#Betting101: NBA Weekend Look-Ahead & Analysis

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 9, 2017 12:44 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 12:44 PM UTC

There’s a metric boatload of NBA betting opportunities coming up this weekend – but you need to know where to look before you bet. Hint: Cleveland is a bad choice.

God bless the NBA. It’s chaos out there; teams that were supposed to contend are playing like hot garbage, and teams that were supposed to falter are beating the basketball odds instead. Injuries, suspensions, ads on the uniforms – it’s fantastic?

It is from a betting perspective. Where there’s chaos, there’s opportunity, and there are multiple opportunities coming up this weekend for your NBA picks. Let’s set the table by cherry-picking the teams whose records thus far don’t quite measure up to their performance levels. Then we’ll apply some old-school handicapping to see which Friday-to-Sunday games we should target.

This Just In: Cleveland Stinks

For the analytics, we’ll keep it simple and use the Simple Rating System at Basketball Reference. This is all based on margins of victory and strength of schedule, so there will be plenty of noise after only 10 games or so, but it’ll be good enough for our purposes.

In the Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers (5-6 SU, 2-8-1 ATS) have obviously been struggling, but it’s even worse than it looks. They check in at –5.72 SRS heading into Wednesday’s action, almost as bad as the Chicago Bulls (2-7 SU, 6-3 ATS) at –5.80 SRS. That goes a long way toward explaining the ATS results for both teams.

Over in the West, the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-6 SU and ATS) and Portland Trail Blazers (6-5 SU, 4-6-1 ATS) have both played much better than their records would indicate. Portland is third in the conference and sixth overall at 5.48 SRS; the Thunder are one spot behind at 5.15 SRS. Maybe the regression angels will come around and shower these teams with good fortune.

Bull Market Indeed

The problem with those Western teams is at the handicapping end. Both are popular bets according to the public money charts, even the small-market Blazers. As for the East, the Cavaliers still have their supporters, so maybe they’ll keep underperforming expectations. And bettors are still treating Chicago like the plague despite that 6-3 ATS record.

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Cavaliers currently have the worst defense in NBA history pic.twitter.com/UWOwuN7O2k

— Full Court Prez (@fullcourtprez) November 8, 2017

Cleveland’s only game this weekend is Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks (2-10 SU, 3-9 ATS), so let’s look at the Bulls instead. They host the Indiana Pacers (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) on Friday before travelling to face the San Antonio Spurs (7-4 SU, 6-5 ATS) on Saturday. The Pacers have lost three straight SU and ATS, our main man Domantas Sabonis (+2.9 BPM) has a calf contusion... circle this game on your NBA betting calendar, 8 p.m. Eastern, and may the sphere be with you.

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