Each week, we look back on the NBA betting scene and give you the best –and worst – basketball bets, as well as some spots to keep an eye on with the upcoming schedule.
Hottest ATS team
Minnesota Timberwolves (4-2 SU, 5-1 ATS)
The T-Wolves are being discounted most nights thanks to missing superstars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio. Those extra points on the spread have helped Minnesota backers cash in four straight games. Andrei Kirilenko is having a career resurgence with the Timberwolves and has been the glue keeping the team above together, leading in assists, rebounds, field goals percentage and most defensive stats as well. Minnesota is at Dallas Monday before coming home for three straight – Charlotte, Golden State, Denver.
Coldest ATS team
Chicago Bulls (4-2 SU, 1-5 ATS)
The Bulls went 0-4 ATS this past week, most recently blowing a cover in an 87-80 win over Minnesota. Chicago needed 18 points from Nate Robinson just to get the victory after PG Kirk Hinrich left with a hip injury, and Carlos Boozer mustered only two points. The Bulls backcourt is already dangerously thin without Derrick Rose, and now must lean on the erratic Robinson for Monday’s home tilt with Boston and an upcoming five-game road trip - AKA “The Circus Trip” - with the circus setting up camp in the Windy City for the next two weeks.
Hottest over bet
Cleveland Cavaliers (2-4 SU, 5-1 over/under)
The Cavaliers are in the midst of a six-game road swing, having played over the total in the first four stops on that run. Cleveland’s defense has allowed opponents to average 103 points on 50 percent shooting during that span, including 107 points to the Phoenix Suns, who came back from 12 points down late in the game Friday night. The Cavs have relied heavily on their starters, with head coach Byron Scott dipping just four deep – only two reserves getting serious time – down the bench. The tank could already be running low, just in time for a tough stretch that sees Cleveland at Oklahoma City, at Brooklyn, home to Dallas, and at Philadelphia.
Hottest under bet
Indiana Pacers (3-4 SU, 2-5 over/under)
The Pacers were already without the firepower of SF Danny Granger, and will lack that punch for the next three months. Indiana is scrambling to make up that offense, averaging just 90.4 points a night – 27th in the NBA. The Pacers scored only 89 points in a close win over the Washington Wizards Saturday, turning to their defense to get the job done. Indiana has remained one of the stingiest teams in the league, allowing foes an average of only 92.4 points. It faces Toronto, Milwaukee, Dallas and New York this week.
Scouting the schedule
-- As mentioned above, the Bulls head out on their annual “Circus Trip” this week. The extended road swing has been a thorn in the franchise's side for many years. Chicago has gone 8-12 SU on its last three “Circus Trips” (didn’t have one last season with the lockout) but has posted a 12-8 ATS mark, including a 6-1 ATS record in 2010, in those games. From 2003 to 2007, the Bulls were 6-26 SU and 12-20 ATS when the circus bumped them from the United Center.
-- Miami has kept the ball rolling after its NBA Championship last season. The Heat are off to a 5-1 start (4-2 ATS) with four of those five wins coming in South Beach. The reigning champs get their first test of the season in the shape of a six-game road trip, which opened with a win in Atlanta Friday. LeBron and Co. head to Memphis, Houston, Los Angeles (Clippers), Denver and Phoenix, playing five games in seven nights. Dwyane Wade is expected to return for those contests after missing time with an illness.
-- The Lakers hope a coaching change and an extended home stand can right the ship after a slow start to the schedule. Los Angeles, which just hired Mike D'Antoni as head coach to replace the fired Mike Brown, stays in the Staples Center for the next five games. The Lakers were a great home team last season, going 26-7 SU, and host Sacramento, San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston and Brooklyn.