John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson
- The Cleveland Cavaliers are 4.5-point favorites at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET).
- More than 70% of spread tickets are on the Hawks, but a majority of spread dollars are on the Cavs.
- Using Bet Labs, we analyzed how NBA teams perform when they receive more money than tickets.
A quick recap of the Cavaliers 2018-19 season so far:
- LeBron James leaves for LA
- Cleveland is the only winless team in the NBA
- Tyronn Lue was fired on Sunday
- Kevin Love might miss at least a month
Expectations were low for the defending Eastern Conference champions entering the season, but in six games, the Cavaliers have looked awful.
Cleveland has a bottom-10 offense (105.7 points per game) and the worst defense in the NBA, allowing 115.9 points per 100 possessions.
Oddsmakers don’t seem concerned, as they opened the Cavs as 3-point favorites against the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday night (7 p.m. ET). Cleveland has been favored in two games this season, losing and failing to cover both on average by 24.5 points. In fact, the Cavaliers were 8-point favorites against the Hawks in their home opener and lost 133-111.
Bettors have seen enough, as more than 70% of spread tickets are taking the points with Atlanta (see live odds here). However, in an M. Night Shyamalan-twist, the line is moving toward Cleveland. The Cavaliers are now favored by 4.5-points in Larry Drew’s coaching debut.
Even though only 27% of bets are on the Cavs, it represents 63% of money wagered on the spread. With bigger bets backing Cleveland, the line has moved more than a point toward the home team.
Steam moves and reverse line movement bet signals have been triggered on the Cavs — an indication of sharp action. The pros like the winless Cavaliers, but is it too late to tail their play?
Nope. Using Bet Labs, we find that it has still been profitable to bet an NBA game after the line moves if it meets the following criteria:
- Teams is receiving 50% or fewer of spread tickets
- More money than tickets on team
- Line has moved at least 0.5 of a point
Since we began tracking spread dollars percentages in the 2015-16 season, teams matching this system have returned a profit of 37.88 units.
Professional bettors don’t always win, but being on the same side as smart money is advantageous. Money percentages and line movement indicate sharp bettors are on the Cavs tonight. I’ll be following their action and wagering on Cleveland.