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The 2012 NBA regular season is six weeks old, which means basketball bettors are starting to get a handle on which teams are worth backing and fading consistently. That said, one must take a hard look at the ebbs and flows for every team and not just count on season long statistics when ultimately coming to a decision. The following is my take on the most recent trends that have developed along with a deciphering of whether their concrete or of the “One Hit Wonder” variety.
San Antonio Spurs ATS Dominance: After the Spurs compiled a $$$-making 39-26-1 ATS tally in last year’s strike shortened regular season, it comes as no surprise to see Head Coach Gregg Popovich’s squad once again headlining the ATS charts as the best bet the league has to offer. Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker might be long in the tooth, but the youthful injections of Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green mustn’t be taken for granted. The team’s “B-Squad” almost pulled the outright win at Miami as double-digit underdogs! If that’s not enough for you to appreciate the depth of this roster, I don’t know what will.
Golden State Warriors Surprising Start: Ever since the Warriors last qualified for the playoffs (2007), the Golden State had been the not so proud owner of one of the worst franchises in the NBA. However, since Mark Jackson took reins by the Bay, the Warriors have started to play a more competitive brand of ball. No longer does GSW employ a matador style of defense with the unit giving up an average of 98.9 points per game. On top of that, youngsters like Steph Curry, David Lee, and Klay Thompson have extra spring in their step with rookies Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green bringing even more excelled youth to the equation. The Warriors are a team on the rise!
The Atlantic Division Could Send Four Teams to the Playoffs: For years, the Celtics ran roughshod within the division more or less sleepwalking to division titles each of the last five seasons. However, their rein atop the standings looks to be coming to an end this season with both the Knicks, Nets, and 76ers all being fully capable of taking home the divisional hardware. Along with possessing four teams with at least 11 wins, as a whole, the division has covered the point-spread at a 52.1 percent clip; even the Raptors have tallied nine point-spread covers through 22 tries. This division is as deep as the Atlantic Ocean!
The Wizards are as Bad if not Worse than Last Year’s Bobcats: Granted, the Wizz are on track to match Charlotte’s woeful winning percentage from a year ago, but they’re by no means as bad a team as that Bobcats unit was. For one, Charlotte closed out their regular season schedule covering the point-spread on just 23 of 66 occasions. Heading into this week, Washington sits 8-8-1 ATS, and while it’s still failed to win a game away from the Verizon Center, it owns a +.500 ATS record at 4-3-1 ATS; Charlotte went 3-30 SU & 12-21 ATS as a visitor a year ago. Arguably the team’s best player – John Wall – is yet to play a single minute and both Trevors (Ariza and Booker) are slated for mid-December returns. I know that when this team gets fully healthy, I’ll be grabbing the overlay of points linemakers are offering up more times than not.
The Mavericks Will Turn it Around Once Dirk Returns: All I can say is that I’m thrilled the German native got his ring when he did, because he’s not getting another one anytime soon. With him out, Dallas’ offense has still flourished behind the leadership of O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Vince Carter, and Darren Collison. The problem has come at the defensive end of the court where Dallas is giving up an average of 100.8 PPG (#24) and sports a defensive efficiency of 103.1 (#17). On top of that, they’re getting outboarded consistently as their rebounding rate check s in dead last. Nowitzki is an offensive threat and his return to the hardwood will not improve this team’s defensive or rebounding weaknesses.
There’s no Stopping the Los Angeles Lakers Train Wreck of a Season: With every passing game LA comes up short in, I’m taking mental notes as to how it all went down. Bottom line, I can’t wait until this team runs up against the same teams that embarrassed them earlier in the year once Steve Nash returns from his injury and has D’Antoni’s offense firing on all cylinders. Points are going to come in bunches for this squad when he does, and every team that toppled them early are going to hope they didn’t make a lasting impression when doing so. Just you wait, the Lakers are going to make those that back them and the ‘over’ a mint once Nash is back in the fold.