The second half of the NBA season is well underway, and some teams have exploded out of the blocks following the All-Star break. There are even some pleasant surprises, with these teams stunning the sportsbook with their profitable push since the break.
Here are three of the best under-the-radar sports picks since the NBA All-Star Weekend.
The Kings have been making NBA bettors feel like royalty since the break, covering in five straight games heading into Sunday’s home game against the Detroit Pistons. Sacramento has won four of those games outright, including two wins over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Oddsmakers had the Kings listed as betting underdogs in four of those five contests and the one time they were giving the points – -7.5 at Golden State – Sacramento rolled to a 112-94 win over the Warriors. Sacramento is once again a 7.5-point favorite hosting Detroit on Sunday.
Defense has been a catalyst for this profitable start to the season, limiting teams to 107 points per game in this span – fifth lowest in the NBA during that stretch – and below the Kings’ season scoring allotment of 110.5 points against per game. Sacramento has also averaged 113 points for in these five games, a near five-point uptick on its season scoring rate.
Aaron Gordon really took that slam dunk contest snub to heart. The Magic’s high-flying forward has been sensational since the All-Star break, averaging over 17 points, seven assists, and almost 10 rebounds over the past five games, leading Orlando to a 4-1 ATS mark (3-2 SU) in that time frame.
The Magic have lifted their offense in this span, scoring 120 points per game during those five outings compared to a season-scoring average of just 105 points an outing – 28th in the NBA. Over bettors have enjoyed this lift in production as well, with the Magic topping the Over/Under betting totals in each of those five games.
Defense seems to be secondary to Orlando since the break, allowing opponents to put up 118 average points against, versus San Antonio, Minnesota, Atlanta, Brooklyn and Dallas. This is also going against the grain, as the Magic have been one of the better defensive teams in the NBA, giving up just 106.5 points per game – third lowest in the league. Orlando could be in for another high-scoring home stand with Portland coming to town on Monday night.
Coaching drama marred the first half of the Cavaliers’ campaign which resulted in former head coach John Beilein resigning just 54 games into his first NBA position. Beilein’s college tactics didn’t bleed over to the pros and the former Michigan head coach lost his locker room. However, since his departure, Cleveland has been a solid bet with a 4-1-1 ATS mark since the All-Star break.
The Cavs are 3-3 SU since Beilein was replaced by J.B. Bickerstaff, seeing mild improvements on both ends of the floor but nothing straying too far from Cleveland’s season stats. It would seem he’s just getting a stronger effort from the Cavs players, who were not fans of Beilein.
Cleveland can really build on this during an upcoming four-game home stand, which starts Monday versus Utah and runs until March 8. The Cavaliers will likely be home underdogs in all four of these games.