The best way to approach NBA betting in the second half of the NBA season is to simply ride the current trends. That means that teams like Indiana, Phoenix and Portland are still in the mix. But you also have to keep an eye on teams that are looking to make definitive statements as we barrel towards the post season because motivation is what’s going to push teams over the edge. Here are three spread busting tanks that you should stand behind as we begin the road to the 2014 NBA playoffs.
How To Bet The Second Half of the NBA Season
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (32-23 ATS)
It’s very rare that a team like Oklahoma City holds value as an NBA betting grind play when they’re on everyone’s radar but there is nothing to fear here. Kevin Durant is well on his way to a well-deserved MVP and scoring title, and Serge Ibaka continues to slowly rise up as a more consistent offensive force. Obviously, the pending return of Russell Westbrook is the real kicker here. I wouldn’t worry too much if you’ve enjoyed the ride so far; the Thunder are 16-10 ATS whenever Russell is in the lineup.
I’m not sure if the oddsmakers actually know how to account for the production of Durant at this level because we’ve never seen it before. And if you think that KD is going to slow down in the second half of the NBA season, then you should probably remember that the reason Westbrook keeps getting hurt is because of his insane work rate. The less he does from now until the playoffs, the better off OKC will be as contenders and as an NBA betting juggernaut.
TORONTO RAPTORS (31-20-1 ATS)
I know, I know. They’re the Canadian team. They’re hardly ever on television. Who cares, right? You and I should. The Raptors have the third best ATS record in the league, trailing only Phoenix and Indiana. And the crazy part? They’re legitimately the third best team in the Eastern Conference!
The Raptors have only won their division a single time in 19 seasons, and strangely enough it was after Vince Carter left. There’s a reason that this franchise barely catches anyone’s attention – they’ve been below average since they came in to the league with mild bursts here and there.
But this year, Toronto has built a solid squad. There was chatter about Kyle Lowry being the best point guard in the Eastern Conference this year during the All-Star break. The guy’s averaging 16.7 points and 7.6 helpers per game. Along with the somewhat staggering evolution of All-Star DeMar DeRozan and the continued improvement of Terrence Ross, this is a young back court that can shoot, fly and pace with most teams.
There’s a lot to be concerned about in the front court, but part of knowing how to bet the second half of the NBA season is keying on weak divisions. Aside from maybe New York, the Atlantic is filled with the walking wounded. Boston, Philadelphia and Brooklyn are all in pretty rough shape. Toronto is a young and fun team to watch, and the more confidence they play with, the better they’re going to be. That’s why the Raptors are my favorite NBA betting team in the second half bar none. The fact that the public factor doesn’t exist with this oft-forgotten group only makes them more attractive.
L.A. CLIPPERS (31-24 ATS)
The general mantra with betting on NBA futures is that you zero in on teams that can play strong defense. Look at the four squads that made the conference finals last year: Memphis, San Antonio, Indiana and Miami were all amongst the best in terms of team defense. So I get that the book on the Clippers is that they’re a “regular season” team because they can’t stop anyone with that Griffin-Jordan front court when it matters. This team isn’t designed to win a seven game series.
That being said, we’re in the regular season, so the Clippers are absolutely a great NBA betting team, right? Where the Clips tend to hold the most value is on the road where they went 17-11 ATS in the first half. But beyond that, we have to remember that this team averaged 107.0 points per game (2nd) without Chris Paul for the majority of the last few months. Now that he’s back, I’m not sure if the oddsmakers are ready for what this refined, Doc Rivers infused, Clippers team is going to do to the scoreboard. By the way, they’re also one of the best NBA betting teams for the OVER. Ride this major market team hard in the second half while you attack the NBA betting board with vigor.