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NBA: January's Best & Worst Bets

January was an eventful month in the NBA: The Cavaliers fired their coach, Blake Griffin broke his hand laying the smack down on the Clippers assistant equipment manager, and the 76ers won four games, which was more wins than they had to enter the month. Lots of things also stayed the same, as the Warriors and Spurs continued to dominate, but there were a few surprises at the betting window. Let’s take a look at the best and worst of NBA betting in January.

Best and Worst ATS Bets in January

When you think of the Denver Nuggets, the 12th place team in the Western Conference, the term “gambling goldmine” doesn’t usually come to mind, but that’s exactly what they were during the month. The Nuggets went a league best 11-4 ATS, which was highlighted by a 7-1 ATS run to close out the month. Denver was an underdog in every game in January, and were able to keep things close in their nine losses, losing by an average of 5.7 points. The Nuggets also pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the month, beating the Warriors 112-110 as 9.5-point home dogs on January 13.

While many people like to vacation in Arizona and Florida during the cold winter month, it appears as if two team from those states might be on vacation themselves, as the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns were about as profitable as a preseason Super Bowl futures bet on the Patriots — both finishing the month with 3-11 ATS records. The Suns, who dumped coach Jeff Hornacek on Monday, won straight up just twice during the month, and were on the wrong end of 10 double-digit beatdowns.

As for the Magic, who went just 1-3 SU as favorites in January, they gave up 103 or more point in 10 games, and had ATS losing streaks of both five and six games during the month.

Best ATS Teams in January
  • Nuggets 11-4 (73.3%)
  • Raptors 9-5 (64.3%)
  • Clippers 9-5 (64.3%)
Worst ATS Teams in January
  • Magic 3-11 (21.4%)
  • Suns 3-11 (21.4%)
  • Nets 4-11-1 (25.0%)

Best OVER/UNDER Teams in January

The Houston Rockets were the NBA’s top OVER team in the month, going OVER the closing total in all but three of their 16 games. With James Harden leading the way on the offensive end, and no one leading the way on defense, the Rockets are always a good candidate to be involved in high scoring games. The team scored and/or allowed more than 100 points in 14 games. In the four games to close out the month, they’ve allowed an average of 120.25 points.

If low scoring basketball is more your speed, then the Hornets and Heat were the teams to watch, as they led the association as the best UNDER teams, both going 6-11 O/U. Miami had a streak of five straight UNDERs during the month, as they've now gone UNDER twice as many times as they've gone OVER this season with an overall O/U record of 16-32. The Hornets failed to reach the 100 point mark in nine games during the month, and finished January going UNDER in three straight road games.

Best OVER Teams in January
  • Rockets 13-3 (81.3%)
  • Grizzlies 10-4 (71.4%)
  • Spurs 9-4 (69.2%)
Best UNDER Teams in January
  • Hornets 6-11 (64.7%)
  • Heat 6-11 (64.7%)
  • Mavericks 6-11-1 (61.1%)

Biggest Upsets of January

Are the Nets better than their 12-36 SU record? No, they might actually be worse, but they do highlight our list of the biggest upsets during the month. It’s a great time to be a Nets fan… kind of… well, not at all actually.

Biggest Upsets of January
DateAwayHomeAway ScoreHome ScoreClosing Spread
January 24ThunderNets106116+13
January 23BullsCavaliers9683-10.5
January 23HawksSuns9598+10.5
January 13WarriorsNuggets110112+9.5
January 2NetsCeltics10097-9.5