Heat vs. Cavaliers Betting System Pick: Tanking Offering NBA Value on Monday Night
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Andre Drummond #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers
No team has officially been eliminated from the NBA playoffs, but that doesn’t mean every franchise will be giving its all down the stretch. Nine teams in the league have won less than 40% of their games and are prime candidates for tanking.
Tanking is a dirty word in the NBA, but winning is not the best option for teams out of the playoff race. Knowing franchises are incentivized to lose, how can bettors profit from tanking in the NBA?
Historically, there has been value buying low on the league’s worst teams. Though that isn’t the case late in the season.
Heat vs. Cavaliers Betting System Pick
Using the Bet Labs database, we find that bad teams after the All-Star break (approximately game number 55 or later) have not been profitable when facing an opponent in the playoff hunt (won at least 48.0% of games) since 2005.
The spread is supposed to account for a team’s lack of motivation, but even oddsmakers have a hard time adjusting for tanking. Teams with losing records consistently fail to cover the spread against teams that are trying to win late in the season.
Therefore, gamblers should fade teams that aren’t giving their all. Betting against home underdogs that have won less than 40% of their games late in the season is an optimal strategy.
This system has a large sample size and consistent year-to-year results — only two losing seasons in the past 15 years. When NBA teams don’t try, bettors profit.
On Monday (8 p.m. ET), the Cavaliers (15-41) host the Heat (36-20). Cleveland has the worst record in the East and Miami is currently the 4-seed in the conference.
Jimmy Butler & Co. opened as 6-point favorites. A majority of tickets are on the Heat and history suggests the public is right to fade the Cavs.
Betting System Pick: Heat (-6)