How Free Agency is Shaping Next Year’s ATS Value in the East

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, July 4, 2017 3:01 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 4, 2017 3:01 PM UTC

We have seen some wild player movement in the first few days of NBA free agency. There has been a mass exodus from the Eastern Conference so far, but while that means there will be a lot of bad basketball in the East, there could be some fine ATS value from a few select teams that remain undervalued by the sportsbooks and the betting public. 

While we could still have some more players leave their current teams, like Carmelo Anthony potentially going to Houston or Cleveland, the East is going to be unwatchable at times next year. However, while the overall consensus seems to be “East bad, West good,” there are still a few East teams you need to look out for next year as potentially undervalued ATS.


Milwaukee Bucks (2016-17 ATS record: 39-49)

The Bucks are one of the only Eastern Conference teams that haven’t done much this offseason, but they could easily be one of the better teams next season if everything works out. They will have a full season of Khris Middleton, they might sign Derrick Rose if they can trade Greg Monroe, and they should get Jabari Parker back sometime in the middle of the season.

Along with the league’s most improved player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a talented bench, this team has the ability to outperform all expectations in 2017-18. The Bucks are also coming off a very poor season ATS. They posted the third-worst ATS record among all teams last year including the regular season and postseason.

However, in an Eastern Conference that is quickly in decline, the Bucks have now positioned themselves as the second-best team in the Central Division and potentially a top three or four team overall in the East. Don’t sleep on them ATS, especially against other East opponents.


Orlando Magic (2016-17 ATS record: 32-48-2)

The Magic are still very much in a rebuild and they recorded the worst ATS record of any team last year. However, despite being a young team, in a weaker Eastern Conference, the Magic could make the playoffs.

They made a strong draft pick in Jonathan Isaac, and along with Evan Fournier, Terrance Ross and Aaron Gordon, this team has a very good young core. They also have nothing to lose next season and there is nowhere they can go but up in the ATS standings. While they won’t be trying to win games, just by the nature of how bad the East will be next year, someone has to win.

Compared to other rebuilding teams in the East, the Magic are further along and have more young talent than most. The Bulls, Pacers, Hawks, Knicks and Nets are all going to be worse than Orlando next season. Even though Orlando will likely stay in the lottery, it is going to be a sneaky ATS play early next season when the sportsbooks continue to undervalue them.


Philadelphia 76ers (2016-17 ATS record: 49-33)

The Philadelphia 76ers had the best ATS record of any team last season. A lot of that was discounting how good Joel Embiid actually was and the other part was undervaluing Philadelphia enough once Embiid went down for the season.

Philly likely won’t have the same ATS success next season, but it will be a much better basketball team. That should at least lead them to winning more SU, which in turn should help their ATS record as well.

If they can get a full season from Embiid and Ben Simmons, as well as a solid rookie season from Markelle Fultz, this team has a lot to be excited about. Robert Covington should receive an extension this offseason and Dario Saric has another year to get bigger, stronger and better. The Sixers added sharp-shooting guard J.J. Redick on a smart one-year deal from the Clippers. 

Combine all of this and the Sixers could be a top four or five team in the East. They will surely get more love from the sportsbooks next season, but will the public follow? The public has been trained to associate the Sixers with bad basketball over the last four or five seasons. I’m not sure if they will be on board early in the year before we see any real basketball. This could leave some nice room to tail the Sixers against similar or lesser Eastern Conference opponents. Don’t sleep on Philly. Trust the Process.


Miami Heat (2016-17 ATS record: 48-33-1)

Miami was another team that was undervalued by the sportsbooks, but it turns out losing Chris Bosh for the year (forever) was not the hit that the sportsbooks thought it would be. Guys like James Johnson and Dion Waiters turned this team from lottery-bound to a solid contender in the East last season.

Now, if they get Gordon Hayward in free agency, this could go up in smoke. People will expect the combination of Hayward, Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic to be a top three team in the East. However, if they lose out on Hayward to the Celtics or Jazz, the Heat will still be in a nice spot. They will still have money to spend if they lose out on Hayward, and if Justise Winslow comes back healthy this team has talent.

Bam Adebayo has also looked like the MVP of the Summer League early on. If he can become a sold backup center to Whiteside, I am almost positive the Heat will once again turn a profit in 2017-18 as an ATS value.

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