As College Basketball heats up, with a ton of teams jockeying for position, it’s often times easy to handicap games. Or should I say less difficult, because if it were easy we’d never lose. On the other hand the NBA is heading in a completely opposite direction.
Here we are in the first week of February and over a week before the All Star game, and yet we probably know seven (or eight) of the eight playoff teams in both Conferences. At some point in the season the NBA always reaches this point but this year it’s much sooner than usual. That means that not only will some teams experiment and/or trade for the future, but more importantly the better teams are not going to bring the intensity night after night. They have no real reason to.
However, the good teams will continue to get even more expensive to bet on, and the value will shift even more to the underdogs. In particular, home underdogs. That’s exacerbated by the fact that even though most teams HAVE been “trying,” there are only four teams in the Eastern Conference with a road record above .500. In fact, if the season ended today, Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Orlando would be the 6-8th seeds. Their combined road record is 26-49. The best road winning percentage of the three is .333 by the 76ers.
Having said that, the separation in the Western Conference isn’t as massive, but it’s there. For example, the Utah Jazz have the best home record in the West but are barely over .500 on the road. Recently, the Jazz went on a sweet 14-2 winning streak (10-4 ATS) and everyone was on them seemingly every night. Then, they proceeded to lose four straight games, THREE of them on the road. And ALL of them as the favorite.
The point is that even before this point in time there was value on home teams catching points and that’s going to be an even better option in the coming weeks.