NBA Trends: Checking Rest, Favorites/Underdogs, and More

NBA Basketball Trends Background

  • Bulls, Cavaliers are good bets with the recent success
  • Heat is a good bet as favorite while hitting over
  • Hornets’ success rates depend on explosive offense, embattled defense

Best Records ATS as a Favorite

1. Charlotte – 7-3-0, 70% Cover Rate

Charlotte Hornets LogoThe Charlotte Hornets’ scoring punch is second in the league at 115.1 points per game, so on a night where they play well on the defensive end where they give up 115.5 points (29th/NBA), the cover becomes likely. Charlotte covered two games as a favorite this past week on back-to-back games as the Hornets defeated the Pistons (-10.5) and Bucks (-1.5).

Charlotte has six players averaging double figures, led by Miles Bridges’ 19.6 points per night.

2. Chicago – 18-9-0, 66.7%

Chicago Bulls LogoAs Chicago has bolted into the lead in the Eastern Conference, they have been a favorite of the NBA betting sites in 27 of their 39 outings. The Bulls have covered their last two games as favorites in a 46-point win over the Pistons where they were giving (-13.5) on Tuesday and then against Washington last week when they covered (-5.5) with an 8-point victory.

Before those two wins, they missed covering but won games against Washington, Indiana, and Orlando.

3. Detroit – 2-1, 66.7%

Detroit Pistons LogoThe struggling Pistons have been favored only three times in their 40 games as they have struggled to a 9-31 record in what is one of the most monumental rebuilds in NBA history. Both of their covers have been an equal rebuild in the Orlando Magic as the Pistons surpassed a (-6) and a (-1) in their 97-92 win over Orlando last week.

Their lone miss as a favorite came on December 8 when they lost to the Rockets, 116-107, with even odds.

4. Cleveland – 10-5-1, 66.7%

Cleveland Cavaliers LogoThe Cavaliers are one of the league’s biggest surprises, along with the Bulls, as Cleveland is 24-18 and tied for fifth in the East with Philadelphia. The Cavaliers covered six in a row as a favorite from Dec. 8-18 which included a 105-94 win over Miami as a (-5.5) favorite and then they were favored over Milwaukee by (-6) on Dec. 18.

The Cavs defeated the Bucks, who were struggling with COVID-19 issues, 119-90.

The Cavaliers then had 1-3 streak within this demographic as they were upset by the Pelicans and the Hawks when they were favored by (-4.5) and (-2), respectively.

5. Golden State 19-12-2, 61.3%

Golden State Warriors LogoThe Warriors have lost three out of four SU, but are still only one game back of the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference. The Warriors were favored in two of those three games as they dropped a 99-82 decision to the Dallas Mavericks as a (-4.5) favorite on Jan. 5 and they were favored by (2.5) two nights ago when they fell 116-108 in Memphis.

Golden State was 9-2-1 ATS as a favorite in the 12 games before that loss to the Mavericks. The Warriors also cover 10 of their first 11 games when they were giving points.

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Best Records ATS as an Underdog

1. Brooklyn 4-1-0, 80% Cover Rate

Brooklyn Nets LogoThe last time the Nets were an underdog was back on Christmas Day with the matchup with the Lakers where they were getting (+2.5) points and took a 122-115 win. With the lineup of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving playing in road games where he is allowed in the arena.

The Nets are going to be an underdog an even small percentage of the time.

The fracturing of a lineup even for someone deemed a “Superstar” could play havoc with a cover if the connectivity on the Nets isn’t as prevalent.

2. Miami, 11-4-0, 73.3%

Miami Heat LogoThe Heat have been underdogs in their last two games vs. Phoenix in grandiose form as they were a (+9.5) underdogs in a 123-100 win over the Suns on Jan. 8. Then, two nights ago the Heat spanked Atlanta, 115-91, as they had a (+2.5) number and an easy outright cover.

In all, Miami has covered five in a row as an underdog and the last time they failed to cover the plus-number was on Dec. 13 when they were beaten 105-94 by Cleveland as Miami was posted with a (+5.5).

