Depth is something every NBA coach desires. But just how valuable is it to bettors and the spread? Well, there’s a correlation between teams that get paltry contributions from their bench players and poor ATS records.
The Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls, and Cleveland Cavaliers have the worst offensive outputs from the bench so far this season and have a combined 47-57-2 ATS record heading into action Thursday night.
Here’s a breakdown of the depth and ATS records of each team:
Portland Trail Blazers (8-12-1 ATS)
Bench production: 15.7 points per game
Portland’s bench has been non-existent this season. Seven-footer Meyers Leonard leads all scorers off the young and inexperienced Blazers bench with a whopping five points per game. Nicolas Batum (back) and Wesley Mathews (hip) are currently dealing with injuries, which isn’t good news for Portland moving forward.
Los Angeles Lakers (9-13 ATS)
Bench Production: 23.7 points per game
Injuries to Pau Gasol and Steve Nash have tested the Lakers’ depth early this season. So far, they’ve failed miserably. Antawn Jamison was projected to put up huge numbers off the bench, but the two-time All-Star and 2004 Sixth Man of the Year has been a shade of his former self, averaging just eight points in just under 22 minutes per game. The Lakers, who already had a thin bench to begin with, have also suffered from the absence of backup PG Steve Blake (abdominal).
Memphis Grizzlies (12-6-1 ATS)
Bench production: 24.4 points per game
Memphis seems to be the only exception to this current trend. The Grizzlies opened the season on a tear ATS and continue to be successful against the spread. But one has to wonder how long their formidable group of starters can continue to log big minutes as the season progresses. Lionel Hollins can’t feel too confident in Darrell Arthur, Quincy Pondexter and Jerryd Bayless to get the job done down the stretch.
Chicago Bulls (8-13 ATS)
Bench production: 26.2 points per game
The Bulls’ bench has been their Achilles' heel all season long. Although Chicago has improved ATS recently, its dreadful 2-10 home record against the spread speaks for itself. Injuries to Kirk Hinrich (knee) and Richard Hamilton (foot) have limited Tom Thibodeau’s options off the pine, which was already strained to begin the campaign because of Derrick Rose’s torn ACL.
Cleveland Cavaliers (10-13 ATS)
Bench production: 26.3 points per game
Byron Scott has been giving his subs heavy minutes this season. The problem is only one of his bench players, Tyler Zeller, is currently shooting over 40 percent from the field. Scott has also been distributing minutes evenly among his subs. Even the 15th man on the roster, Kevin Jones, is getting nearly six minutes of action on a nightly basis.