Al McMordie’s NBA Betting Road Map Week 2
By Al McMordie
We are back with our NBA Betting Roadmap Series. A year ago, in our first issue, I predicted the Warriors would not only win the NBA Championship (at -130 odds), but also go 16-0 in the Playoffs.
Unfortunately (for me), the Warriors won their first 15 Playoff games, but couldn’t win #16. And it would have been my biggest payoff ever, as I rolled over 4 Series Sweep wagers: GSW to sweep Portland (@ +100 odds), Utah (@ +150 odds), San Antonio (@ +350 odds) and Cleveland (@ +800 odds) for an effective payout of 179-1.
Instead, I had to settle for just cashing my futures ticket on the Warriors at -130. This year, I’m coming right back with the Warriors at -195 odds to win the title.
Let’s take a look at the upcoming week’s action.
The World Champion Warriors have not exactly burst out of the gate this season. They did defeat New Orleans in their second game of the season, but that win was sandwiched between two upset losses — at home vs. Houston, and on the road against Memphis. Even worse for Golden State bettors: Steve Kerr’s crew is 0-3 against the spread.
Of course, there’s no doubt that the Warriors are (by far) the best team in the league, and arguably the best team in history. But since their 24-0 start to the 2015 season, they’ve been fairly pedestrian in Vegas, with a 95-86-3 ATS record, including 36-39-3 as a road favorite.
This week, the Warriors will travel to Dallas on Monday, before coming back home for dates with Toronto, Washington and Detroit. The game in Dallas looks to be another trouble spot for the Warriors, as defending NBA Champs have struggled early in the season as road favorites. Since 1990, such teams are just 11-21 ATS within the season’s first four games. I look for another ATS loss for the Dubs.
The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Many thought the San Antonio Spurs would have a significant drop-off this season. After all, Tony Parker suffered a major injury in last year’s playoffs, and will miss the first few months of this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol struggled in the post-season after Kawhi Leonard went down, and Leonard remains sidelined this season with a (new) quad injury. And the Spurs lost key contributors Jonathon Simmons and Dewayne Dedmon to free agency.
But, lo and behold, the Spurs are 2-0 and once again have the league’s best defense (they ranked #1 in defensive efficiency the last two seasons), as they’ve given up just 88 ppg, with an adjusted efficiency rating of 88.32, even though they’re missing Leonard, the league’s best defensive player.
This week, the Spurs will welcome the Raptors to the AT&T Center before hitting the road to face the Heat, Magic and Pacers. Friday’s game in Orlando has all the makings of an ‘under,’ as each of the last five meetings between these two teams have gone ‘under.’
And the two games last season did so by a wide margin, as the game in San Antonio finished with 178 points, while the one in Orlando totaled 186, going ‘under’ by 16 and 21 points respectively.
There have been several high-profile injuries to star players.
Gordon Hayward, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard and Isaiah Thomas are all currently on the shelf for varying lengths of time. But each of their respective teams have enough talent to soldier on.
One injury, though, which could have much more of a short-term impact involves the Miami Heat’s center, Hassan Whiteside. He’s currently out with a bone bruise on his left knee, and is listed as “day-to-day.” Last year, he averaged 17 points and 14.1 rebounds in 32.6 minutes per game, and was invaluable for the Heat. He also got this season off to a rip-roaring start, when he scored 26 and pulled down 26 boards in Miami’s season opener vs. Orlando.
Even worse for Miami: Dion Waiters is playing, but a bit banged-up, as he tweaked his left ankle in the game vs. Orlando, as well.
The Heat struggled without Whiteside in their lineup last season. He missed five games, and Miami was 2-3 in those games, with losses by 9+ points to some of the league’s worst teams (Suns, Lakers, Pistons).
This week, Miami will host Atlanta, San Antonio and Boston. If there is a silver lining, it’s that the Hawks, Spurs and Celtics are also dealing with the absence of key players.
The Hawks lost Dennis Schroder to an ankle injury on Sunday, while the Spurs and Celtics have had much more time to adjust to their player rotations.
Miami’s game on Wednesday vs. San Antonio would be the one I would target to play against the Heat, should Whiteside be in street clothes. San Antone has a lot of size inside, with LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, and Joffrey Lauvergne. And the Spurs have also won nine straight in the series (8-1 ATS).
There are six undefeated teams in the NBA, and none more surprising than the Memphis Grizzlies, who are projected to finish with 38 wins, and miss the Playoffs.
The Grizzlies opened the season with a 12-point win vs. New Orleans, and followed that up with an impressive, double-digit upset win over the Warriors. Of course, Memphis also benefited from the fact that both of their games have been at home.
This week, Memphis has leave Beale Street for the first time, and will play road games at Houston and Dallas, before returning home to play re-matches against those same two teams.
Monday’s game vs. the Rockets looks to be a great spot to fade the Grizzlies, as undefeated teams are just 1-14 straight-up and 2-13 ATS since 2009 in their first road game, if they are off an upset win, including 0-8 ATS when getting 8 or less points.
Good luck, as always…Al McMordie. A
nd don’t miss any of my red-hot winners here at Covers.com, as I’m 24-13 my last 37, including 67% in the NBA.