Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that have proven profitability no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.
Despite being on opposite ends of the Western Conference standings, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had the Oklahoma City Thunder’s number in recent meetings. The T-Wolves are just 1-5 SU (straight up) over the past six meetings but are 6-0 ATS (against the spread) in those same contests.
The last time Minnesota stung Oklahoma City, the Thunder were looking ahead to a finals rematch with the Miami Heat on Christmas Day. The Timberwolves shocked the reigning Western champs 99-93 as 2-point dogs on Dec. 20. The T-Wolves are once again in a position to catch the Thunder looking ahead on Wednesday at OKC. Oklahoma City has a high-profile showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers Friday.
Even though the Falcons posted a NFC-best 13-3 SU record, they were always priced behind teams like Denver, New England, Houston and San Francisco in the Super Bowl XLVII futures odds. Atlanta’s poor postseason history is to blame for that lack of respect. The Falcons have a reputation for falling on their faces in the opening playoff game.
Last year, they were trounced 24-2 by the New York Giants in the Wild Card Round. In 2011, Green Bay sent Atlanta packing with a 48-21 loss in the Divisional Round. And in 2009, the Falcons were defeated by the Arizona Cardinals in the Wild Card Round. In fact, Atlanta fans have to go all the way back to 2005’s win over the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Wild Card Game for the last time the Falcons got over the opening-game hump. Oddsmakers have set Atlanta as a 1-point home favorite hosting the Seattle Seahawks in its playoff opener Sunday.
The Utah Jazz’s upcoming schedule is music to the spot bettor’s ears. Utah is a classic home/away wager, posting a 10-5 ATS mark inside EnergySolutions Arena but lugging a nasty 7-13-1 ATS record away from home. The Jazz have covered just three of their last seven road games, with SU and ATS road wins over Phoenix, Orlando and Brooklyn.
Utah opens a three-game road trip against the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday, where books will likely tag it as a hefty road fave. Then, the Jazz head to Atlanta Friday and wrap up three games in four nights with a stop in Detroit to play the Pistons Saturday. Utah is averaging 101.5 points at home – 10th in the NBA – but only 95.9 points on the road.