3. Memphis, 13-7-0, 65%

Memphis Grizzlies LogoJa Morant is turning the Grizzlies into a must-watch and with that likely will come more bettor action, especially in the playoffs. The Grizzlies have won 10 in a row and have moved to No. 3 in the West while they have a 6.0 game lead over Dallas in the Southwest Division. The Grizzlies were actually tabbed as underdogs in five of those ten games.

In that 10-game streak and they covered the last two with a pair of eight-point wins over the Lakers (+3) and the Warriors (+2.5).

Maybe the biggest cover in this scenario for the Grizz was in Philadelphia on December 13 when they beat the 76ers, 126-91, and they were getting (+2) from oddsmakers.

4. Golden State, 4-3-0, 57.1%

Golden State Warriors LogoThe Warriors failed to cover against New Orleans last Thursday with Steph Curry and Draymond Green on the sidelines. Golden State was getting (+1) in New Orleans on the second night of a back-to-back set of games after a loss in Dallas and fell to the Pelicans, 101-96.

Golden State beat Utah, 123-116, on New Year’s Day as a (+5.5) underdog after they were (+6) in Phoenix on Christmas Day and eclipsed the Suns, 116-107.

5. Utah, 1-1-0, 50%

Utah Jazz LogoThe Jazz have been favored in an amazing 40 of 42 games and the two they weren’t favored in had players lost to covid, including big-man Rudy Gobert. The first was last week when they defeated Denver, 115-109, as a 1-point underdog. The Jazz came back two nights late and was catching an amazing (+13.5) before losing in Toronto, 122-108.

In the loss to the Raptors, Gobert and Joe Ingles were out via covid protocols as Donovan Mitchell and six other Jazz players were out with injuries. That snapped Utah’s 10-game road winning streak.

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Best Records ATS With 1 Day Off

1. Charlotte, 18-8–0, 69.2% Cover Rate

Charlotte Hornets LogoWe talked about the Hornets’ offensive mantra and when a talented team that plays in rhythm and scores as the Hornets do comes in rested, they put tremendous pressure on the opposing team. Charlotte has covered its last four games with a day off and you have to go back to a recent west coast trip when they didn’t.

They lost 123-116 in Portland and were a (+1.5) underdog.

The Hornets started the season at 8-7-0 in this scenario and have picked up the pace since covering a (+7.5) in a 127-124 loss to the 76ers on Dec. 6.

2. Cleveland, 17-8-1, 68%

Cleveland Cavaliers LogoThe Cavaliers covered the number last night as they were a (+5) underdog in a 111-91 victory over the Utah Jazz. As the Cavs have been picking up wins and moving forward in the Eastern Conference as a player, they have been the favorite in seven of their last 10 games.

You have to go back to Dec. 15 when they were favored by (-9.5) and bombed the Houston Rockets, 124-89. The Cavs could get more covers across the boards as they bring in journeyman Rajon Rondo to play the point with the injury to Collin Sexton. This allows Darius Garland to move back to shooting guard, his normal position.

3. Oklahoma City, 15-8–0, 65%

Oklahoma City Thunder Logo 101x101The Thunder have lost seven out of their last eight games, but covered four of six games on a day’s rest, therein. OKC was a 7-point underdog in their last two games ATS and lost a pair of four-point decisions to the Nuggets and the Wizards. The Thunder also covered a pair of these with a pair of wins over the Nuggets (+4.5) and the Grizzlies (+9) in mid-December.

4. Chicago, 15-8-0, 65%

Chicago Bulls LogoThe Bulls are like the Cavaliers in becoming a bettors’ friend with the improvement in the two teams. Chicago is 5-3-0 since Dec. 1 in this scenario, but keep in mind the Bulls had COVID-19 protocols within the organization and suffered eight days and six days between two sets of games.

Chicago covered a (-13.5) line with a 133-87 win over the Pistons on Tuesday, two days have catching (+2) but losing to the Mavericks, 113-99 in this scenario.

5. Dallas, 17-10-0, 63%

Dallas Mavericks LogoNew York ended the Mavericks six-game winning streak last night when the Knicks covered a (+2.5) line in a 108-85 win. The Mavs had just covered three straight games with one day’s rest, ending with a 113-99 win over Chicago on Sunday night where the Mavericks were giving (-2).

