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NBA Betting Roadmap, Week 4

   by Al McMordie - 11/16/2015

With three weeks in the books, the NBA wheat is starting to separate itself from the NBA chaff. The Top 6 teams are well-defined, at least from a margin of victory standpoint: Warriors, Spurs, Cavaliers, Heat, Thunder and the upstart Celtics. The one common thread which runs through most of these teams is strong defensive play, as the Spurs, Heat, Warriors and Celtics are the Top 4-ranked teams in Defensive Rating. And, of those six clubs, all but the Cavaliers have played a majority of their games 'Under' the total (the Cavs have played half of their 10 games 'Under'). Let's take a closer look at the week that was, and the week ahead in the NBA.

Spread Watch

The Cavaliers are certainly the class of the Eastern Conference. Even without Kyrie Irving on the floor, the Cavs have bolted out to an 8-2 record, and have won their games by 7.20 ppg, to rank 3rd in margin of victory behind the Warriors (16.27) and Spurs (10.56). But a superb victory margin has not translated into success at the betting window. After losing to Milwaukee, 108-105, in double-overtime on Saturday, as a 5-point favorite, Cleveland's pointspread losing streak reached an unfathomable seven games (after starting the season with three ATS wins). Interestingly, since 1990, there have been 226 teams which lost exactly their previous seven games ATS. But only three of those teams -- before this year's Cavaliers -- had a win percentage of .800, or better. After the loss to the Bucks, LeBron James remarked, "We're not a great team right now....We give a half-ass effort sometimes and expect that we can just make a run at the end." I would think that James' critique might light a fire under the Cavaliers in their next game, on Tuesday, at Detroit. And given that those 226 teams, referenced above, that had lost seven games in a row to the spread went 123-97-6 ATS in their next game (including 63-39-3 ATS on the road), the Cavs surely are worth a look.

Total Watch

The Miami Heat are one of six NBA teams giving up less than a point per possession, and currently rank #2 in Defensive Rating (behind San Antonio). The Heat have also played their last eight games 'Under' the total (after tipping off the season with an 'Over' vs. the Hornets). For the season, Miami is surrendering just 90.2 ppg. This Tuesday, the Heat will host the Timberwolves, and nine of the last 13 meetings between those two clubs have sailed 'Under' the total.

Injury Watch

Kevin Durant suffered a hamstring injury in last week's game vs. the Washington Wizards, and he then missed the Thunder's next two games, at home, vs. Philly (win) and Boston (loss). He is expected to miss, at the least, OKC's next two games, at Memphis on Monday, and at home vs. New Orleans. The Thunder have gone 28-29 without their All-Star in the line-up the past two seasons (compared to 23-12 with him), and they're 27-29-1 ATS in those 57 games. Memphis has owned the series at home vs. the Thunder, lately, as OKC has covered just two of the last nine games played on Beale Street. Consider backing the Grizz on Monday night.

Schedule Watch

The San Antonio Spurs are settling in as the second-best team in the NBA, behind Golden State. The Spurs have started 7-2 SU and 6-4 ATS, and have the league's best Defensive Rating (95.54), and second-best Margin of Victory (10.56). They should improve on those numbers as their upcoming schedule includes games against the Blazers, Nuggets, Pelicans and Grizzlies. And, in five of the Spurs' next six home games, their opponent will be playing without rest. That's significant, as San Antonio is 65-37-1 ATS since February 24, 2010 when playing an unrested opponent, including 10-0 ATS if that opponent is also playing its fourth game in five nights. Circle Saturday, November 28th on your calendar, as the Spurs/Hawks game fits that 10-0 ATS angle. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie. And don't miss any of our NBA Winners this week.

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