Basketball Dogs Getting No Respect!
By: Jim Feist
Thursday, January 5, 2017
wants respect. Aretha Franklin sung about it. Comedian Rodney Dangerfield made
a comedy career out of it. And smart sports bettors can turn soft numbers into
cash looking at home dogs getting no respect. Many teams in college basketball and the NBA play significantly better at home
than on the road.
Last season the Golden State Warriors won a record 73 regular
season games. They lost two home games, seven on the road. The eventual
champion Cleveland Cavaliers were 33-8 at home, but 24-17 away. And a team like
the Memphis Grizzlies was good at home (26-15) but almost the reverse on the
This season the Cavaliers had their first slump in early December, losing three
in a row. Two were on the road and the home dogs played with extra fire and
passion with the champs in town. The Bucks topped the Cavs, 118-101, as a home
dog and the Bulls did the same, 111-105, four nights late. Notice those were
both division rivalry contests.
In the latter upset, the Cavaliers were playing the second of a back-to-back
spot, having lost at home to the Clippers the night before, 113-94. Some fans
would think the champs would bounce back the next night, but scheduling is a
key handicapping factor to analyze. Road travel and back-to-back games are
often a detriment, even to championship teams. Chicago was working on a day of
rest in that showdown.
Even bad to mediocre teams can play extremely well as a big home dog. Golden
State travelled to the Bucks earlier this season and the +9 home dog got the
money in a 124-121 defeat, playing their best against a high profile
opponent. The rebuilding 76ers are often a big dog, even at home. But take a look at
their schedule and you see them playing their best at home, losing 107-106 as a
+10 home dog to rival Boston. They've played the defending champs twice as big
home dog, yet covered easily in losses of a 112-108 and 102-101.
What's happening is that playing on the road in the NBA is a grueling
grind. Players have to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings, walk through airports
at four in the morning, practice in a strange gym and even have their body
clocks off kilter while traveling through different time zones. It's not easy
to play away from home with 13,000 screaming fans rooting against you. Most NBA teams are significantly better at home straight up than on the
road. It's not just that they're playing in front of the home fans, but also
that they're more comfortable.
close attention to basketball home teams who happen to be huge underdogs. This
happens when a poor team is playing an elite club. But instead of rolling over,
those teams can -- depending on the coach and the situation -- pull
together and play all out for several reasons. This is an opportunity to erase some of the criticism and negativity of
a mediocre or poor season. Even if the big dog doesn't win, they can take pride
in a close loss to the Cavs, Warriors or Spurs, for example. Another reason is
that the home fans have paid good money to come out and watch them, driving
athletes with pride to play harder.
The ups-and-downs of basketball are commonplace. Hall of Fame coach Red
Auerbach often pointed out that sometimes the basketball simply doesn't drop in
the hoop, even for great teams. This happens all the time, and as a sports
bettor, it's important to understand seasonal dynamics. Teams could simply be
having poor shooting nights, or bad defensive games.
So don't dismiss those big home dogs when they pop up each week. Take a
close look and you can find good spots where the home team may give an extra
effort and hang in there. Because the big dogs don't have to win the
game, they just have to cover the number.
So look for spots where teams that are overvalued and those that are not
getting respect. If you can identify why a team is not getting respect (often a
poor shooting night in the previous game), you can find a soft line for an easy
cover. We all prefer a ticket that looks like a winner at halftime than one
that comes down to the final play.
For more of Jim Feist click here.