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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

NBA Betting Guide: When to Fade the Big Chalk

Updated: Apr 6, 2023


April 6, 2023 Bet: Denver Nuggets +10.5 @ Phoenix Suns

After beating the number as 19-point home favorites versus the San Antonio Spurs two days ago, the Phoenix Suns improved to 7-4 this season when laying at least ten. Next up, Phoenix is set to give 10.5 to the Denver Nuggets in April 6, 2023 regular season NBA action at the Suns' Footprint Center. Rationalizing this big spread for the best team in the West, Denver's entire starting lineup is listed as questionable, per the latest information from Sports Insights.


The Nuggets are 3-1 ATS so far this year when getting double-digits, and we are taking the points with the top-seed in the West (and assuming that this betting line more than accounts for the potential that none of the Nuggets starters see action in this contest). Supporting our position, we highlight the following system, which has delivered statistically significant long-term returns.



The indicated angle has proven good for a 22% return on investment over the last 18 seasons (including the current basketball year) and has submitted meaningfully losing seasons only twice. The system is a stellar 7-2 ATS so far this year.


We suspect the success of this set of criteria is largely rooted in a persistent tendency for bettors to flock to darling teams playing in their own building. Feddersen, Humphreys & Soebbing (2016), for instance, document a phenomenon of bookmakers shading lines, or inflating spreads, for popular home teams. We submit that the Suns, on the heels of a run to the Western Conference Finals last year, and anchored by the star power of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker (both top-10 players) as well as Chris Paul (#21), easily fit the bill for an apple of the public's eye team. Further, we hypothesize that when underdog teams are of particularly high quality (which we proxy based on recent playoff berths), the assumption of an uber-wide talent disparity—i.e. a big spread—is especially inappropriate.


Inline with our observation, Paul and Weinbach (2005) have observed an exploitable penchant for the public to overbet big favorites.


Moreover, following a cover as a big favorite, the public's recency bias, which causes bettors to place too much stock in near-term outcomes, might also come into play—the aforementioned angle is 71-39 ATS (65%) when the the team laying at least ten covered their prior game as a similarly large favorite.


Thus, we expect that the stars are aligned for the likely short-handed Nuggets to beat the number facing the presumably overpriced Suns.


Happy betting!!


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