Winning basketball games can be really broken down into three things: they don’t turn the ball over, they rebound on defense, and they hit their free throws.
If a team does those three things consistently, they’re a tough out. But if a team can’t hang on to the ball, gives up offensive boards, and throws up bricks from the stripe not only are they a loser – they’re a losing bet.
Here’s a look at three teams burning bettors through the first part of the NBA schedule and the reasons why. (Records are as of before Wednesday's games).
Dallas Mavericks (12-13 SU, 12-13 ATS)
The Mavericks went 0-3 on their recent three-game road swing, losing at Minnesota, Toronto and Boston, while covering in just two of those games. Dallas has had turnover troubles all season but things got out of hand on this road run.
The Mavericks coughed the ball up 65 times during those games, including a 28-turnover fiasco in Boston. They barfed up 17 turnovers in a loss to the lowly Raptors and threw the ball away 20 times in an overtime loss to the T-Wolves.
Charlotte Bobcats (7-17 SU, 10-14 ATS)
Trouble: Defensive rebounding
The Bobcats’ list of faults rivals that of Santa’s naughty and nice count, but keeping teams off the offensive glass could be the most costly of those problems. Charlotte has watched foes pluck 13 offensive rebounds per game and boasts a 69.6 percent defensive rebound rate – worst in the NBA.
All those leaked second-chance opportunities aren’t doing Bobcats bettors any favors, even with the team getting plenty of points from oddsmakers most nights. A soft front court is to blame. Seven-footer Byron Mullens is the team’s top rebounder with just over seven boards per night.
Los Angeles Lakers (12-14 SU, 10-15-1 ATS)
Trouble: Foul shooting
Could solving the Lakers’ issues be as simple as knocking down a few free throws? When it comes to NBA bettors – yes. Los Angeles, despite its struggles, still gets respect from oddsmakers and backers need all the scoring they can get to cover those inflated spreads.
The Lakers get to the line more than any team in the league, attempting 30.3 foul shots per game. But, those points fly out the window with the team shooting a collective 68.7 percent - 29th in the NBA. That’s close to 10 points going MIA a night. Seeing that L.A.’s average margin of victory is only 2.8 points, those additional freebies would make a world of difference.