NBA Picks: January NBA Betting Trends

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

January may be the best month to wager on the NBA, as enough games have been played to know strengths and weaknesses of teams and bad clubs have not yet given up.

The 2013-14 NBA season is in full swing as we are approaching a brand new calendar year, and January could be the best month for making NBA picks as it may be the most formful month of the season. That is because enough games have been played to know who the good teams and bad teams are and it is still early enough where teams with no shot to make the playoffs have not given up quite yet and continue to put up mostly honest efforts.

To that end we have compiled some January trends from the last five season since 2008-09, which effectively means since January 2009. It is important to note that all records we mention going forward are for January games only, we would not suggest being creative and trying to apply these angles over the next week leading up to New Year’s Day, or in the early weeks of February.

You will notice that two of these trends apply to Hot Teams and Cold Teams. We are not using those teams loosely as both are strictly defined as follows:

A Hot Team is defined as a team that has won at least 20 of its last 30 games.
A Cold Team is defined as a team that has lost at least 20 of its last 30 games.

So without further ado, here are some January trends that have performed very well over the past five years, with all records based on closing odds from Pinnacle Sports since the 2008-09 season (i.e., since January 2009).

Play against any road underdog coming off of 2 home games (132-88-6, 60.0% ATS): Being home is probably more of an advantage in the NBA than in any other professional sport, and yet bettors still seem willing to play teams as road underdogs based on recent home performance, especially if that home performance is good. And yet, you will not find may trends that are at 60.0 percent with over 200 plays, and fading these teams with the home favorites has been one of them. Even Hot Teams as defined above have not been immune to this angle, although the sample size on them is smaller. Still, they are 5-8 ATS for a 61.5 percent fade over the five-year period.

Play on any favorite coming off of 4 straight up losses (40-14, 74.1% ATS): Now normally we would ignore a trend that has 54 plays in five years, but 40-14? Even we admit that is impressive for an angle that takes some serious courage to get on, which in and of itself contributes to this phenomenal record. After all, what novice bettor would be anxious to back a team on a losing streak of four or more as a favorite? Yet, this amazing record continually shows that the losing teams are favored for a reason. Even Cold Teams as defined above are 8-5, 61.5 percent ATS in this circumstance, but with even that five record underperforming this trend as a whole, if you were to eliminate Cold Teams, all other favorites coming off of four losses have gone 32-9, 78.1 percent ATS!

Play on the ‘over’ when Hot Teams come off of an ATS loss (80-56, 58.8%): As an aside, Hot Teams off of an ATS loss are also 76-58-2, 56.7 percent ATS the last five Januaries, but that excellent winning percentage still pales compared to that of the ‘over’. That is because Hot Teams coming off of subpar efforts where they either lost outright or failed to cover the spread have bounced back by averaging 102.8 points in their next game. Comparatively, Hot Teams have averaged 100.3 points over all January games, so the 2.5-point bump when bouncing back off of an ATS loss apparently has not been adequately accounted for in the game totals.

Cold Teams Staying Cold Trends:
Play against Cold teams as underdogs coming off of 4 straight up losses (66-42, 61.1%)
Play against Cold teams as underdogs coming off of 5 straight up losses (50-29, 63.3%)
Play against Cold teams as underdogs coming off of 6 straight up losses (39-20, 66.1%)
We think you get the gist by now! While we are generally contrarian in nature, Cold Teams as defined above on losing streaks have continued to underperform as long as they have been cast as underdogs in January. And we could have gone on, but we wanted to stop with a sample size of over 50 games. If you wanted to take it further, Cold Team underdogs off of seven losses are 15-31 ATS for a 67.4 percent fade and those off of eight losses are 11-25 ATS for a 69.4 percent go-against!