Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, January 14, 2013 at 8:00 AM
They say that Las Vegas pointspreads are supposed to be the great equalizer for sports bettors. But, heading into Monday Night’s marquee Western Conference matchup featuring the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies, that seems to be far from true for a certain subset of teams.
Western contenders are consistently beating the Vegas line, even though there’s been no secret about who the Western contenders are for weeks!
Here are the ATS records of the top seven teams in the Western Conference playoff picture (we’re using results through Saturday Night because of publication deadlines).
VERSUS THE SPREAD
Oklahoma City 22-13-1
LA Clippers 22-15-0
San Antonio 22-16-1
Golden State 20-14-1
What’s amazing about that is that those seven teams have played several games against each other! Those will naturally break out 50/50 against the number. When not playing each other, the best in the West are utterly dominant straight up, and consistently profitable against the Vegas lines.
Note that Houston just dropped three in a row against the number with a tough four-games-in-five-nights stretch. They were 21-13-1 before that. It’s very clear that oddsmakers have underestimated how good the elite teams are in the NBA’s best conference. And, this is particularly true when those teams are fresh and rested…and playing somebody who ISN’T elite.
Picking winners isn’t supposed to be this easy!
It’s apparent that oddsmakers are in a bit of a time warp. Past powers like the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are having trouble meeting expectations. The Lakers were 14-21-1 ATS entering the past weekend, while Boston was 14-20-2. Do oddsmakers think Michael Jordan still plays for the Chicago Bulls? They’re 13-22-0 heading into Monday Night’s TV game vs. the Atlanta Hawks.
Even though all NBA fans know that Oklahoma City is fantastic, oddsmakers have underestimated how great the Thunder is this season. Even though the LA Clippers play in a huge media market, you could still have made big money backing the Clippers as they grabbed control of Tinseltown. San Antonio made a fortune for backers last year during the regular season…and the line STILL hasn’t adjusted!
You’ve often heard that the NBA is easiest to beat early in the first half of the season. That’s because:
*Sportsbooks are buried in football through November and December.
*Sportsbooks then become buried in the NFL Playoffs and college basketball in January
We’ve shown you over the years that this actually continues all the way through March Madness! Oddsmakers finally get caught up with NBA developments just in time for the end of the season! Then, in the playoffs, it comes down to X’s and O’s rather than Power Ratings, and sportsbooks are once again at the mercy of smart handicappers.
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