It’s a strange time in the NBA. Some teams are vying for the playoffs and others are tanking or almost about to start tanking. However, as we approach the month of April, you can make even more cash on the NBA if you know what trends and teams to target.
About a month ago we talked about betting tanking NBA teams right after the All Star break. Since then the Lakers, Suns and Magic have gone 14-28 ATS (as of March 24) and if you would have read that piece, you may have gotten in on the action of fading these teams playing for lottery balls more than wins.
However, have no fear, because I am back to talk about the next tier of NBA teams to target or fade as we close out the regular season and it’s teams that will be or are almost already eliminated from playoff contention. Of course, keep looking to actively fade the tanking teams already eliminated that I mentioned above, but for now, we’re on to some slightly better, but still bad teams.
Take for instance the Knicks, Wolves and Kings, three teams who will almost certainly not make the playoffs and are in danger of being mathematically eliminated very soon. They know their fate already and the Knicks have said they plan on resting Carmelo Anthony some down the stretch.
Since March 8th, the Knicks, Wolves and Kings are all 3-5 ATS and they have all started losing more ATS lately. While it’s obviously not a direct correlation, these guys are smart. They know their teams are going nowhere this season and they know that they don’t want to get hurt in a meaningless game in late-March or April. That means they likely play a little less defense and probably lose more ATS.
Who knows, by the time you’ve read this maybe the Knicks, Kings and Wolves will have all been eliminated. However, the next tier of teams in each conference is that much more interesting once they are out of the hunt. There are going to be a few teams in the East like the Bulls, Pistons and Hornets who at least two, if not all three of them will miss the playoffs.
These teams will almost surely shut it down if they are in that position over the last week or two of the season, so making it a priority to fade them like some of the tanking or eliminated teams is going to be profitable. It has been this way for us so far since the All Star Break.
The West is slightly more competitive than the East for their 8th seed thanks to a late run from the Blazers. These teams battling for playoff positioning will be the ones to watch down the stretch. The Nuggets, Mavericks and Pelicans are all vying for that 8th seed and while any of them will end up being a ceremonial sacrifice to the Warriors, I get the feeling that none of them will give up in the final week or two of the season regardless. That mean they could be good teams to back ATS down the final few weeks as well.
Historical total trends in the week of the season
Now, that brings me to the fun part. We talked about a variation of this in my last column on betting tanking teams, but while we’ve kind of discussed how to play these teams ATS, the totals on the NBA Odds board for their games could be intriguing wagers as well.
For instance, there are some historical trends that have definitely happened over the last four years for my research and could very well have been happening before. The big glaring stat on totals comes during the last week of the season.
Since 2013, the over has cashed at a rate of 61.1% during the last week of the regular season. There have been some huge nights where the over went 10-0 on April 9 of 2016. On April 11, 2014 the over went 10-3 on a huge 13-game night and the final day of the regular season has also been really good over days.
Last year’s regular season finale on a Wednesday was only 7-6-1 cashing the over. However, if you combine the last four seasons, the over is 33-20-2 on the final day of the regular season. That’s a success rate of 61.8%.
This could be for many reasons, but the main one is that the standings are usually set for the most part during the last three or four games of the season. Teams that are tanking are playing zero defense, while teams that have locked up playoff seeds usually start to sit guys out for one or two games. That also usually leads to a higher scoring game when it’s all said and done.
It’s also a player mindset type of thing. Think about it; when you’re at work and a week away from taking a long vacation, you probably mail it in too. It’s the same for these guys. They make their money regardless, so if there is any hint of there being no need to play hard, they probably won’t. You wouldn’t perform as well on a day where the boss is out of the office and there is no reason to work hard if you’re 10 games out of the playoffs in mid-April.
This usually leads to the over and I suspect that will continue this season once we get to the final week of the season. Make sure you keep a look out for the best teams to target, because I’m sure two tanking teams or a tanking team and resting team will be great over plays as we approach April and beyond. Good luck on all your NBA Picks as we head down the final few weeks of the regular season!Join The Conversation In SBR's NBA Bettors Forum