There are many words to throw around for the first half of this NBA lockout shortened season. It certainly hasn’t followed suit from previous campaigns, with many adjustments needed to be made. Let’s be honest, handicapping a team playing three straight days is a completely new science. Let’s take a look at the teams that performed the best against the spread in the first half of the season, while also noting the bottom feeders.
In pretty amazing fashion, if you take the best straight up records from the Eastern and Western Conference last year and the NBA champs, you come up with the top three ATS squads through the halfway point of 2011-12. It is almost impossible to convey how incredible that is because beating the books is rarely if ever that simple or easy. The San Antonio Spurs lead the way with a 21-13 ATS mark, followed by the Chicago Bulls at 21-14, and finally the Dallas Mavericks at 20-14. The Mavericks are probably the most interesting case after opening the season with two embarrassing losses on their home court. Of course, those results make sense to a large degree with continuity, and your system serving as huge barometers for success with no real training camp and preseason. Also note that these three teams boast arguably the top trio of head coaches in the league.
On the flipside, the bottom teams against the spread are polar opposites of the top three. Leading the way with the worst marks are the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Bobcats. Clearly, these are the two worst teams overall with an 11-54 combined straight-up record. The Wizards own a 10-23 ATS record, while the Bobcats fall in with an 11-21 mark. The Wizards actually have some talent, but have few team players and no real system to rely on. With so many games played in a short amount of time, teams without some sort of structure to fall back on are typically dismantled on a nightly basis. With the Bobcats it’s quite clear why Michael Jordan wanted to sit out the entire season as the Bobcats have the least amount of talent in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks own the third worst spread record at 13-20. The Andrew Bogut injury is obviously key but it appears that this team has tuned out Scott Skiles which tends to happen in the third or fourth year of his regimes. It will be interesting to see if the straightforward handicapping approach of “bet on the best, bet against the worst” will continue and if the oddsmakers make the proper adjustments in the second half of the season.