NBA Teams Against the Spread Through 53 Games
The hectic NBA trade deadline for the 2018-2019 season has officially past. While this was certainly an exciting time for the NBA, this also means that every NBA team has played at least 53 games. Why is this significant? The number 53 means that less than 30 NBA games per team remain, and with roster shakeups, it can be hard to decide who to trust against the spread for this final stretch. The first thing to consider is every NBA teams’ current record against the spread (ATS). In alphabetical order, their records currently look like this:
NBA Teams Against the Spread This Season
Atlanta Hawks (24-29) Miami Heat (27-25)
Boston Celtics (27-26-1) Milwaukee Bucks (31-19-3)
Brooklyn Nets (31-25) Minnesota Timberwolves (26-27)
Charlotte Hornets (26-27-1) New Orleans Pelicans (27-27-1)
Chicago Bulls (23-30-1) New York Knicks (22-28-3)
Cleveland Cavaliers (24-29-1) Oklahoma City Thunder (30-23)
Dallas Mavericks (33-19-1) Orlando Magic (27-26-1)
Denver Nuggets (29-25) Philadelphia 76ers (25-29)
Detroit Pistons (24-27-2) Phoenix Suns (24-32)
Golden State Warriors (24-28-1) Portland Trail Blazers (29-24)
Houston Rockets (25-28-1) Sacramento Kings (31-22-1)
Indiana Pacers (26-27-1) San Antonio Spurs (31-25)
Los Angeles Clippers (30-25) Toronto Raptors (24-30-1)
Los Angeles Lakers (24-29-1) Utah Jazz (27-26-2)
Memphis Grizzlies (24-30-1) Washington Wizards (23-31)
At the current moment, only about 43% of NBA teams have an above .500 record against the spread. That number might make a lot of peoples’ stomachs turn when it comes to betting against the spread for the final 29 games or so. However, to ease your stress, let’s list some teams that are clearly trending in a very positive or negative direction when it comes to ATS bets.
Most Friendly ATS Options
The Mavericks have been the ultimate crutch to lean on for ATS players thus far. They currently have the most ATS victories in the NBA (33). While their actual NBA record isn’t great (25-28), the Mavs have been masterful at keeping their games close. Luka Doncic has been playing out of his mind recently, scoring 32+ points in 3 of his last 5 games. The Mavericks lost almost their entire starting unit to trades with the Knicks and Kings during this year’s deadline. DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., and Harrison Barnes are all gone. However, I don’t think this roster overhaul affects the Mavericks ATS appeal. With Kristaps Porzingis sidelined the entire rest of the season due to a knee injury, the Mavericks should be heavy underdogs the rest of the way. If there’s one thing the Mavericks are great at, it’s being underdogs. Dallas is 21-10 so far this season when they’ve been an ATS underdog. The trio of Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dwight Powell should be enough firepower to keep a majority of their remaining games close. Ride the Mavericks out this season, unless Doncic gets injured.
Sacramento has been fantastic against the spread this season, but for the complete opposite reason when compared to the Dallas Mavericks. The Kings are another borderline .500 team at the moment in the Western Conference (28-26). However, their ATS bread and butter comes from when they are favored to win. Sacramento is a preposterous 11-2 when favored against the spread this season. They are also 19-8-1 ATS when playing on their home court. The Kings just traded for Harrison Barnes, which should add fantastic forward depth to a surprisingly successful, young team. One of the safest bets in the NBA to make at the moment is to bet on the Kings when their favored at home. Their large margins of victory have been music to ATS lovers’ ears. The Kings roster has only improved, so expect a nice second half.
Milwaukee is one of those rare teams whose amazing NBA record has also translated perfectly into ATS play. Milwaukee is currently 40-13 in the Eastern Conference, placing them as the top seed. Similarly, against the spread, Milwaukee is a robust 31-19-3. Their favorite, underdog, home, and away ATS splits are all positive, which makes them extremely reliable most nights. They have tons of star power with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Eric Bledsoe, and Khris Middleton. The recent addition of power forward, Nikola Mirotic, from the Pelicans only makes this team so much deadlier. The Bucks are a rare franchise you can trust in both ATS and money line play on the majority of nights.
Most Risky ATS Options
The Raptors are one of the most dominant Eastern Conference teams, with a 39-16 record. Unfortunately, they’ve been terrible at covering the spread all season long. Their favored victories aren’t by a large enough margin, and their underdog losses haven’t come in close games. That is a recipe for an abysmal 24-30-1 ATS record at the moment. Toronto made a huge splash at the deadline, acquiring 34-year-old center, Marc Gasol, from the Memphis Grizzles. Gasol is a 3x all-star and superb passing big man (4.7 AST per game this season). His addition will only cause the Raptors to be favored in more games, a spot where they’ve struggled this season (17-25-1 ATS Fav.). You should avoid the Raptors unless you’re picking them for money lines.
The Hawks are in a rebuilding phrase, so this shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Atlanta is 24-29 against the spread, but what is even more unappealing is their ATS record when favored (0-3). Additionally, the Hawks are 7-14 against the spread when playing on their home floor. Atlanta did nothing at the trade deadline besides shuffle around some bench players and draft picks, so their seasonal outlook hasn’t changed one bit. When Trae Young goes cold from the field, it’s so hard for Atlanta to cover the spread, making them a distasteful choice the rest of the way.
The Wizards have an ATS record of 23-31 and a real-life NBA record of 22-32. The absence of star point guard, John Wall, has left the Wizards scrambling for production. They are 7-20 ATS when away from Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., making away games a nightmare of a bet. Hopefully center Dwight Howard returns soon, because until that point in time, this team should continue to slide. The additions of power forwards Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker from the Chicago Bulls could bring a tiny spark to the team, but at least at the immediate moment, just watch this team from a very far distance.
Final Thoughts on ATS Bets for the Remainder of 2018-2019
Betting against the spread is a tricky task due to the confusion between teams’ records in real life and ATS. Many teams this season are in a state of ATS limbo. Take the New Orleans Pelicans, for example. They are 27-27-1 ATS this season. Star forward Anthony Davis is staying on the team, but that roster construction clearly didn’t yield a positive result in these first 53 games. In general, steer clear of these blind, .500 level teams against the spread. They are just too hard to predict future performance. Unless the matchup is extremely enticing, follow bets on teams with at least 31 victories against the spread thus far. This would mean in addition to the Bucks, Mavs, and Kings, you should follow the Brooklyn Nets and San Antonio Spurs.