There are people in the world that claim they like getting up early, but unless they’re your 90 year-old grandmother, they’re probably lying. NBA players are no different.
Dog Eat Dog World
While it is by no means a large margin, underdogs have been slightly better NBA Odds than favorites in games that start before 6:00 PM Eastern time this season at 26-24-2. However, there are some other distinctions that could lead you to have a slight edge when it comes to games that start when the sun is still up.
For instance, in early start games that aren’t on the weekend, which have mainly been on two days this season, the underdog lives even better. Underdogs were 4-1 on Christmas Day, and they were also 4-2 on Martin Luther King Day in early start times. It seems when the spotlight is on them in mostly national television games, the underdogs seem to like the bright lights.
This is key for the rest of the season. Now that football is in the rearview mirror, and baseball is just getting into Spring Training, the NBA is king all week and the weekends for the time being. With this time of year comes the start to the regular ABC Sunday afternoon games, and with some of the matchups upcoming, the underdog might be a pretty good wager in these national TV games.
Road Favorites With The Edge
Normally in handicapping the NFL, a home underdog is usually a pretty good wager. However, for our NBA Picks, the road favorites in early afternoon games have been a slightly better wager so far this season. Road favorites are 7-5-2 this season when playing before 6 PM Eastern, and when they are smaller favorites of five points or less, or bigger favorites of ten points or more, they have been even better.
This can be for several reasons. The data didn’t take into account things like teams coming off a back-to-back to play in the afternoon, but for the most part, road favorites have been undervalued this season. There were even a couple instances where the line closed lower or higher and the pushes could have gone in favor of the road favorite if you got the line at the right time.
How To Handicap Afternoon Games The Rest Of The Season
The early-afternoon start can really bring out the better team as evidence by road favorites’ success so far in early start games, but for the rest of the season, most, if not all of the afternoon games are going to be on the weekend. If you take away Christmas Day and MLK Day, the data changes a lot. For instance, favorites take the lead in weekend early start games at 21-18-2. This goes up a little more when you include the games that started before 6 PM local time as well.
However, when it comes to road favorites and home dogs for the rest of the season, the likelihood of their being another run of road favorites winning ATS is slim. For starters, the games are going to be more competitive seeing as they are mostly on national television, so gaining that edge for the rest of the season may be harder. Plus, there may also be a general lack of road favorites in the season’s remaining national games.
Make sure you check out my article on betting the total for early afternoon games as well, which has a lot more definitive info on things to target on afternoon NBA games, and as always, go out there and win some money.