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NBA Midseason Betting Recap

James Harden Houston Rockets

By now, NBA fans have likely read all kinds of midseason recaps recounting how every team in the Association has performed so far on the floor. But what about a guide laying out how they’ve done at the betting window? That’s where we at OddsShark come in.

Because we love hoops – and making money – as much as you do, here’s a look at the best and worst bets in the league as well as the top OVER and UNDER teams so far in 2015-16.

Top 5 NBA Teams Against the Spread
TeamATS WinsATS LossesPushes
San Antonio Spurs2913-
Golden State Warriors26161
Dallas Mavericks26171
New York Knicks2618-
Orlando Magic23171

Whether or not you cheer for them, the San Antonio Spurs are one of the most respected teams in the loop (making the playoffs every year since 1997 will earn you some props). As of January 21, the Spurs’ winning ways (36-6 SU) has translated into a plethora of covers, good enough to make them the best bet in the NBA.

Tim Duncan and company, who have yet to lose on home court in 24 contests, are 17-7 ATS in front of their hometown fans. San Antonio leads the NBA in double-digit wins (28), 20+ point wins (15) while easily paying out when facing plenty of chalk, going 14-5 ATS when favored by 10 points or more. Long live the Spurs.

As good as San Antonio has been, they’ve been overshadowed by the high-flying Golden State Warriors. The Dubs (39-4 SU) haven’t lost a beat after hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June and have once again become a fantastic spread play. Eclipsing the 1995-16 Chicago Bulls’ 72 regular season win record may be out of reach, but the Warriors have once again been a reliable play for hoops bettors thanks to their extremely high-tempo and exciting brand of basketball.

The Dallas Mavericks were thought by many NBA experts to be dead in the water after emerging as losers in the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes last summer, but Rick Carlisle’s crew aren’t ready to sink into the depths of irrelevance just yet. Like many of us, oddsmakers can’t quite get a proper handle on this team, which has resulted in plenty of appealing lines for sports bettors to capitalize on the overachieving Mavs.

How did the New York Knicks go from being one of the saddest franchises in the league to one of the most fun teams to watch on League Pass? You can largely thank a certain 7’3” Latvian for that. Since drafting super rookie Kristaps Porzingis, the Knicks have looked like a different team and, unlike last season, they’re actually having fun playing basketball again. New York has done well when carrying the underdog label, going 18-12 ATS when as pups. Maybe the triangle will work in The Big Apple after all!

The Orlando Magic have quietly been assembling a roster full of talented young players, and it’s starting to pay dividends in 2015-16 – particularly for bettors. Orlando (20-21 SU) has been sliding as of late but have been solid against the spread for the majority of the season. Even if they don’t make the playoffs, this is a team to keep an eye on in upcoming years.

Worst 5 NBA Teams Against the Spread
TeamATS WinsATS LossesPushes
Houston Rockets1727-
Minnesota Timberwolves17261
Phoenix Suns1726-
Chicago Bulls1625-
Los Angeles Lakers1826-

What the hell is going on in Houston this year? The Rockets, fresh off an appearance in the Western Conference Finals, have looked like anything but their usual selves so far and have become the worst bet in the NBA as a result. Houston canned Kevin McHale in the wake of a 4-7 SU start and have looked better under interim bench boss J.B. Bickerstaff. James Harden and company are clearly an inconsistent bunch, which means they should be fading material until they can get their act together.

The young Minnesota Timberwolves looked surprisingly good out of the gate this year but have come down to earth in the last month, a downward spiral that’s equated itself into a less than desirable spread record. Led by Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, this team is too talented to wallow in the cellar of the Western Conference for much longer, but they’re clearly a year or two away from becoming a reliable bet.

For lack of a better expression, the Phoenix Suns have been a dumpster fire this season. The Suns boast a lineup full of disgruntled players, major roster questions, a coach who is flaming out faster than you can say unemployment line and no clear future direction. Sports bettors should approach this team with caution (or better yet, don’t approach them at all).

The Chicago Bulls are a confusing bunch. The talent is there, however rookie head coach Fred Hoiberg is clearly experiencing some growing pains, and Bulls backers are feeling the burn. They’ll likely enter the playoffs as one of the top teams in the East, but you can’t blame anyone from getting turned off of the Bulls considering how poorly they’ve done when it comes to covering the spread.

The floundering Los Angeles Lakers have stated this year is dedicated to giving the legendary Kobe Bryant a lengthy goodbye, which has been great news for anyone betting against the Lakeshow. Head coach Byron Scott is letting Bryant fire away at will (he’s shooting a career-worst 35 percent from the field) while inexplicably gluing the team’s multiple talented youngsters to the bench for extended stretches of time. The Lakers are a mess and make no sense, and you shouldn’t touch this team with a 10 foot pole when placing your wagers.

Top 5 OVER NBA Teams
Golden State Warriors2617-
Washington Wizards22172
Denver Nuggets23181
New York Knicks24191
Milwaukee Bucks2420-

Aside from the high-flying Warriors, OVER bettors haven’t found a ton of success in a particular team so far. The Washington Wizards have been plagued with injury troubles all year long, leaving gaping holes in their defense – a direct correlation to their penchant for going above totals.

The Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks are all allowing opposing squads to score north of 100 points per game while averaging around that mark themselves. The Bucks in particular have regressed considerably in their own end of the floor after having the second-best defensive efficiency in the NBA last season.

Top 5 UNDER NBA Teams
Miami Heat14281
Oklahoma City Thunder16271
Brooklyn Nets1726-
New Orleans Pelicans16241
Utah Jazz17241

This is where the real value lies for totals bettors. The Miami Heat, despite facing low OVER/UNDERs, continue to cash UNDER bets with ease. A power outage on offense mixed with a rash of injuries have hurt Miami in multiple facets of the game, but bettors banking on low totals certainly aren’t complaining.

It may look strange to see the offense oriented Oklahoma City Thunder on this list, however sportsbooks are simply giving them too much respect. OKC has faced high OVER/UNDERs on the regular (the Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook effect), which has equated into payouts for UNDER red-hot. The Thunder have been doing their part (108.6 points per game, ranked second behind the Warriors) but their opponents just haven’t been able to score enough.

As for the Nets, Pelicans and Jazz, well, finding the bottom of the basket has been a tall order far too often. Until those offenses can find their groove, the UNDER should continue to be a great play.