The 2019-20 NBA season is officially a month old and basketball bettors have faced no shortage of surprises in that brief span.
As we head into winter months and creep closer to those Christmas Day showcase games, keep an eye on these betting trends and NBA sports handicapping picks at the sportsbook.
The Miami Heat are one of those early-season shockers, jumping out as not only one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference but also the entire NBA. Plenty of that success has come from the Heat’s hard-nosed defending but the offense has also put the team in a good place right out of the starting blocks.
Miami is scoring 28.8 points per first quarter while giving up just 25.8 points against in that 12-minutes span. That three-point margin of victory in the opening frame has the Heat posting a 10-5-1 record against the first-quarter pointspread. Miami hosts Golden State after the Thanksgiving break then hits the road for three straight road games: at Brooklyn, Toronto and Boston.
For fans of low-scoring basketball – and there aren’t any unless you’re playing the Under – the Boston Celtics have put people to sleep with their first-half efforts. Boston is allowing only 50.8 points against in the first two quarters – second lowest in the NBA – while pacing on the slow end of the scale at 102.12 for first halves, panning out in a 51.9 point per first half scoring average.
Those uneventful starts have pumped out a 3-13 Over/Under record in the opening 24 minutes for Celtics games this season. Boston, which lost small forward Gordon Hayward to a broken hand until the New Year, hits a different gear in the second half, sitting sixth in scoring over the final two quarters, and that’s helped disguise the team’s value to the first-half Unders so far in 2019. The Celtics open the post-Thanksgiving slate with road games in the Big Apple: versus Brooklyn and New York.
Home and Away
The Minnesota Timberwolves love hitting the road and getting away from the Land of Lakes, and so do they NBA bettors. The T-Wolves are a dismal 2-6-1 ATS at home to start the season, scoring only 109.8 points per game as hosts while allowing visitors to combat those efforts with 115.7 points against – an unhealthy margin of nearly -6 points.
However, take Minnesota out of the Target Center and it suddenly becomes one of the best bets in the NBA. The Timberwolves are 7-2 ATS on opposing floors, splashing 118.3 points per road game on the scoreboard – second most in the NBA – and limiting host teams to 113.1 points against – a +5.2 margin of victory in those away games. The T-Wolves enjoy an extended break this week, with a home date against Memphis on December 1 but taking to the road for the next four: at Dallas, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.