The Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings – All Star Edition

It’s been a month since the last edition of the Gambler’s NBA Power Rankings, and much like that text most men fear, I’m late. So, I’ll get right to it.

Biggest Riser: Dallas Mavericks ↑9

Biggest Faller: Sacramento Kings ↓12

Note: power rankings place value on teams based on win-loss record, schedule strength, and other traditional valuation methods, with the added factor of against the spread records.

1. San Antonio Spurs (Last Rank: 1)

Record: 43-13 (2nd)

Record ATS: 31-24-1 (5th)

SOS: 8

The Spurs remain the top dogs, but damn it’s close (their 2-1 record over Houston being the difference). While the Spurs won 7 of their last 10 heading into the all-star break, they only covered the spread in 4 of those games. In the same breath, a week off for an old team is orgasmic (and Gasol should be back soon).

2. Houston Rockets (Last Rank: 2)

Record: 41-18 (4th)

Record ATS: 34-25 (3rd)

SOS: 7

The Rockets lost 7 games during the month of January – their loss total was 9 over the entire season to that point – but, they went into the break winners of 4 of 5. Oh, and they’re 2nd in the league in points per game (as well as offensive efficiency), AND they just added Lou Williams – giving them NBA’s top 2 bench scorers. Just what they needed, more buckets.

3. Golden State Warriors (Last Rank: 8)

Record: 48-9 (1st)

Record ATS: 28-27-2 (14th)

SOS: 1

The Warriors are now 17-23 against the spread as a double-digit favorite. They’ve been a double-digit favorite in 70% of their games. They’re 11-4-2 against the spread as a single-digit favorite. Not sure what any of that means, but people like to do those “Warriors blew a 3-1 lead” things… That’s 3 sentences about their records against the spread, and 1 that’s not. The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead. I hate those things.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder (Last Rank: 5)

Record: 32-25 (12th)

Record ATS: 31-25-1 (T-6th)

SOS: 2

The Thunder gave up Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow for Doug McDermott, and Taj Gibson. While the deal was far from earth shattering, OKC gave up 3 cats who combine to make 1 NBA player, for 1.5 NBA players (and a pick), and they still have this guy named Russell Westbrook.

5. Washington Wizards (Last Rank: 7)

Record: 34-21 (6th)

Record ATS: 32-23 (2nd)

SOS: 30

The Wizards have been the best team in basketball since Christmas. They’ve also played the weakest schedule in the league, yet have a point differential of only +2.8. Which angle do you want to look at it from? Makes no difference, they cover either way.

6. Boston Celtics (Last Rank: 4)

Record: 37-20 (5th)

Record ATS: 29-26-2 (10th)

SOS: 11

The Celtics went into the break as one of the NBA’s hottest teams, and should come out of the break close to full-strength. They still have to see the Cavs twice, and Warriors/Wizards once, but that’s about it. Their schedule down the stretch lightens up considerably.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (Last Rank: 6)

Record: 34-24 (9th)

Record ATS: 30-28 (T-12th)

SOS: 4

Defense wins championships. It also covers spreads.

8. Toronto Raptors (Last Rank: 3)

Record: 33-24 (10th)

Record ATS: 31-25-1 (T-6th)

SOS: 15

On paper, the additions of Serge Ibaka, and PJ Tucker should bode well for Toronto. We’ll have to wait and see if paper translates to the court. Wait, if paper is made from trees, and the court is wood…

9. Los Angeles Clippers (Last Rank: 14)

Record: 35-22 (8th)

Record ATS: 30-27 (11th)

SOS: 5

The Clippers have covered the spread in 5 straight, and Chris Paul has been medically cleared.

10. Miami Heat (Last Rank: 16)

Record: 25-32 (T-17th)

Record ATS: 32-24-1 (4th)

SOS: 18

The Heat took full advantage of a light stretch in their schedule before the break, and put up 13 straight Ws. If there were any lingering doubts on whether Spoelstra was a good coach, or just the beneficiary of elite talent, they’ve been squashed. He’s getting the most out of this squad.

