Whether you like to fade the public or not, having an understanding of which side the majority of bettors are on can be useful for handicapping purposes.
On the NBA’s busiest nights, BTB will take a look at the three biggest public plays on the board and speculate what the public sees and why they are betting a particular side.
BTB Note: All public betting percentages are taken from the very useful site SportsInsights.com, which does a fantastic job of gathering public betting information across all sports.
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GRIZZLIES @ NETS, 7:30 P.M. ET
Open: Memphis -4.5
Current: Memphis -3.5
Public Betting %: 81% on Memphis
What they see: At 3-10 straight up and 4-9 against the spread, the Nets are one of the NBA’s worst home teams.
Analysis: Another factor in public bettors’ minds here: During the Nets’ current six-game losing skid, they’ve topped 92 points only once and are 1-5 ATS, falling by an average of 11.5 points per game.
Basically, New Jersey is as frigid cold as its Big Apple counterpart — the New York Knicks — are hot.
The Grizzlies, on the other hand, have won three of four but this is the second game of a back-to-back for them. (They’re 4-2 ATS with no rest this season.)
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PACERS @ CAVALIERS, 7:30 P.M. ET
Open: Indiana -3
Current: Indiana -2
Public Betting %: 82% on Indiana
What they see: This one seems pretty strange, considering the Pacers have lost four in a row and are 0-6 ATS since Feb. 4.
Analysis: This is also the second game of a three-games-in-three-nights stretch for Indiana, which has fallen all the way to sixth in the Eastern Conference during its slide. But the back-to-back-to-back obsession has shown some mixed results for teams through the first 1 1/2 months of the season.
The Heat, for instance, played their third game in a row against the Pacers on Tuesday night and led by as many as 35 points in a rout.
Two injuries to keep an eye on: Indiana’s Danny Granger sprained his ankle on Tuesday and isn’t expected to play, while Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving should make his return from a concussion.
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THUNDER @ ROCKETS, 8 P.M. ET
Open: Oklahoma City -4
Current: Oklahoma City -3.5
Public Betting %: 87% on Oklahoma City
What they see: What a shock! The public likes the team with the league’s best record as small road favorites!
Analysis: You can rest assured that any time the Thunder are laying less than a couple possessions against a middle-of-the-pack team, the public will jump all over them.
But Houston is returning from a six-day, 11-game road trip, and in its 93-83 loss at Memphis on Tuesday night, it was visibly evident that the players were ready to return home.
The Rockets are one of the NBA’s best home teams, posting a 9-4 ATS mark, including a 3-0 record as a home underdog. The average margin of victory for the three times Houston was catching points at the Toyota Center: 6.3 points.