Well, there are apparently three things you can count on in life.
Paying taxes, dying and watching the Houston Rockets fail to cover the spread.
If you didn’t know already, Houston had been one of the best ATS teams to bet against all season long. This week though, the Rockets suddenly have some company at the bottom of the ATS standings in the form of the reeling Miami Heat.
Miami’s awful week dropped the reigning Eastern Conference champs from fourth in the Eastern Conference standing to eighth place.
Joining the Rockets and Heat at the bottom of the ATS standings are a trio of familiar teams. With the start of Week 15 here, it’s time to identify the five worst ATS teams in the league.
5. Minnesota (19-26-1 ATS)
Minnesota (11-35 SU) continued to lose and fail to cover consistently last week. Karl-Anthony Towns and company went 1-3 SU and ATS last week by losing Oklahoma City, Dallas and Houston. The Timberwolves did scratch out a win against the Rockets on the front end of consecutive home games against Houston on Friday.
Minnesota has gone 10-13 ATS at home and a nearly identical 9-13-1 ATS on the road. The T-Wolves have split six games as a favorite this season (3-3 ATS) while going 16-23-1 ATS as an underdog.
Minnesota is 23rd in scoring (109.2 PPG) and 28th in points allowed (117.2 PPG). The Timberwolves are ranked in the bottom 10 in every significant offensive and defensive statistical category. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Minnesota is so awful, I can’t imagine Red Auerbach, Pat Riley or Phil Jackson could get this team to win games. And that’s saying a mouthful.
4. Indiana (18-26 ATS)
Indiana might be 27th in the ATS standings, but the Pacers are coming off a solid week. Domantas Sabonis and company won three of four last week to give their playoff hopes a boost.
Indiana got blown out by 27 points against Milwaukee on Monday as 7-point road dogs. The Pacers bounced back to beat Detroit two nights later but failed to cover as a 7½-point home favorite. Malcolm Brogdon then led Indy to a rout of Dallas as a 1½-point home fave on Friday.
Just prior to the start of last week, Indiana managed to record consecutive wins against the reeling Miami Heat. The Pacers are 3-2 ATS over their last five games. More importantly, I repeat what I wrote a week ago.
I’m expecting the Pacers to improve over the remainder of the season as shooting guard Caris LeVert gets more comfortable, like he did against the Pistons. Myles Turner has become a defensive force in the league and Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis are excellent players. The Pacers are 5-14 ATS at home this season and 12-12 ATS on the road. Indiana has gone 11-15 ATS as a favorite and 7-11 ATS as an underdog.
3. Cleveland (19-27 ATS)
The Cavaliers (17-29 SU) remain among the league’s worst ATS teams after going 1-3 last week. Cleveland managed to go 2-2 ATS by beating Chicago and covering the spread as a 9-point dog against Sacramento. Overall though, the rebuilding Cavs remain a mess.
Yes, Cleveland has gone 4-3 ATS over its last seven games and, yes, the Cavs have a winning ATS mark at home (12-11 ATS). Still, this team is offensively inept in ranking 30th in scoring (103.5 PPG) and a near lock to bet against on the road (7-16 ATS). For me, outside of Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen and rookie Isaac Okoro, everyone on Cleveland’s roster is trade bait.
2. Miami (18-27-1 ATS)
I swear, I’m not going to refer to Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin'” anymore after this week, but damn, Miami (22-24 SU) is taking a pounding right now. Jimmy Butler and the reigning Eastern Conference champs went 0-3 SU and ATS for the second straight week. Miami has quickly fallen from fourth to eighth in the East standings. The Heat are mathematically tied with Indiana with Chicago, two games back and Toronto four games back.
Miami is 7-9 ATS as an underdog and a disturbing 11-18-1 ATS as a favorite. The Heat did acquire veteran shooting guard Victor Oladipo, and I believe he will help the struggling Heat to some degree. In the end though, Jimmy Butler has looked completely exhausted on most nights after last season’s marathon bubble run and the quick turnaround to this season. Watch out for the Heat at home. Miami is 8-15-1 ATS mark at AmericanAirlines Arena.
1. Houston (14-31 ATS)
The Rockets (13-32 SU) snapped a 20-game losing streak by beating Toronto 117-99 on Monday night as an 8½-point home underdog. Houston capped off the week by smacking Minnesota around 129-107 on Saturday as a 4½-point road dog. In between, Houston lost by 23 at home against Charlotte as a 3½-point underdog and on the road at Minnesota by six as a 4½-point dog.
The Rockets have gone an abysmal 4-18 ATS at home. Their 2-2 SU and ATS week notwithstanding, I wrote a week ago: “Call me crazy, but I can see Houston potentially going 4-0 SU and ATS this week”.
Yeah… about that.