Home underdogs have long been a favorite among NFL betting fans.
The rationale is simple: It’s difficult to win on the road, and having 70,000+ fans on your side plus the comforts of sleeping in your bed the night before, having your home locker room amenities and more give any team an advantage.
That hasn’t always been the case in NBA betting, where parity is less evident than in the NFL or MLB, and given how individualized the sport is – a large percentage of fans root for players just as hard they root for teams – there are only a few real home court advantages at the end of the day.
Watch any road Lakers game and you’ll see what we mean.
The numbers the last five seasons have backed this up.
That’s a total record of 1,075-1,108-22, or a 48.9 win percentage, helped out largely by the 2016-17 numbers in which home underdogs covered 50.6 percent of the time.
But there’s been a shift with these home underdogs in 2018-19. It could simply be early-season coincidence, but we’re now about 12 percent into the season and it’s looking more like a trend.
2018-19: 32-21-2 (59.2%)
It’s still early, but 23 NBA teams have been a home underdog at least one time, and 21 of them have covered at least once. In fact, of the 23 teams that have been a home underdog once, 14 have winning records and five others are at .500.
The losses have been heavy toward the bottom, with Orlando (1-4) and Cleveland (0-3) accounting for one-third of the league’s home underdog losses against the spread. Granted, home underdogs are still 21-34 straight up, so it isn’t like we’re seeing massive upsets, but those teams are keeping it close.
The recent scoring barrage may have something to do with that, as it’s harder for teams to be blown out when every offense is capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
And finally, here’s a take on a few weekend plays that will feature home underdogs and could be profitable based on this trend we’ve season early in the regular season.
Orlando hasn’t been much help at home as far as the underdogs go, but they’re in luck. The Wizards have been one of the most dysfunctional teams in the early going, with a 2-8 record and Scott Brooks on an incredibly hot seat.
The Wizards have lost their last five road games and are 0-2 against the spread as road favorites. The Magic have quietly won two of three after a 2-6 start and should be competitive against this flailing Wizards team. Take Orlando +3 with 888Sport.
There’s no place like home for Trae Young. After a slow start to his career the rookie point guard has been stellar, including averages of 18.0 points and 11.0 assists in his last three home games.
The Hawks have been a mixed bag at home this season – wins over Dallas and Miami; allowing 146 points to the Kings – but they face a Pistons team that has lost five of six since a 4-0 start. Take Atlanta +5 with 888Sport.
The Kings have exceeded everyone’s expectations to begin the year, but oddsmakers still have them as an underdog in their own building against the drama-filled Timberwolves.
Even if Jimmy Butler plays the Kings have shown they can hang with anyone at home – their two losses are to Utah and Toronto. Minnesota, meanwhile is a league-worst 0-7 on the road this year. They’ve never been favored so we don’t have numbers there, but we believe the Sacramento magic will exist for at least another night.
Back the Kings +3.5 with 888Sport.
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