Dallas played eight games from Dec. 19 – Jan. 2 and went 4-4-0 with a day off between each.

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Best Records ATS With 2-3 Days Off

1. Cleveland, 6-1-0, 85.7% Cover Rate

Cleveland Cavaliers LogoThe Cavaliers have covered their last two games as they clipped Portland, 114-101, and covered (-6) behind 27 points from Darius Garland on Jan. 7. The cover before that one was the famous 144-99 romp over covid-ridden Toronto on Dec. 26 where Cleveland was favored by (-9).

The last loss came in the game before that one when the Celtics gave the Cavs (-6.5) and beat Cleveland, 111-101.

2. Oklahoma City, 8-2-0, 80%

Oklahoma City Thunder Logo 101x101Coach Mark Daigneault is so analytics-driven that it almost feels like 2-3 days between games set time for even a team that struggles like the Thunder to formulate a game plan, in this case. OKC. The Thunder are 4-1 ATS and 3-2 SU since the beginning of December. Oklahoma City had a (+9.5) price vs. Minnesota back on Jan. 5.

They lost, 98-90 in the last game with this much rest.

The last win came on December 26 when the Thunder beat New Orleans, 117-112 as a (+1.5) underdog.

3. Sacramento, 4-1-0, 80%

Sacramento Kings LogoThe Kings sit one game back of Portland for the final spot in the Western Conference in the play-in scenario. Sacramento seldom has variable rest between games as the last time they had more than a day off was on Dec. 8 when they covered (-7.5) points in a 142-130 win over the Orlando Magic.

The game before that one was on Dec. 4 and the Kings were up to the task there as well with an outright cover in a 104-99 decision over the Clippers where the Kings were getting (+2).

4. Golden State, 7-2-1, 77.8%

Golden State Warriors LogoGolden State covered (-7) on Sunday night as they defeated Cleveland, 106-92, in Chase Center. This is the lone win for the Warriors since in their current 1-3 valley. The cover against Utah (+5) on Jan. 1 was also on 3-days rest while Golden State was a (-8) favorite on Dec. 28, but lost, 99-86, to Denver.

Getting days off allows Steph Curry more rest while Klay Thompson is able to get up more shots as he is now back in the lineup for the Warriors. This team will be even tougher with extra days of rest.

5. Miami, 6-2-0, 75%

Miami Heat LogoThe Heat have won three in a row and are 8-2 in their last ten games as they have taken control of the Southeast Division. Miami covered (+2.5) last night on three days of rest as the Heat stonewalled Atlanta, 115-91, behind 21 points from Tyler Herro and 18 from Caleb Martin.

The Heat surprisingly covered the game before the win over the Hawks as they were a (+9.5) underdog in picking up a 123-100 win at Phoenix on two days of rest.

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Best Records O/U – As a Favorite

1. San Antonio, 9-3-0, 75% Cover Rate

San Antonio Spurs LogoThe Spurs have covered the over as a favorite in their last five games. San Antonio takes and makes the most shots in the NBA with an average of 43.3 field goals and 93.6 attempts, couple that with a defense that gives up 46.4 percent of the field goals (22nd/NBA) and they give up 111.3 points (25th/NBA).

The key with these types of bests is find high scoring teams that are not good on the defensive end.

Although the Spurs dropped a 128-124 decision to Houston it was an easy cover on an OVER that was set at 234.5.

2. Indiana, 15-7-0, 68.2%

Indiana Pacers LogoThe Pacers were a (-1) favorite last night and lost 119-110 to the Boston Celtics as Indiana covered the OVER. Indiana’s last win and cover on the OVER came on Dec. 23 when the Pacers defeated Houston, 118-106. Indiana covered four favorite roles from Dec. 1-Dec. 8 and was only 1-3 ATS in those four games.

Indiana was a (-5) favorite over the Knicks and covered while blowing away the OVER in a 122-102 win.

