Last week’s column focused on majority betting in the NBA and this week we will examine majority fading, or betting against certain teams. Below is our breakdown of games when at least 65% of the bets were for one team. At the end of this column is an Over/Under dissection. All numbers are through Monday, Feb. 21 and are all ATS results. Games that finished as Pushes were not included in this study.
In examining bets when at least 65% of the bets go to one team, we first took a look at home teams.
Vast Majority (65% or more) bets Home Team
Total: 61 wins, 73 losses (46%)
Records by Spread
Favored by 3 or less: 4-5 (44%)
Favored by 3.5 to 6.5: 26-22 (54%)
Favored by 7 to 9.5: 17-30 (36%)
Favored by 10 or more: 14-16 (47%)
In this category, favorites of at least seven points are having a harder time covering at 31-46 (40%).
We then examined 65% Majority bets for road teams, we found that favorites of at least seven points are having a much easier time than home teams, covering these bets at 18-12 (60%). Vegas odds.
Vast Majority (65% or more) bets Road Team
Total: 154 wins, 136 losses (52%)
Records by Spread
Road Teams Overall: 154-142 (52%)
Road Team Underdogs: 44-36 (55%)
Road favorites of 3 or less: 46-36 (56%)
Road favorites of 3.5 to 6.5: 46-58 (44%)
Road favorites of 7 or more: 18-12 (60%)
Next we broke down these records team-by-team. Predictably, the majority of bettors fade the really bad teams, and rarely bet against the NBA elite. Eight teams have six or fewer majority bets (65%) against them this year — L.A. Lakers 0, Miami 1, Atlanta 5, Chicago 5, Oklahoma City 5, Boston 6, Dallas 6 and San Antonio 6. This group represents eight of the nine best SU records in the league (Spurs 1, Celtics 2, Heat 3, Mavericks 4, Bulls 5, Lakers 6, Thunder 7, Hawks 9). The Magic have the eighth best SU record and they only have seven majority fades this season. Now we’ll break down the teams that bettors most love to bet against in droves.
Teams with MOST Majority Fades (65% bet against)
Sacramento 31 (14-17 ATS)
Washington 29 (13-16 ATS)
New Jersey 27 (14-13 ATS)
Memphis 26 (18-8 ATS)
Minnesota 25 (14-11 ATS)
The Kings, Wizards, Nets and Timberwolves have four of the six worst SU records in the NBA, so it makes sense that bettors fade these terrible teams. But fading these clubs hasn’t been highly profitable as the vast majority has a combined 57-55 ATS mark when doing so. But what’s up with the Grizzlies? Memphis is 31-26 SU and has the fourth-best ATS record in the entire league (35-21, 63%), so there’s no reason for this team to have the fourth-most fades in the NBA. Majority bettors are getting absolutely slaughtered on Memphis fades, losing 69%, which includes a ridiculous 85% (11-2) when fading the Grizzlies on the road.
Other than Miami (1-0), there are five NBA teams that are winning at least 60% of the time when 65% or more of the public fades them.
BEST Records ATS when Faded by Majority (65% or more)
Chicago 80% (4-1 ATS)
Philadelphia 74% (14-5)
New York 71% (5-2)
Memphis 69% (18-8)
Portland 62% (8-5)
This group represents four of the top five ATS records in the NBA this year with the 76ers, Knicks, Grizzlies and Bulls ranking 2-3-4-5 respectively in ATS win percentage. Portland is ninth in the league with a 53% ATS success rate. Bettors are pretty much avoiding the big-market teams here, Chicago and New York, with just 12 total bets against these two highly successful betting clubs. But Philadelphia is also a mystery here with a stellar 35-20 ATS mark (64%) and a near-.500 SU record (27-29). The 76ers are 10-3 ATS (77%) when 65% majority fades them at home this season.
There are nine NBA teams that are winning 40% or less when at least 65% of the public fades them. Four of these teams have been faded less than seven times (Dallas 1-5, Oklahoma City 1-4, San Antonio 2-4, Atlanta 2-3), so let’s focus on the five other teams that are making majority bettors look smart.
WORST Records ATS when Faded by Majority (65% or more), min. 7G
Denver 29% (2-5 ATS)
Golden State 36% (5-9)
Indiana 36% (5-9)
Phoenix 36% (4-7)
L.A. Clippers 40% (6-9)
It’s interesting to note that Denver is the only team on this list that is among the league’s bottom 10 in terms of overall ATS record this season (25-30, 46%). However, the Warriors are the only team here with a winning ATS record this season (30-25, 55%), as the Pacers, Suns and Clippers are a subpar 76-82 ATS combined. Betting lines.
In terms of game totals, the general public has been pretty bad this season. There have been 397 games where 65% or more of the betting public has sided one way or the other on the total with a poor success rate of 44.8% (178-219). The Over has dominated these bets, as 88% of the time the public goes heavily for one side, that majority is backing the Over.
65% or more bets for the OVER:
65% or more bets for the UNDER:
In terms of the team breakdown, four teams are finishing OVER at least 60% of the time when 65% of the betting public expects that to happen.
Best OVER Pct. for Majority Over Bets
Cleveland 75% (6 Over, 2 Under)
Oklahoma City 67% (20-10)
Dallas 64% (23-13)
Portland 61% (19-12)
Pretty big numbers here in terms of Units Won, as the three West teams are 62-35 combined. The Thunder, Cavs and Mavs are actually ranked 1-2-3 in terms of highest over percentage in all games, so their inclusion here correlates with those rankings. Portland has actually played more games Under (28) than Over (27), giving the Blazers 8 Over and 16 Under (33%) when NOT a majority Over bet.
You certainly can’t predict these success rates based on scoring offense or scoring defense. Oklahoma City (5th) is the only one among the top 15 scoring teams in the league. Dallas is 16th, Portland is 24th and Cleveland is 25th in points. Looking at this from a defensive point of view, the Cavs have allowed the 3rd-most points and Thunder are giving up the 11th-most, but the Trail Blazers and Mavericks are two of the better defensive teams in the NBA at 22nd and 24th most points allowed, respectively.
Worst OVER Pct. for Majority Over Bets
Indiana 18% (3 Over, 14 Under)
Milwaukee 25% (6-18)
Denver 26% (6-17)
New York 27% (7-19)
Orlando 33% (6-12)
These are some brutal success rates with a healthy sample size for each team. Unlike the list above showing the correlation to the top three Over teams, Milwaukee is the only team on this list that is among the seven worst Over bets on the season. Orlando is the eighth-worst, but New York is 13th-worst and Denver is 25th (or sixth-best).
Like the list above, these teams are all over the map in terms of scoring offense as the Nuggets and Knicks are the highest-scoring teams in the NBA while the Bucks are the lowest. The Magic rank 11th in scoring and the Pacers are just behind them at 13th. New York has surrendered the second-most points in the league while Denver has the sixth-worst scoring defense, but Orlando has the fifth-best PPG allowed and Milwaukee is even better at 3rd in the league.
The Under sample size is much smaller, but there are some teams to note here for the rare times the majority of the betting public sides with the Under. Sports scores.
Best UNDER Pct. for Majority Under Bets (minimum 3 games)
Portland 3 Under, 1 Over
Worst UNDER Pct. for Majority Under Bets (minimum 3 games)
San Antonio 3-6