallas, Phoenix and Brooklyn. It's the same issue the Cavaliers are facing: oddsmakers are expecting this stacked group to blow other teams out of the water on a nightly basis, but that's not how the NBA works. No matter how much elite talent a team has, rough nights are bound to happen in this league.

If you've been riding the Rockets train all year, you're laughing all the way to the bank. Houston is the top wager in the NBA at the halfway point of the campaign, as James Harden and company are covering at a sizzling 63.4 percent clip. Thanks to their 3-point-happy offense, they've also been a reliable OVER bet at 24-17 O/U.

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