NBA: New Jersey Nets v. Detroit Pistons is Ugly Game, but Pretty to Bettors

Joe DuffyAnalyst IFebruary 4, 2011

The NJ Nets will have backers smiling tonight
The NJ Nets will have backers smiling tonightJeff Zelevansky/Getty Images Senior Sports Handicapper Matt Rivers has an NBA lock tonight on the New Jersey Nets (+5.5) at the Detroit Pistons.

New Jersey isn’t a very good basketball team, I fully get that, but the Pistons aren’t exactly reliving their glory days right now.  For them to be laying half a dozen or so to anybody is a bit rich if you ask me.

Don’t get me wrong, I will pick my spots with the boys from Motown, as I do think they still have some game with experienced veteran guys such as Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey and a few others. But Stuckey is banged up and may not play, so as a favorite, I could never trust this current Detroit outfit.

The Nets’ record is terrible at 15-35, but they at least have won a game in their last four, unlike the Pistons. They also do have some talent themselves, with borderline All-Stars in Brook Lopez and Devin Harris. Plus, Avery Johnson’s team is a perfect 2-0 so far this season in the series, including an easy 15-point victory a few weeks ago.

I like to use a certain analogy every now and then that fits perfectly in this spot. This play is akin to a game of Black Jack. I readily admit that we are the poor hand of six, but when the dealer is a 16, which the Pistons are, then all of a sudden our six is looking a whole heck of a lot better.

Overall, the six isn’t good, but when put into this type of a spot, it very easily may be good enough.

So, who are the NBA’s best "margin of cover" (+/- how much they did or did not cover by) teams, renamed the "sweat barometer" by some of the Johnny-come-lately handicappers?

MOC is similar to scoring margin, but it is measured by how much a team covers or fails to cover the point spread.

Many sports handicappers believe MOC is invaluable in isolating under and overvalued teams.  

The Bulls top the list of best:

Team                                      Margin of Cover

Chicago                                 +3.1

Philadelphia                            +2.7

New Orleans                           +2.2

Memphis                                +2.0

Now to the worstor bestto bet against:

Team                                      Margin of Cover

Cleveland                                -4.4

Utah                                      -2.4

Which NBA teams are best to bet on after a straight-up win? Here we go:

Team                                      ATS Record

New York                               19-6

Philadelphia                            14-7

Dallas                                    20-10

LA Clippers                             12-6

As it turns out, there is only one clear-cut team to bet against off an outright win:  

Team                                      ATS Record

Washington                             1-12

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Matt Rivers nailed a 300,000 Oregon State plus 13 outright by 12 and the 200,000 Heat were pretty much never in doubt. That’s how it’s done, and that’s how one atones for a rare poor day.

All is once again right as usual, and now I’m raising that bar with a major 400,000 release in the MAAC between Manhattan and Siena, along with another 200,000 winner from the Association involving the Mavericks and Celtics. Feeling great and ready to bury that Crookie, as I do many, many more times than not! 

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