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NBA Go-Against Teams
by Scott Spreitzer - 02/03/2005
Halfway through the NBA season, we have a very good idea of which teams will be contending for playoff spots and the championship and which teams are in line for the top ten picks in the draft lottery. While many sports bettors are thinking this time of year about which teams to bet on, a tried and true formula that is just as effective is finding spots to bet against certain teams.
Certainly situations are a part of this. For instance, if a team is playing its fourth straight road game, or is playing its third game in four nights, they might begin to tire out. But another aspect of this is that some teams are consistent all season as a regular "go-against," many times even regardless of who they happen to be playing. These teams can offer excellent wagering opportunities.
We are approaching the time of the year when some teams begin to pack it in, and it's not unusual to see teams go on long negative ATS spread runs, or even "over the total" runs as they care little about defense and are more interested in padding offensive stats or just getting the season over with. I've compiled a quick checklist of teams that have been good to go-against.
Celtics: First-year coach Doc Rivers hasn't taught this young group to play much defense, a fault he was criticized with last season before he got fired in Orlando. Notice that on the road Boston is 7-16 straight up and 9-14 against the spread. They have been a consistent go-against on the road because they allow 104 points per game away from the parquet floor. Perhaps Bill Russell should drop by to show the boys how to box out! Until they show improvement on the defensive end away from home, they should continue to be a better go-against road team.
Hawks: What else is there to say about this rag-tag collection lacking talent? Atlanta is 2-17 SU/5-14 ATS on the road. It's hard to imagine any improvement as the season winds down, especially when they're playing in front of hostile crowds.
Clippers: A typical Jeckyl and Hyde team. The Clippers have actually been very competitive at home, but are still 5-13 SU/8-10 ATS on the road. Still, this is one team that I wouldn't place in a "go-against" category just yet, however, as they do have talent and are playing much-improved defense this season. Keep a close eye on this bunch as they may begin to improve on the road, unless they fall completely out of things.
Lakers: This team not only misses Shaq but now Kobe! The Lakers are still a public team and notice they are 7-10 SU/ATS on the road.
Magic: Orlando has been a pleasant surprise after everything went completely wrong a year ago. Still, Orlando has been money-burners on the road at 9-15 SU/ATS.
Raptors: And the winner of this year's Jeckyl and Hyde team....Toronto has been remarkably competitive at home (15-7 SU, 14-7-1 ATS) but a great go-against on the road at 3-20 SU/8-13 ATS! They're the only NBA team that has to leave their home country to play on the road.
Potential Go-Against Teams: Knicks and Blazers. Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks is currently making lineup changes in an attempt to get this team going, but it's not yet working. They appear to be on a bubble, ready to splinter into unhappiness, or to begin to turn things around. Stay tuned. And the Knicks....The Knicks are a mess. Lenny Wilkens had the right idea by leaving town rather than to try and reach this dysfunctional group. If any team is close to a spiraling train wreck as the season winds down, it might be the New Yorkers.
Potential Non-Go-Against teams: Nuggets, because this team has talent and perhaps the new coach (George Karl) will right the ship. This is why it's essential to keep your nose to the grindstone every day if you want to turn a profit wagering on sports. You need to keep on top of everything - trends, angles, situations, team chemistry and subtle changes. You need to be out in front of the curve, not lagging behind.