To make money sports betting in the long term it’s essential to have a contrarian mindset. If you follow the ‘public’ bandwagon you’re destined to lose money. If you go against this mentality, however, you’ll always be getting the best of it. That being said, there are times when the obvious play is the right play. This Wednesday night NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers is a perfect example.
We really like this Brooklyn team so let’s talk about them first. They’re a team on the rise. The Nets currently holed down sixth place in the Eastern Conference but they’ll have to fight to keep that spot. They’re just one game up on the Charlotte Hornets, 1.5 games up on the Detroit Pistons, 2.5 games up on the Miami Heat and 3 games up on the Orlando Magic. At the same time, they’re not really in striking distance of the teams above them in the standings. Currently, the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are tied for fourth and fifth place and the Nets are 7.5 games back. Brooklyn hasn’t been in great form of late having lost two straight and 6 of 10. That actually works in our favor here since it gives this otherwise meaningless game against a pitiful Cleveland team much more importance than it would have ordinarily.
The LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers are a mess. At least they’re not in last place in the Eastern Conference. That’s held down by the New York Nets who have now lost 17 straight games (that’s 9 short of tying the longest losing run in history BTW). Unfortunately, it’s not a huge endorsement for Cleveland that they’re just 1.5 games up on a team that hasn’t won a game since January 4. Statistically, the Cavs are just as bad as the Knicks. Cleveland ranks #29 in points per game (102.3), #25 in rebounds per game (42.5), #29 in assists per game (20.4) and #22 in points allowed (112.9). That 10.6 differential between the points they score and points they give up per game is the worst in the NBA by a decent margin. It makes the Knicks (-9.0 differential) and Phoenix (-9.9 differential) look like world beaters.
Brooklyn won the first meeting of the season on the Cavs home court with ease 102-86 as +2.5 underdogs. They would be upset by the Cavs in early December, losing 99-97 as -6 point home favorites. As a concept ‘revenge’ is overrated in sports but at the same time it’s tough to deny that the Nets have taken care of business in this type of spot. They’re 22-11 ATS in revenge spots overall and 10-3 ATS revenging a home loss. They’re also an impressive 17-11 ATS on the road.
At some point, the line catches up with teams that perform exceptionally well or exceptionally poorly. It hasn’t quite caught up with how bad the Cavs are quite yet. Cleveland is 4-15 in their last 19 games and just 7-11-1 ATS. Brooklyn’s recent struggles are at least partially a function of playing a tough schedule–they’ve lost 5 of 6 but the setbacks came at San Antonio, at Orlando, at Toronto and home against Milwaukee and Chicago. They’re stepping *way* down in class here and the need to get a win in the books combined with the revenge spot should give them plenty of push toward a blowout win.