3. Detroit, 2-1-0, 66.7%

Detroit Pistons LogoWe already discussed the Pistons in covering the two games vs. Orlando while losing to OKC in an even-bet scenario. Here, the Pistons covered the OVER and defeated Orlando, 110-103 as a (-6) point favorite. As Detroit was favored by (-3) in that matchup with the Thunder, both teams exploded to cover the OVER with a 114-103 verdict for Oklahoma City.

4. New Orleans, 5-3-0, 62.5%

New Orleans Pelicans LogoThe Pelicans are another lottery-bound team, but they cover OVERs. The last time they were the favorite and hit the OVER came on Dec. 26 when they were favored by (-1.5) over Oklahoma City and lost, 117-112, but covered the OVER which was set at 212.5. The Pels last cover for a win and passing of the OVER was way back on Dec. 17.

That is when they had a (-1.5) number vs. a Milwaukee team with COVID-19 issues, and defeated the Bucks, 116-112, to cover the 215.

5. Chicago 16-10-1, 61.5%

Chicago Bulls LogoThe Bulls were 6-0-1 finding the OVER as the favorite as you have to go back to a 118-92 loss to Miami on Dec. 11 where they were giving (-1.5) and went UNDER the number which was set at 208.5. The lone tie or push was in the 133-87 win over the Pistons when the O/U was posted at 220.

Chicago went OVER as the favorite eight times between the beginning of the season and Nov. 30.

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Best records O/U – As an Underdog

1. Miami, 10-5-0, 66.7% Cover Rate

Miami Heat LogoMiami covered the last two numbers in this scenario as the Heat found a 115-109 win over Portland on Dec. 5 as they were cast as a (-2.5) favorite and went OVER 215.5 points. The Heat is 3-2-0 as Miami seems to continue to trend upward with the underdog status and the OVER.

In last night’s win over Atlanta, Miami covered the (+2.5), but the two teams couldn’t hit the OVER in the 115-91 win.

2. Minnesota, 15-9-0, 62.5%

Minnesota Timberwolves LogoThe Timberwolves are 3-3-0 with the underdog status as they have covered the OVER in seven of the last 11 games when cast as the underdog. Minnesota was favored to win it’s last four games and went 3-1-0 SU and 2-2-0 ATS. The T-Wolves come into Memphis tonight as a (+4.5) underdog and an OVER/UNDER set at 230.5.

Minnesota started the season 5-5-0 when cast as an underdog and fielding the O/U.

3. Toronto, 13-8-0, 61.9%

Toronto Raptors LogoThe Raptors were getting (+4.5) odds at home on Tuesday night, but dropped a 99-95 decision to the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns. Toronto and Phoenix were handed an O/U of 222, which was an outright UNDER and it ended Toronto’s longest win streak of the season at six.

Toronto is 4-1-0 when the underdog as the Raptors have shot at a higher percentage and tended to score the ball more. The Raptors were 5-5-0 over the first ten games of the season when they were cast as the underdogs.

4. Washington, 13-8-1, 61.9%

Washington Wizards LogoThe Wizards are 22-20 overall and in ninth in the Eastern Conference right now as they are two games back of the No. 6 seed Cleveland Cavaliers. Washington has been favored in it’s last three games and has covered all three of those, so you have to go back to the Jan. 7 meeting with the Bulls where the Wizards were (+5.5) underdogs as the Bulls won 130-122.

But the two teams obliterated the OVER as it had 225 posting.

In the last five games where the Wizards have been underdogs, the number has gone over, dating back to Dec. 18 when they were carrying (+10) vs. Utah and lost 109-103 with the line set at 222.5.

5. Denver, 11-7-0, 61.1 %

Denver Nuggets LogoThe Nuggets continue to battle injuries as they are 5-5 SU in their last ten games. Denver has been favored in it’s last four and has covered two of those, so you have to go back to a 103-89 loss to Dallas on Jan. 3 where the Nuggets were carrying (+3), but the total was UNDER 213.

The last time the Nuggets were an underdog and covered, pulling the over, was in Atlanta on Dec. 17 when the Nuggets were getting (+3.5) and they covered outright with a 133-115 win. The two teams pounced on the OVER with its 225.5 setting. The Nuggets are 8-3-0 in this scenario, dating back to mid-November.

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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