NBA betting trends: Gauging the impact of the Harden trade

Profile Picture: Jeremy Jones

January 14th, 2021

We've completed three weeks of the NBA season and now have a strong set of data to determine trends.

Let's break down the latest metrics from around the league and determine which trends you should take advantage as the 2020-21 NBA season continues.

Underdogs are still rolling

Last week, we talked about how underdogs are off to a hot start to the 2020-21 NBA season. Well, it continued through the past week, and underdogs are now 92-67 ATS. That is a 58% winning percentage. $100 bets on all underdogs against the spread would net you a tidy $1,590 profit.

The best teams in the league against the spread as underdogs include the Boston Celtics (4-1 ATS), San Antonio Spurs (6-2 ATS), Chicago Bulls (8-3 ATS), Washington Wizards (5-2 ATS), Indiana Pacers (3-0 ATS), and Atlanta Hawks (3-0 ATS).

No home court advantage in a pandemic

The lack of fans at games this season seems to be a strong betting trend to follow. Road teams in the NBA are currently 93-72 ATS. Some of the best teams on the road include the Chicago Bulls (6-1 ATS), Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1 ATS), Memphis Grizzlies (4-1 ATS), Washington Wizards (4-1 ATS), and Atlanta Hawks (4-1 ATS).

It is even better when the road team is an underdog. These teams are a combined 56-35 ATS. That's a winning percentage of 62%, and it's a solid trend for such a large sample size.

Who has been your favorite team to place your money on this season?

Bet the Under

The public typically loves betting Overs. I mean, who wants to watch a game and not root for points to be scored? Typically, oddsmakers skew the total towards the Over because of this. Well, in the 2020-21 season, the Unders are killing the public. The Under is currently 88-67 on the season in non-overtime games, and 90-74 overall.

Impact of the Harden trade

The Brooklyn Nets just traded for another superstar in James Harden to add to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. In the first seven games of this season, the oddsmakers heavily favored the Nets and the totals were very high. The Nets were an average favorite of 5.5 points with an average total of 236. In those seven games, Brooklyn went 2-5 ATS and the Over went 2-5.

In the next six games, the oddsmakers adjusted their spreads and totals, but the Nets got into a better chemistry between Irving and Durant. The Nets were only an average favorite of 0.5 points with an average total of 223. The Nets went 4-2 ATS and the Over went 6-0.

I would expect a similar trend with oddsmakers now that Harden has joined the team. Look for spreads and totals to start inflated and eventually work their way back down. Start by betting against the Nets and on Unders.