NBA Top 4: Bad road team, good road bet
Road teams have the edge at the betting window to start the NBA season, posting a 101-96-6 ATS mark heading into Tuesday’s action.
That 51.27 percent success rate against the spread isn’t going to balloon up wallets overnight but there are a handful of teams showing excellent betting value when hitting the highway. And, to the surprise of some, those teams aren’t at the top of the NBA food chain.
Here are four teams with losing road records that have done just enough to meet the oddsmakers’ expectations away from home:
Cleveland Cavaliers (1-9 SU away, 6-4 ATS away)
The Cavaliers just went a big oh-fer on their recent three-game road swing, but managed to cover the spread in Orlando, Miami and Memphis. Cleveland was given a pile of points in South Beach (+15) and was an 11.5-point dog visiting the Grizzlies.
Despite missing star guard Kyrie Irving, the Cavs were a tough out in all three of those contests. Rookie Dion Waiters has been instant offense in place of Irving and center Anderson Varejao is playing the best basketball of his career. Cleveland is home to Phoenix Tuesday before heading to Atlanta Friday.
Washington Wizards (0-6 SU away, 4-2 ATS away)
A bad team can sink so low that eventually they come up on the other side as a value bet. This phenomenon usually doesn’t happen until late in the NBA season, but the Wizards are already there thanks to a 0-12 start to the schedule. And the best value with Washington has been on the road.
The Wizards are 4-2 ATS away from D.C. including back-to-back covers in their past two road games. Looking over the home/away splits won’t reveal much, as the scoring and defense remains around the same level no matter where Washington plays. Just those few extra points on the spread as the visitor are making the difference. The Wiz are home to Portland Wednesday before traveling to New York Friday.
New Orleans Hornets (2-5 SU away, 5-2 ATS away)
The Hornets went into the Staples Center and capped their four-game road trip with a shocker over the Clippers Monday, knocking off L.A. 105-98 as 13-point pups. New Orleans split against the spread during that trip, going 2-2 ATS with the other payday coming in Phoenix. The Bugs nearly knocked off Indiana as well but faded in overtime.
The Hornets offense is hitting its stride away from the Big Easy, averaging 100.3 points per road game (sixth in the NBA) while scoring an average of just 87.8 at home (30th in the NBA). Without shot swatter Anthony Davis guarding the hoop (out with an ankle injury) New Orleans is turning up the intensity and looking to outgun opponents (3-1 over/under on recent road trip). Bettors will have to wait until Dec. 8 (at Miami) to bet the Bugs on the road with a five-game home stand starting Wednesday.
Denver Nuggets (4-6 SU away, 6-4 ATS away)
The Nuggets are well known among NBA bettors for their home-court edge, welcoming foes to the thin air of the Pepsi Center. But while Denver is a solid play as a host, it has shown some value as a guest as well. The Nuggets have covered in three straight road games, including a 105-103 loss in Utah Monday that snapped a four-game winning streak in which the team was a perfect 5-0 ATS.
Denver is one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA, especially on the offensive glass. It leads the league in offensive boards (15.5 per game) and total rebounds (57.5 per game), getting great work from glass eater Kenneth Faried under the rim. The Nuggets play seven of their next eight games on the road, starting in Golden State Thursday and L.A. Friday.