Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM

Hot & Not Report

Week of February 3rd

Now that football season is officially over, the betting market shifts nearly all their attention to the hardwood as basketball action (college and pros). Obviously March Madness is next on the horizon in terms of crowing a champion, but the dog days of the NBA season can provide some interesting angles as well.

With the All-Star break coming next week, teams are already looking ahead to the plenty of rest they'll get then, but it's the idea of rest – or lack thereof – that gets the spotlight shone on it today. So the usual order of this piece is getting flipped around, as I start with the NBA teams who have to deal with back-to-backs at some point this week and it's a spot they generally hate.

Who's Not

NBA teams playing back-to-backs this week that have losing records when playing without rest:
Detroit (2-7 ATS), Indiana (2-5 ATS), New York (2-5 ATS), Denver (3-6 ATS), Orlando (2-4-2 ATS), LA Clippers (3-6 ATS), Phoenix (3-5 ATS)

I'll begin with the LA Clippers (3-6 ATS) as they've got to play at Minnesota and at Cleveland on Saturday and Sunday later this week, with the latter being the game you'll probably want to look to go against them. Given that Kawhi Leonard doesn't play on consecutive nights, there is a somewhat fundamental reason for LA being a losing ATS proposition in this scenario because they are never at their best in terms of roster construction. Even with point spreads accounting for that, fading LA in the second game is as many nights has still produced a solid profit.

Now going up against Cleveland will have LA laying significant chalk regardless, so if you are looking to go against them, you've got to decide on where you believe the market will eventually go. LA could end up getting plenty of support overall in the market because of the huge mismatch which would tell you to wait until close to tip to grab the points with the Cavs, but given this negative scenario the Clippers are in, the best of the number on Cleveland might end up being at open. Figuring out where you land on that equation is tough, but it should be a play on Cleveland or passing in my view.

Other teams from that list that are playing back-to-backs this weekend are the Knicks (Saturday/Sunday) Phoenix (Friday/Saturday), Detroit (Friday/Saturday), and Indiana (Friday/Saturday).

Phoenix and Indiana get to play both of their games at home which is a bit of a plus, meaning that the importance of breaking down the actual spread and not so much the negative situation for them on Saturday holds more weight. Phoenix has the much tougher opponents to face (Houston/Denver) compared to Indiana (Toronto/New Orleans), and that first game for the Suns vs Houston is actually one where the Rockets are playing without rest (Houston is 3-4 ATS in that scenario). So it may actually serve you well to go into those Phoenix games with a very loose plan of looking to back them vs Houston and fade them vs Denver, but again, the spread that eventually comes out will play a big part in that.

Finally, speaking of Denver, they are first up this week to deal with this spot, as they at home tonight against Portland and then start that road trip with a date in Utah on Wednesday. Nobody is hotter scoring the basketball then Portland's Damian Lillard right now, and then packing up shop and going out to Utah the next night is no easy task. That's a scenario where looking at Denver on either night is tough, but I'd still wait to see how the game vs Portland goes before making any decisions.

Who's Hot

Teams with great ATS records when having more rest than their opponent:
Boston (10-1-1 ATS), Miami (9-2 ATS), Atlanta (8-2 ATS), Chicago (5-2 ATS), New Orleans (9-5-2 ATS), Dallas (8-5 ATS)

Not all of the teams listed there have strictly applicable scenarios that fit this role this week, but there are two specifically I do want to touch on because they tie into what was discussed earlier. And that's the Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans.

Both Atlanta and New Orleans get to face teams this week that will be playing without rest, and both were mentioned earlier. Atlanta hosts the New York Knicks on Sunday after New York's in Detroit the night before, and the Pelicans visit Indiana the night after the Pacers will likely have their hands full with the defending champs. That's two specific spots where we've got teams in a great 'play on' role going up against teams in a great 'play against' role, and that's hard to ignore.

In all likelihood you'll be laying it with Atlanta and taking some points with the Pelicans, but even with/if this scenario is incorporated into the point spread somewhat, it's been that way for every team all year long and they've still produced the ATS records they have. Now, you could argue there may be some regression to the mean in both directions coming, but that's also why you don't blindly bet teams regardless of the number.

But what you should do is circle these spots as favorable ones, and if the rest of your handicapping process has you landing on the Hawks or Pelicans in these games, firing away should come rather easily.

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