The favorites and the OVER have been pounding the NBA odds this year – except for the defending champs. Will the Cleveland Cavaliers get it right this Friday?
Join our basketball expert Jason Lake while he shares the best games to keep an eye on this weekend.
Record: 1-0 ATS
Golly gee, would you look at that: The OVER is 141-123 (53.4 percent) to start the 2016-17 NBA season. That's just a shade down from 53.9 percent when we looked at the early trends a couple of weeks ago. Instant profit against the NBA odds is always welcome. The favorites have been doing rather well, too, posting a 136-125-4 ATS record (52.1 percent). Too bad the defending champions didn't get the memo.
Friday: Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Sure, the Cavaliers are the best team in the Eastern Conference, but the market expects way too much. LeBron James is at +7.2 BPM (Box Plus/Minus) as we go to press, his lowest performance level since he joined the league in 2003. Hey, he's 32 years old and he's been to the Finals six straight years. These things happen. The Bulls, meanwhile, have been an incredibly profitable NBA pick with their piecemeal Big Three of Jimmy Butler (+8.1 BPM), Dwyane Wade (+2.9 BPM) and Rajon Rondo (0.0 BPM).
Saturday: Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz (9:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV)
These are the games that NBA-TV was invented for. You get two rebuilding programs; the Nuggets have further to go at this point, especially on defense, but they're beating market expectation with the revival of Kenneth Faried (+3.3 BPM). Utah haven't quite gotten off the ground yet because of injuries to Derrick Favors (–2.2 BPM) and others, but they're still challenging for first place in the Northwest.
Sunday: Indiana Pacers vs Los Angeles Clippers (1:00 p.m. ET)
What the heck happened to the Clippers? They were steamrolling everyone, then all of a sudden, three straight losses and 1-7 ATS in their last eight games. That includes an embarrassing 90-71 defeat at the hands of the Pacers (+11.5 at home), who are doing a good job just to stay around .500. I guess that's what happens when Austin Rivers (–2.1 BPM) keeps getting to play big minutes for his father/coach.