2020 NBA Action: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Memphis Grizzlies
NBA picks (Jan 6): 21-19 ATS (53%), 1% ROI
History Says Stick with the Cavs: Betting Cleveland +4
We had Cleveland covering at the Magic Wednesday, after being handled in Orlando a couple of days earlier. But instead of finishing within a score or two, and despite winning the first and fourth quarters by a combined 16 points, the Cavs lost by double digits, ceding the cover as five point underdogs.
On the other hand, Memphis is coming off a cover and near upset win Tuesday versus the Lakers, from the position of 9.5 point home dogs.
Our reading of the tea leaves suggests bettors should ride the Cavs' bandwagon at least one more stop, as circumstances surrounding Cleveland's defeat tonight and Memphis' most recent success bode well for the road dog cover when these teams face off tomorrow.
Specifically, traveling teams that didn't beat the number as an underdog last out and are taking points from squads off covers have proven strong bets.
This approach's value might owe to the betting public's recency bias (A.K.A the availability heuristic) and predilection toward home favorites (since 2004, roughly 71% of regular season NBA games where the home team was expected to win garnered the support of a majority of spread bets).
Backing teams from this position has delivered a 7% return on investment since 2005, has suffered only two losing seasons over this timeframe and is 6-2 versus the number so far this year.
Separately, and likewise supportive of the Cavs cover Thursday, we have observed that road teams taking points from outside their conference tend to cover, particularly early in the season and after playing the night before.
Our hypothesis is that bettors tend to overestimate East-West talent disparities early in the NBA season, creating value with dogs (which happen to be road teams about two-thirds of the time).
This system is 1-0 this season-to-date.