NBA TANK WATCH
While previous three NBA seasons featured same teams in the NBA Finals, it’s more of a packed up race this year. Even if you want to cut the line of challengers to the top three or four elite teams, there’s still a whole lot of teams separated by just a couple of games.
But what about those who are not dancing? With only about 15 games left, the cellar-dwelling teams are ready to call it quits. March and April have traditionally been a minefield for those persistent to bet on the tanking teams. Have you ever had that feeling that you’d lose your wager no matter which side you take? That some teams are simply not worth the hassle? Welcome to the tanking zone.
This is the third edition of our new weekly column, where we monitor what the lottery teams are doing and if they’re taking the winning and the competition with any seriousness.
It’s designed to save you time and money, but also give a green light to continue betting on certain teams games for as long as it’s worthwhile.
We’ve run the same group of team the past two weeks. After identifying the initial group of teams that have no realistic chance of coming back into the playoff picture, we’ve only cut the ends of it to blacklist a few. Blacklist doesn’t mean that the teams would remain of our bet slip forever, but this really depends on how they perform.
The list is extended in this edition, as previously omitted Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets join the watch.
Eastern Conference tank watch will focus on the Pistons, Hornets, Bulls, Knicks, Nets, Magic and Hawks.
Western Conference tank watch keeps an eye on the same group like before – the Lakers, Mavericks, Suns, Grizzlies, and Kings.
Detroit Pistons (30-38)
It’s really very hard to understand why have the Pistons given up so early in March. Maybe they’re just too bad or don’t like each other very much. One thing’s sure – the Griffin trade will headline any Bad Trades of 2018 article. Detroit has now lost 12 of their previous 15 games, beating only Atlanta, Chicago, and Milwaukee. They are still playing normal rotation but started giving more minutes to prospects like Kennard and Ellenson, to pad their experience. Welcome to the Watch.
Charlotte Hornets (30-39)
After going on a nice 5-game win streak right after the All-Star, the Hornets were unable to build on it. They’ve promptly lost five in a row, and despite winning two of their previous three games, they’re now too far back to dream about the postseason. Continue betting on them if they get underrated in some matchups, but pay attention to the team news.
Chicago Bulls (24-44)
The Bulls seem too inexperienced to do anything well, and this includes tanking. they get fooled by the other tanking teams and incidentally win games, losing precious ping-pong balls to direct rivals. They covered in three of the four contests in the past week, so they’re still safe to bet on.
New York Knicks (24-45) – BLACKLISTED
The Knicks have become the first NBA team we’ve blacklisted after a week of shameless tanking, and haven’t done anything to convince us that they mean business. They lost all four games this week and played pathetic basketball.
Brooklyn Nets (21-47)
The Nets only played two games in the last 7 days, both at home to superior teams. After getting ran out of their own arena by Philadelphia, they’ve put a valid effort against Toronto but failed to cover the spread. They’re still playing their regular rotation and lack real motive to lose, so they’re ok for now.
Orlando Magic (21-48)
The Magic 1-3 week included a 72-108 loss to struggling San Antonio, but it was the end of their 5-game long road trip, and they should get a pass for that game. They followed it up with a home victory over playoff-bound Milwaukee Bucks, so they are still escaping the blacklist – even with a mounting number of ‘injured’ players.
Atlanta Hawks (20-49) – BLACKLISTED
Works of diligent tanking paid off. The Hawks are not trying to pretend anymore either, closing the season on the bang up starters and giving away games. The reward – last place in the East, and a blacklist stamp.
L.A. Lakers (31-37)
The Lakers push to come back into the picture ended up short, but they are still playing competitive basketball, and are one of the best teams to invest on in the recent couple of weeks. Good news for the punters is that even if they think about tanking, they’re now too far ahead of the bottom pack to go that route.
Dallas Mavericks (22-46)
The only team that has publicly announced that they’re going to tank are actually winning at a higher rate than when they weren’t. The Mavs have won three of their previous four games, losing only to the Houston Rockets on the tail-end of a back-to-back. Safe to bet on.
Sacramento Kings (22-47)
The Kings followed up a 2-2 previous week with the same 2-2 record this week, so they seem to believe in karma and not the numbers game. With 6 covers in the past 8 games, we don’t really care if they’re resting Skal or the veterans.
Phoenix Suns (19-51) – BLACKLISTED
The Suns have gone 0-7 the past two weeks, aren’t playing Booker and Warren in some games (and it doesn’t show if they play in others). They’ll occasionally cover using the large spreads, but we’re not risking any of our money to bet on this side. Black. List.
Memphis Grizzlies (18-50) – BLACKLISTED
The only team that’s keeping the Suns effort to be the worst in the NBA futile is the tanking masters from Memphis. Their 19-game losing streak almost came to an end against the Bulls last night, so they’d better sit Evans, Gasol, and Brooks for the remainder of the season. It’s unlikely that we’ll remove the blacklist tag any time soon.
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