Every team endures its fair share of twists and turns over the course of an 82-game NBA season. While the true championship contenders tend to establish themselves as such early on, that isn’t always the case. Some teams take longer to gel than others.
There is some luck involved in becoming a profitable NBA bettor, of course. That said, identifying trends can also be a useful skill that helps you get a leg up on the house. In fact, some of the best against-the-spread performers in the NBA over the last month of play won’t necessarily be found near the top of the standings.
1. Dallas Mavericks (8-2)
Much was expected of the Mavericks this season, but the team got off to a ragged start under first-year head coach Jason Kidd. Dallas’ once-prolific offense looked stuck in the mud, while Luka Doncic came into yet another season slightly out of shape. As a result, the Mavs spent most of the first two months of the season treading water. Dallas was just 17-18 entering the new year.
The MVP race is heating up between Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic??? pic.twitter.com/g59bq10RuD
— Mavs Social Club (@MavsSocialClub) March 8, 2022
However, they’ve turned things around impressively since then. Doncic and company have gone 23-7 since that mediocre start to pull to 40-25 overall this season.
So, since they started winning games with regularity, they have also become one of the most prolific against-the-spread bets in the league.
Dallas is 37-27 ATS overall this season, including 8-2 against the spread since February 9, exactly one month ago. Dallas has covered the spread 14 times in their last 20 games, as well. Not only have they been the best ATS bet in the league over the past month, but they’re now the proud owners of the fifth-best ATS win percentage in the NBA for the full season.
The decision to trade Kristaps Porzingis to Washington last month certainly hasn’t hampered their winning ways. If anything, they’re even better without him. Dallas is 8-2 straight-up since sending Porzingis to the Wizards shortly before the February 10 trade deadline.
2. Detroit Pistons (7-3-1)
Yes, you’re reading that correctly. The Detroit Pistons have been one of the most reliable against-the-spread wagers in the sport over the past month of play. The very same Pistons team that has spent the majority of the campaign in the cellar of the Eastern Conference.
Bagley., the controversial former No. 2 overall pick, is suddenly looking like a steal for the Pistons. In six games since the trade, Bagley is averaging 13.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game playing primarily off the bench.
Cade Cunningham and Marvin Bagley III are special. ???? pic.twitter.com/LtzKrlhvvx
— nick (@nsitto2) March 8, 2022
All of a sudden, the Pistons have won three straight and six of their last 10 overall. This is a team that has still only been favored in three games all season long.
The last time the Pistons were favored in a game was January 8, when they were measly one-point favorites over Orlando. However, they’ve been capitalizing on those low expectations of late. Detroit has covered the spread in three straight games and seven of their last eight outings overall.
Can they keep it up? Time will tell. The Pistons don’t have the easiest schedule the rest of the way, which means we’re likely to continue to see this team undervalued by the NBA betting sites.
3. Miami Heat (7-3-1)
While the Pistons have spent most of the season looking up at the rest of the Eastern Conference, the opposite is true of the Heat. Miami is currently alone atop the conference, impressively three games ahead of second-place Philadelphia and Milwaukee. The Heat are 44-22 overall and winners of three straight games.
At this point, it’s going to be difficult for Philly or Milwaukee to make up that ground. Not only have the Heat been winning, but they’ve been doing it in style. Miami’s 39-26-1 ATS record on the season is the third-best in the league, and they’re 7-3-1 against the spread since the trade deadline last month.
Jimmy Butler’s IG story on Victor Oladipo:
“Number 4 on the court but number 1 in our hearts.” pic.twitter.com/5lvOWEdnEG
— Brady Hawk (@BradyHawk305) March 8, 2022
As of this writing, the Heat have successfully covered in each of their last five games. That includes a 17-point win as 16.5-point favorites at home against the Rockets earlier this week. Covering a spread that large is no easy task at this level, yet Miami was just able to squeak by.
4. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-4-1)
The Timberwolves don’t get a lot of attention, but perhaps they should. Minnesota has made a grand total of one playoff appearance since 2004, but they’re on the verge of punching their ticket for the second time this term.
If the season ended today, the T-Wolves would host the Clippers in a 7-vs.-8 matchup in the Western Conference play-in tourney. Minnesota has reeled off five straight wins with an impressive 8-2 mark over their last 10 games. That includes successful covers in five of their last seven. Most importantly, the Wolves have been beating the teams they should be beating.
Minnesota has impressive wins over Cleveland and Golden State over the course of their five-game winning streak. Their last three games, however, are blowout wins over Oklahoma City and Portland (twice). The Wolves have won their last five outings by a combined 114 points.
Let’s go for six straight.
Wolves vs. Thunder
7pm CT, @TargetCenterMN
— Minnesota Timberwwwwwwolves (@Timberwolves) March 9, 2022
The Timberwolves will play two more winnable games against the Thunder and Magic before what should be a compelling matchup with the aforementioned Heat on March 12.
That sixth spot means automatic playoff qualification without the need for the play-in.
5. Memphis Grizzlies (7-4)
The Grizzlies picked up another easy win on Tuesday with a 21-point beatdown of a previously red-hot Pelicans team. Each of Memphis’ last three wins have come by double digits, but they do have a curious loss mixed in there. The Grizz went into Houston and were handed an 11-point loss by a Rockets team that had lost 12 straight games going in.
Memphis has failed to cover in four of their last eight games, which is something of a slump for a team ranked as the best ATS bet in the league for the full season. The Grizzlies’ 44-23-0 against-the-spread mark overall means they’ve covered in nearly 66 percent of their games. Just three teams on the year have cashed covers at a rate north of 60 percent. Oklahoma City and Miami are the others.
24 PTS | 8 REB | 8 AST | 2 STL
— NBA (@NBA) March 9, 2022
Against all odds, the Grizzlies are now second in the Western Conference at 45-22 overall on the year. That puts them a half-game up on the struggling Warriors.
Whether Memphis can stave off Golden State for that coveted No. 2 seed remains to be seen, of course. If they do so, they’ll be able to avoid a playoff matchup with Phoenix until the Western Conference Finals.
This would be quite an accomplishment for a franchise that has never finished higher than fourth in the Western Conference standings in its 27-year history.