NBA 2015/2016: Favorites vs. Underdogs


While it’s important to keep track on who’s actually playing on a given day, trends still play a vital part of my handicapping strategy for all sports. Trends will obviously differ from team to team, but I think it can be interesting to look at general trends to stay in touch with how the bookmakers might approach the upcoming schedule. In this article we’ll take a look at how favorites and underdogs have fared on a month-by-month basis so far during the 2015/2016 NBA season. Enjoy.

October
Favorites 19-19 ATS
With only 38 games played in the month of October we have a small sample to work with, but it’s quite impressive how spot on the bookmakers got the lines right from the get go.

November
Favorites 98-116 ATS
I’m not surprised at all to see that the underdogs barked loudly at the start of the season. I have a tendency of betting more favorites than dogs against the spread, and November was not a good month for me personally.

December
Favorites 114-103-3 ATS
Now it’s getting interesting. While the favorites covered only 45.8 percent in November, they covered 52.5 percent here in December. It’s not a significant percentage above even, but 6.7 percent above the previous month which is quite noteworthy.

January
Favorites 122-95-5 ATS
Now we’re talking! The favorites covered 56.2 percent of the matchups in the first month of the year, and I’m not surprised to see this as I made a killing with my NBA that month, again, much due to my propensity to look for ATS favorites.

February (until Feb. 22)
Favorites 52-60-3 ATS
It’s worth noting that the favorites have covered just 47.4 percent of the games, 8.8 percent lower than the previous month. We have a small sample for this month due to the All Star break and the fact that we’re only at February 23, but it’s still pretty obvious how the bookmakers have adjusted the spreads.

I think we’re seeing clear evidence of the bookmakers adjusting the spreads throughout the season, and I have little doubt that they’ll end up close to 50 percent for each side at the end. It’s tough to “know” when an adjustment is about to come, but I definitely think it can be worth keeping an eye on current trends and keep that in consideration when handicapping a game.

I’ve been using the SDQL database at SportsDatabase.com to query the data, and I can really recommend getting into the SDQL language if you’re interested in situational handicapping. If not, subscribe to my plays and I’m happy to do the work for you!

Mike Lundin

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