- Two NBA teams made double digit unit profits for their ‘financial backers’.
- Several other teams excelled on the road while losing money at home.
- Only one of the two NBA finals contenders produced a betting profit this season.
The NBA Finals get underway on Tuesday, July 6 but bookmakers already feel like a winner. They had a big financial liability on the Atlanta Hawks to win the championship and they can now breathe a collective sigh of relief. In this article, we’ll look at which NBA teams made the most money for basketball betting enthusiasts this season as of July 1–including the playoffs. As for the Atlanta Hawks, the betting marketplace caught up to them fairly quickly. They were profitable but not exceptional earning +5 units through the first four games of the Eastern Conference Finals. Since the Hawks lost the last two games in the series SU and ATS they’ll end the year up a meager +2.8 units. They made their money at home earning +8.3 units (including the game 6 SU/ATS loss) but were a mediocre 22-25 SU/22-25 ATS on the road for a -5.5 unit loss.
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….
NBA’s MOST PROFITABLE BETTING TEAMS OVERALL
PHOENIX SUNS +16.7 UNITS
The Phoenix Suns are the ‘perfect storm’ of sports betting profits. They entered the season with very low expectations and obviously have greatly exceeded them. Before the 2020-2021 NBA season the Suns were an afterthought to win the championship. They were one of three teams at +4000 with Utah and Portland behind 11 other betting interests. The Lakers were the favorite (+275) and you know how that worked out. The Bucks were the #2 choice at +550. To give you some idea how little the betting public thought of Phoenix heading into the season just look at their regular season win total: 38.5. Obviously, the ‘Over’ was the right side there as the Suns went 51-21 SU during the regular season. Even during the playoffs they haven’t really got the respect they deserved from the ‘public’. They went 3-3 ATS during the Western Conference Finals but before that they won 7 straight games against the spread as they dispatched the LA Lakers and swept the Denver Nuggets.
Overall, Phoenix is 63-25 SU to date and 53-33-2 ATS (61.6%) for +16.7 units of profit. They were also the most profitable home team in the NBA going 33-11 SU and 28-16 ATS (63.6%) for +10.4 units. They turned a profit on the road as well though nothing like they did at home going 30-14 SU/25-17-2 ATS (59.5%) for +6.3 units of profit.
NEW YORK KNICKS +16.2 UNITS
The New York Knicks have been so bad for so long that they lost their status as a ‘public’ team. Not that you can blame them–in the last NBA season prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (2018-2019) the Knicks were not only a bad team (17-65 SU) but a horrible ATS team going 33-47-2 ATS (41.2%) losing -18.7 units. They showed only marginal improvement SU during the truncated 2019-2020 season going 21-45 SU but improved to a respectable 34-30-2 ATS (53.1%) and actually finished in the black overall with +1.0 unit of profit.
Heading into the 2020-2021 season they had extremely low expectations. NBA futures odds had them as one of the three biggest longshots in the league at +50000 along with Cleveland and Detroit. They had the lowest O/U win total of any NBA team at 21.5. Despite a first round playoff exit in many ways their season was more shocking than the meteoric rise of the Phoenix Suns–the Knicks went 41-31 during the regular season obliterating their win total by 19.5 games. They split two of four games ATS in their playoff series with Atlanta giving them a final tally of 47-28-2 against the spread (62.7%) for a profit of +16.2 units. That overall ATS win percentage is the highest in the league and their unit tally leaves them in second place behind Phoenix. Since Phoenix is still playing there’s a chance the Knicks can finish as NBA pointspread champions. They’re also #2 in home ATS performance and have the best home win % in the league against the number going 24-13-2 for 64.9% and +9.7 units of profit. They had the fourth best road ATS tally this season going 23-15 ATS (60.5%) for +6.5 units of profit.
NBA’s MOST PROFITABLE BETTING TEAMS AT HOME
As noted above, the Suns and Knicks are currently first and second in home ATS performance both in terms of winning percentage and units won. The third best home team in the NBA is a team with a long legacy of home court domination–the Utah Jazz. Utah went 35-7 SU at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City along with 26-15-1 ATS (63.4%) for +9.5 units of profit.
NBA’s MOST PROFITABLE BETTING TEAMS ON THE ROAD
The three most profitable road teams in the NBA this year are complete outliers. The Suns and Knicks both turned a profit on the road ranked sixth and fourth respectively away from home. Here’s some hints–one of the top three road ATS teams didn’t make the playoffs, one lost in the play-in rounds and one lost their first round series. Two of the three had regular season records under .500.
SAN ANTONIO SPURS +8.7 UNITS
The Spurs limped into the postseason with a record of 33-39 SU this year and were dispatched by the Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in round. They were a losing proposition at home going 14-22 SU/15-20-1 ATS (42.9%) for a -7 unit loss. On the road, however, they made more money for bettors than any other team. They actually eked out a winning SU record away from the AT&T Center going 19-18 SU/23-13-1 ATS (63.9%) for +8.7 units of profit.
PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS +7.5 UNITS
Back in the day when the Clyde Drexler/Terry Porter Trailblazers were one of the most dominating teams in the NBA they were a formidable force at Memorial Coliseum. Now–not so much at home. At the Moda Center this season the Blazers were 21-18 SU but a dismal 16-23 ATS (41.0%) losing -9.3 units. They were a bad home team last year as well going 13-18-1 ATS at home (41.9%) for a -6.8 unit loss. For some reason, as bad of an investment as the Blazers were at home they made a tidy profit on the road going 23-16 SU/224-15 ATS (61.5%) for +7.5 units.
CHICAGO BULLS +6.6 UNITS
The Bulls had low expectations as evidenced by a price of +25000 to win the championship on the NBA futures betting board. They didn’t exactly smash these expectations though they were not quite as bad as expected exceeding their win total of 29.5 by 1.5 games with a 31-41 SU record. Their home and away record was almost identical. They were 15-21 SU at the United Center with a virtually identical ATS record of 15-20-1 (42.9%) losing -7 units. On the road, the Bulls were 16-20 SU but 24-15-0 ATS (61.1%) for a +6.6 unit profit. They were 7-4 SU/ATS as a road favorite (63.6%) and 9-16 SU as a road underdog but 15-10 ATS (60.0%).