Two months have gone by in the NBA schedule and sometimes what you think you know about a certain team is completely wrong. Easy and hard opening slates can skew the way a team performs, both on the scoreboard and at the sportsbook. Here are four NBA teams who you think you know, but you don’t. Tough opening schedules Sacramento Kings (9-6, 10-5 ATS, 7-8 O/U) The Kings have had the toughest schedule in the league to open 2014-15, but that hasn't stopped them from a surprising 9-6 start with a 10-5 ATS record. Sacramento has faced just one Eastern Conference opponent (beating the Bulls 103-88) which has contributed to its strength of schedule, ranked first by a significant margin. A 6-3 ATS road record has provided an impressive start for backers. Things will get easier for the Kings - eventually. But until then, their next three games are against the Spurs, Grizzlies and Raptors. For now, the Kings remain a great ATS play. But once the sked softens up and the markets corrects, Sacramento could find itself as a favorite more often than not. Los Angeles Lakers (3-12, 7-7-1 ATS, 9-6 O/U) Like the Kings, the Lakers’ strength of schedule has been boosted by playing a West-heavy opening stretch, with their only non-conference games coming against Charlotte and Atlanta. The team has stumbled to a 3-12 record playing the Rockets and Warriors twice as well as clashing with other playoff-bound teams in Dallas and San Antonio. The Lakers get a nice break for their next five games, with the Raptors being the only top team in the mix. There’s a chance things get brighter in La-La Land, playing the Timberwolves before making a road trip East to take on the Pistons, Wizards, and Celtics. Soft opening schedules Milwaukee Bucks (9-7, 11-5 ATS, 6-10 O/U) Milwaukee is a surprise to start the season with head coach Jason Kidd guiding the Bucks’ young nucleus to potential playoff hopes going into December. But the Bucks had the easiest schedule in the NBA through their first 16 games – leaving questions marks surrounding the validity of this club. The next five outings will be a good indicator of the Bucks’ long-term value, facing Houston, Dallas and Miami at home in addition to a trip to Cleveland. Milwaukee will be getting plenty of points in those contests, but keep an eye on how the Bucks do against elite competition. There could be a valuable tell for this team, especially if they’re flirting with the postseason. Chicago Bulls (9-6, 5-10 ATS, 7-7-1 O/U) Chicago's awful start ATS may be a concern long term as the Bulls boast the 26th-easiest schedule through 15 games. Injury drama with Derrick Rose has kept them from being front runners in the East. The Bulls schedule has gotten rougher the past few games, with the franchise on its annual Circus Trip out West. Chicago went 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS versus those non-conference opponents.
Strength of schedule skews how NBA bettors view these four teams
Covers.com | Nov 28