How to Take Advantage of NBA All-Star Break HangOVERs
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Here is what I look like at work after a vacation:
It’s like I’m not even there. Motivation can be lacking after spending a week having fun in the sun and it’s no different with NBA players. How can bettors profit from a post NBA All-Star break hangover?
When NBA players aren’t giving a 100%, it shows on the defensive end of the court. A lack of hustle can lead to increased scoring, which should make the Over a profitable bet. To test this theory, I used the Bet Labs database to examine every game played in the first two days, when most teams return to action, after the All-Star break since 2005.
In a team’s first game back, when they are most likely to be suffering from a vacation hangover, the over went 136-113-4 (55%). These are good results with a nice sample size but it’s not the optimal strategy.
Which teams are the most likely to come out flat? At the break, there are 12 squads below .500. Most are longshots to make the playoffs. Every team, except the Detroit Pistons, are at least 6.5 games out of eighth place in their respective conference. Bad teams with nothing to play for is a perfect storm for bettors. The over, when two teams with losing records play the first two days after the All-Star break, is 49-22-1 (69%) since 2005.
Mailing It In
Here are three games on Thursday and Friday that over bettors should target.
Hornets vs. Nets (Thursday, 7 p.m.): This is the first game in the second half of the season, so get to a ticket window early. Brooklyn and Charlotte each have losing over records this season, which makes this a great contrarian play.
Magic vs. Knicks (Thursday, 7 p.m.): Orlando is chasing Atlanta and Phoenix for the worst record in the league, and New York has lost eight straight. Neither team will be trying that hard on Thursday.
Lakers vs. Mavericks (Friday, 10:30 p.m.): Dallas ranks in the bottom 10 in defensive efficiency, and since acquiring defensive-liability Isaiah Thomas (pictured above), LA has allowed 129.3 points per game. And when these teams met two weeks ago they combined to score 256 points.
Photo via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports