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Hoop and the Harm: Weekly NBA Betting Recap for November 17-24

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.

Things don't always go according to plan in the NBA, and the 2016-17 campaign has been a great example of that. The usual suspects are topping the standings (looking at you, Golden State, Cleveland and the L.A. Clippers) while others’ seasons have yet to get off the ground (seriously, should the Mavs’ roster even be considered NBA-caliber?)

That’s why this week’s edition of the Hoop and the Harm is focusing on surprising clubs so far – for better or for worse. We’ll look into how they’ve fared on the court and at the betting window to help with your wagering decisions going forward.

In the words of the legendary Beastie Boys: ch-check it out:

Los Angeles Lakers

TeamSU recordATS recordOVER/UNDER record
Los Angeles Lakers8-89-6-112-4

Last year’s edition of the L.A. Lakers, a.k.a. the Kobe Bryant Goodbye Tour, was brick-tastic across the board. The Lakers had some nice young pieces, but they were downright unwatchable and ended up with a 17-65 record. No more, though. The Lakers are for real, and they’re realizing their potential much sooner than many – including the team’s front office – were expecting.

Led by a solid youthful core of D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and 2016 second overall pick Brandon Ingram, the Lakers have the league’s fourth-best offense at 109.6 points per game. They’re fourth in field goal percentage (46.8) and fifth in 3-pointers (37.1). The impact of Luke Walton cannot be understated here – he may end up being the best coaching hire since the Warriors brought Steve Kerr on board in 2014.

Houston Rockets

TeamSU recordATS recordOVER/UNDER record
Houston Rockets9-610-56-9

To say the Houston Rockets have been a dysfunctional group over the last few years would be a massive understatement, but the drama is firmly in the rear-view mirror now. While ex-big man Dwight Howard has flourished in his hometown of Atlanta, the Rockets are doing just fine in his absence and are the best bet in the NBA through 15 games. New head coach Mike D’Antoni’s decision to convert superstar James Harden into a point guard has paid off, as Harden is averaging 28.7 points per game while shooting 46 percent from the field.

Offseason additions Eric Gordon (14.9 PPG) and Ryan Anderson (12.3) are providing the secondary scoring the Rockets have sorely lacked in past years, and Houston is once again looking like a contender in the tough Western Conference. This is no fluke; it’s time to believe in Houston.

Minnesota Timberwolves

TeamSU recordATS recordOVER/UNDER record
Minnesota Timberwolves4-104-108-6

Before the campaign tipped off, the Timberwolves were a trendy sleeper pick to make the playoffs. Online sportsbook Bovada even had the Wolves’ odds to reach the postseason at -135, with the NO option coming in at +105.

Tom Thibodeau is doing his best in his first season with the young Wolves, but it’s quite clear this group is going to experience its share of growing pains before it can handle its own against the mighty powers of the Western Conference. Minny has been a miserable spread bet, covering only four times in 14 games.

Washington Wizards

TeamSU recordATS recordOVER/UNDER record
Washington Wizards4-94-98-5

The Washington Wizards are a team in disarray. Two years ago, it looked like the stud backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal were set to lead the Wiz into the promised land, but they’ve since gone off a cliff. Washington failed to make the playoffs in 2015-16, and things aren’t looking any better after a 4-9 start that’s seen them manage only four covers.

It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with this group, but their defense is leaving much to be desired. Washington is allowing opponents to shoot 46.1 percent from the field (the fourth-worst mark in the NBA) and 39.5 percent from downtown (second-worst). Until the Wizards can figure it out defensively and operate as a cohesive unit on offense, they’re a team to fade in the coming months.