- Seven NBA teams have lost double digit units against the spread this season.
- There are also six teams that have suffered double digit losses at home.
- The NBA road was more forgiving, with only one double digit pointspread loser.
Yesterday we ran down the most profitable pointspread teams in the NBA–overall, at home and on the road. Now we’ll look at the bottom of the pro basketball betting barrel at the biggest money losers against the spread in the NBA this year. Some big ATS losers in the NBA are just bad teams while others are teams that came into the season with high expectations only to underachieve big time. There’s also a few teams that put up a solid win/loss record this year but were overvalued by the betting public leading to a losing ATS campaign.
In yesterday’s article we also took a look at the pointspread tendencies of the two teams in the NBA Finals:
As noted in the preview bullet points only one of the two NBA finals contenders produced a profit for bettors this season. It’s not the Milwaukee Bucks–they’ve lost -8.7 units YTD including their two wins/covers in Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks scrapped out a small profit at the Fiserv Forum where they went 24-21 ATS for a whopping +0.9 unit profit. Even with their win/cover tonight they’re still the second worst road team against the spread in the NBA this season going 19-26 ATS for a -9.6 unit loss. As for their NBA Finals opponent aka the Phoenix Suns….
So without further ado let’s start our rundown of the NBA’s biggest pointspread money losers. This year’s biggest losers really outdid themselves. It takes a special team to burn through 20 units against the spread but this year we have two–count them–two!
NBA’s BIGGEST POINTSPREAD MONEY LOSERS OVERALL
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS -25.6 UNITS
The Cleveland Cavaliers had a phenomenal season….phenomenally bad. Most pointspread money losers are the flip side of ATS money makers. Teams that make money exceed their expectations which keeps line value decent even as they win games. Teams that lose money usually do the opposite–they have at least some expectations for success that they fail to live up to. We’ll see that with the rest of the teams on this list. Not the Cleveland Cavaliers–they were expected to suck and suck they did. Given their lack of competitiveness against the spread it’s amazing they didn’t have the worst record SU in the NBA. They went 22-50 SU and 25-46-1 ATS (35.2%). Think about that–just by blindly betting against the Cavs every night you could have hit nearly 65% winners (64.8 to be precise). Bookmakers hate teams that you can blindly bet against as much as teams you can blindly bet on meaning they did everything they could to move lines, change valuations or whatever to end the Cavs’ run of ATS futility.
Relatively speaking, Cleveland wasn’t *that* bad at home. They weren’t good but they went 13-23 SU/15-20-1 ATS (42.9%) for -7 units. On the road, they really showed their true colors going 9-27 SU/10-26-0 ATS (27.8%) for -18.6 units. Digging through some more situational records–Cleveland actually made a tiny amount of money against the Atlantic Division going 8-7 SU/ATS. The rest of their situational records are a mess. Against the Western Conference they were 6-24 SU/8-22 ATS (26.7%). Somehow, they were actually favored three times this season going 3-5 SU/2-6 ATS (25%). Their performance as a road underdog might be their most impressive–they went 8-25 SU/9-24 ATS. That’s amazing–this means that if they didn’t win the game straight up they didn’t even bother to compete away from home.
Cleveland’s horrific play didn’t ‘sneak up’ on anyone. In the preseason NBA championship futures odds they were one of three teams tied for the biggest longshot at +50000. One of the other three teams was Detroit who were actually worse SU than Cleveland. The other was the New York Knicks who surprised everyone by making the playoffs–and in the process became one of the biggest pointspread money makers in the NBA.
HOUSTON ROCKETS -22.5 UNITS
The Houston Rockets had the worst SU record in the NBA and were close to being as bad as the Cavs against the spread. The difference was that there was some hope before the season that Houston would be at least mediocre. They were +5000 to win the NBA Championship in the preseason futures odds. The Rockets couldn’t catch a break this season that included James Harden pouting his way to a trade and a ridiculous slew of injuries. For their final game of the year, the Rockets dressed only 9 players. To their credit they showed up to compete as a road underdog going 6-23 SU but 16-13 ATS (55.2%). Although they lost 8 of their last 9 games SU they went 5-4 ATS which shows that even with only 9 healthy players they at least exerted an effort. They were the worst home team ATS in the league going 9-27 SU/ATS (25%) for -20.7 units. On the road, they were 8-28 SU but 18-18 ATS for a -1.8 unit loss.
THE REST OF THE DOUBLE DIGIT ATS LOSERS
Here’s the rest of the double digit money losers:
LOS ANGELES LAKERS -16.5 UNITS
TORONTO RAPTORS -13 UNITS
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER -12.9 UNITS
BOSTON CELTICS -11.2 UNITS
DENVER NUGGETS -19.4 UNITS
Here’s the double digit ATS home court losers:
HOUSTON ROCKETS -20.7 UNITS
LOS ANGELES LAKERS -13.5 UNITS
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER -13.3 UNITS
DALLAS MAVERICKS -11.4 UNITS
INDIANA PACERS -11.3 UNITS
SACRAMENTO KINGS -10.2 UNITS
As we noted at the outset, Cleveland was the only double digit road loser this year. The second worst road team in the league is playing for the NBA Championship–the Milwaukee Bucks went 25-20 SU on the road but 19-26 ATS for a -9.6 unit loss.