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NBA Betting – Second Half Adjustments
The first and second quarter of the 2007-08 NBA season is just about over. To get you ready for the second half we outline some of the teams to watch
Feb. 12, 2008
This could be the most exciting first half of the NBA since the Lakers were gunning for their third NBA title.
The San Antonio Spurs don’t look like they’re in control of their championship destiny, leaving the door wide open for teams like the L.A. Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Hornets to stake their claim as the next contender.
However, the second half could change all that. Teams have been known to hit bottom like Britney Spears after the All-Star break, and with only five games separating the first and eighth team in the West, any team could be a top seed and any team could drop out of the playoff picture completely.
To help you make the right choices when betting on the NBA in the second half, we’ve outlined some good and bad bets to keep an eye on.
BEST SECOND-HALF BET ATS:
Who would’ve thought that an injury to Andrew Bynum would help the Lakers get even better?
The indefinite knee injury of Bynum spawned a trade between L.A. and Memphis that will go down as one the best since the Miami Heat swapped their roster to acquire Shaquille O’Neal (sorry, Phoenix): All-Star caliber forward Pau Gasol from Memphis for the undisputed flop Kwame Brown, guard Javaris Crittenton, guard Aaron McKie, a couple of draft picks and the draft rights to center Marc Gasol (Pau’s brother).
With a player as versatile as Pau Gasol (averages 18.9 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists in career) becoming the Lakers’ second-best scorer, passer, rebounder and defender, L.A. has looked effortless on offense (106.9 points per game, ranking third in the NBA), and it’s translated into a 5-1 record ATS since his arrival. As long as the Lakers stay healthy the remainder of the year, they should be unstoppable ATS.
Runner Up: Utah Jazz
After struggling out the gate with injuries, they’re 100 percent now. The Jazz have won nine of their last 12 ATS and look poised for a second half that lives up to their Western Conference appearance last year.
WORST SECOND-HALF BET ATS:
Portland Trail Blazers
As quickly as it came, it feels like the magic is gone from Portland.
They looked unstoppable in December, going 14-2 ATS with their best player, guard Brandon Roy (19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists), garnering MVP buzz. But since then, the air has been slowly coming out of Portland’s tires.
“We’re not sneaking up on teams like we did early in the season,” Roy said after a 95-83 loss to Houston on Feb. 11. “We have to find a way to grind things out and get some wins.”
They’re not sneaking up on oddsmakers either. They’ve gone 7-12 ATS and have gone 1-9 in their last 10. Unless NBA legend Bill Walton laces ’em up and dominates in the post and on the boards for the Blazers (they rank 27th in rebounds and have failed to score 100 points in eight of their last 10 games), their ATS record will nosedive in the second half.
Runner Up: Dallas Mavericks
Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson will tell you that Dirk Nowitzki is having one of his best seasons ever. But statistically, he’s having his worst since 2000-01 (averaging 22.2 points and 8.6 rebounds this year). That’s translated to a 20-28 ATS record overall, worst among Western Conference contenders. Unless owner Mark Cuban pulls off a miracle and brings in Nets guard Jason Kidd to spark the offense, they should remain a disappointing wager all year.
BEST SECOND-HALF BET STRAIGHT UP:
While everyone talks about the championship swagger in Boston, L.A., San Antonio and Phoenix, the Detroit Pistons have been the most consistent winners in the NBA this year. Without one star that dominates the ball on offense and a style that reminds us of basketball from the mid-’90s (ranked second in defense at 89.8 points allowed), they’re an easy team to ignore. But no one should sleep on the second-best record in the NBA (37-13).
What should help them maintain their greatness as a SU bet is that they dominate opponents without blowing them out. They’ve beaten opponents by an average of eight points, and that keeps oddsmakers from making them double-digit favorites (they’ve only been favored by 10 or more in eight of the last 40 games), which in turn, prevents them from posting bloated moneylines.
Runner Up: Boston Celtics
Although it’s hard to tell how their second half will go with Kevin Garnett nursing an abdominal strain, who can doubt a team that is 39-9 SU on the year?
WORST SECOND-HALF BET STRAIGHT UP:
Grizzlies fans still have something to look forward to with a young star like Rudy Gay on the roster along with two first-round picks in this year’s draft. But as for the 2007-08 season, it’s a write off.
They traded away starting forward Pau Gasol for picks and expiring contracts, traded away F/C Stromile Swift for backup center Jason Collins and bought out the contract of Damon Stoudamire. They are determined to burn this roster up for a newer, more talented squad to rise from the ashes, so they shouldn’t be disappointed in the second half.
Runner Up: Seattle SuperSonics
They hold the second-longest losing streak this year at 14. Unless they make some moves to bring rookie Kevin Durant some veteran talent, another couple of losing streaks are in their future.
BEST SECOND-HALF FUTURE:
San Antonio Spurs
Do you know how many losses the Spurs had last year at the halfway point of their championship season? Twenty. And this year, with one game remaining until the break? Seventeen. That should tell you how quickly and easily the Spurs can turn their aging ship around when they start to smell playoffs.
The Spurs took off in last year’s second half, winning 41 of the last 49 games to capture the world title. However, right now you can find them in the Bodog Sportsbook behind the Celtics, Lakers and Suns to win the NBA Championship. Get them at 5-1 before oddsmakers catch on.
Runner Up: Detroit Pistons
With all the trades and roster changes the other contenders are making, the Pistons may be the second-best “team” in the NBA. You can currently get them at 5-1 to win the NBA Championship.
WORST SECOND-HALF FUTURE:
For the record, I don’t hate the O’Neal trade. It had to be done. However, counting on an injured center that’s aging at an accelerated rate to bring you a championship this year is asking too much. Especially since I still don’t feel like the Suns will play any defense.
Yet, you’ll find them up there with some of the best of the best at 4-1 to win the NBA Championship. That’s 4-1 for a team that has only one player who actually has a ring. That’s too steep a price in my eyes.
Runner Up: Boston Celtics
The Celtics looked good earlier this year… defensively. Even with Garnett healthy, they looked too disorganized on offense to warrant a 1-1 bet to win it all.
SECOND-HALF BETS ON THE RISE:
* Miami Heat
The Heat had 15 fast-break points on Feb. 10 with newly acquired forward Shawn Marion in the lineup – the most they’ve had in their last 10. This will be a run-and-gun team in the second half, a complete 360 from the half-court used when Shaq was in the middle. It should surprise teams and oddsmakers. Keep an eye on them.
* Washington Wizards
Caron Butler and Antonio Daniels, two players that sparked the 23-13 ATS record in their first 36 games, have been nursing injuries since late January. The result has been a 1-9 record in their last 10. The Wiz should explode in the second half once they return.
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