Might the Nets Actually Be a Good ATS Bet This Season?

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 26, 2017 10:07 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 10:07 PM UTC

You never want to make grandiose statements this early in an NBA season, but the Brooklyn Nets have been wildly entertaining, very competitive and a great bet so far. Will it continue?

Back on Aug. 1, I wrote a story previewing the Brooklyn Nets’ season titled: “Jeremy Lin Says Nets Will Make Playoffs … Jeremy Lin is Wrong”. Do I regret that story? No, because I’m sure Jeremy Lin won’t make the playoffs. Sadly, the entertaining point guard suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in the season opener and is done for the year.

While I’m still quite sure the Nets won’t make the playoffs, they have one of the best ATS betting records in the early going and that could continue for a few reasons: 1) sportsbooks still are undervaluing this scrappy bunch; 2) the Nets have no reason to tank.

Thanks to the worst trade in NBA history, the Nets once again don’t own their first-round pick in the next draft. It will go to the Cleveland Cavaliers via the Boston Celtics from that awful Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade back in July 2013. Brooklyn’s 2018 first-rounder will be the final payment for that bill. My point here is that no one associated with that team, from the players to the coaches to the front office to ownership, has any reason to tank.

Coach Kenny Atkinson is widely respected around the NBA and he has his club playing hard and fast. They are among the NBA leaders in points and offensive efficiency. The Nets are playing super up-tempo, even faster than the Warriors, and chucking up 3-pointers (pace-and-space). Brooklyn became just the second team in the last 26 years to score at least 110 points in each of its first five games of a season, joining the 2015-16 Warriors. Yeah, the Nets stink on defense but that just means keep betting the over totals in their games.

Already, Brooklyn has two wins when being outshot by its opponent; it was 3-47 in that scenario in 2016-17. There’s some talent here, too. D’Angelo Russell was an offseason steal from the Lakers, and he has broken out in leading the team in scoring and assists. DeMarre Carroll (Raptors) and Allan Crabbe (Trail Blazers) were salary dumps from other teams and they are playing good basketball. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (the longest-tenured Net at age 22) and Caris LeVert are interesting young players.

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Can Nets Keep It Up?

So what should your NBA betting pattern on this team be going forward? Yes, the Nets have only played one good team thus far and that was Wednesday’s 112-107 win over a Cleveland team that was in the second of a back-to-back. Russell missed that game with a minor knee injury.

“They’re trying to play the game the right way,” LeBron James said after the loss. “That’s what they’re doing. They’ve got some good young pieces, those guys and they’re playing the right way and they’re sharing the ball.”

“They just go out there and play,” said Cavs forward Kevin Love. “They let it fly.”

I see no reason the Nets can’t continue to surprise for at least a little while. The schedule is quite easy until Nov. 10 at Portland. Circle a Nov. 19 home matchup vs. Golden State. That could be one of the highest-scoring and most entertaining games of the season.

Remember, too, that sometimes teams with bad records can be great against the spread. The 76ers had one of the NBA’s worst records last year but the best ATS mark at 49-33-0. Perhaps the Nets can be that team this season.

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