11. Dallas Mavericks (Last Rank: 20)

Record: 22-34 (24th)

Record ATS: 30-26 (9th)

SOS: 9

I can’t lie, like most, I wrote off the Mavs back in November. They’re starting to pull it together, though, and their 10-5 record against the spread before the break + the addition of Noel, makes them a team to keep on the radar down the stretch. They’re 7-1 when favored at home, btw.

12. Denver Nuggets (Last Rank: 13)

Record: 25-32 (T-17th)

Record ATS: 29-28 (15th)

SOS: 10

The Nuggets came out of the all-star break, still on the all-star break. It’s just one game, yet a microcosm of their entire season. Youth tends to yield inconsistency.

13. Cleveland Cavaliers (Last Rank: 18)

Record: 40-16 (3rd)

Record ATS: 27-27-2 (18th)

SOS: 20

Cleveland struggled a bit throughout January, but won 7 of 8 heading into the break, and picked up where they left off by destroying the Knicks last night. Again. The playoffs are approaching, and they’ve covered the spread in 9 of 10. It’s about that time.

14. Philadelphia 76ers (Last Rank: 15)

Record: 21-35 (26th)

Record ATS: 34-22 (1st)

SOS: 28

The Philadelphia 76ers have the NBA’s best record against the spread. Yes, still. They came back down to earth in February, however, and now that Simmons has been ruled out we’ll see how they handle Embiid.  They seem to have a strong affinity for draft picks, and given their recent history, it’s hard to imagine them playing for pride.

15. Atlanta Hawks (Last Rank: 9)

Record: 32-24 (11th)

Record ATS: 28-28 (16th)

SOS: 25

Sure, Thabo Sefolosha’s return will help. But, help them what? The Hawks are still the Hawks. Stuck in the unchanging web of mediocrity.

16. New Orleans Pelicans (Last Rank: 21)

Record: 23-35 (T-22nd)

Record ATS: 27-30-1 (T-21st)

SOS: 19

Apparently, the Pelicans picked up some guy named DeMarcus Cousins, and I hear he’s pretty good at this game they call basketball. But, with only 24 games remaining, chances we see the move come to fruition this season are slim. As shown in their debut, a 99-129 blowout loss to Houston, it may not be a bad idea to bet on the side of acclimation.

17. Detroit Pistons (Last Rank: 23)

Record: 28-30 (15th)

Record ATS: 28-30 (20th)

SOS: 13

Have you ever met a woman that looks like an entirely different person without makeup? That woman is the Pistons. The problem is identifying which day (or half in last night’s case) they want to get all dolled up.

18. Phoenix Suns (Last Rank: 10)

Record: 18-39 (29th)

Record ATS: 28-28-1 (17th)

SOS: 12

With 25 games to go, the Suns have a fairly decent shot at finishing with the league’s 2nd worst record. Not an ideal spot for a team to be in when placing bets.

19. Chicago Bulls (Last Rank: 25)

Record: 28-29 (14th)

Record ATS: 28-29 (19th)

SOS: 22

Taj Gibson was the Bulls only real frontcourt threat, they’re 2 games out of the lottery, and even when they try they stink. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

20. New York Knicks (Last Rank: 19)

Record: 23-35 (T-22nd)

Record ATS: 30-28 (T-12th)

SOS: 23

Philip failed. Melo doesn’t even know the team’s direction. Porzingis is in a walking boot. But hey, they beat the Spurs. It’s hard to imagine, but this situation will probably get worse before it gets better. All of which might help to explain why they’ve gone 2-6 against the spread in February.

21. Utah Jazz (Last Rank: 12)

Record: 35-22 (T-7th)

Record ATS: 25-31-1 (24th)

SOS: 21

16 of the Jazz final 25 games come against Western Conference teams. They’re 13-22-1 against the spread vs. the West.

22. Charlotte Hornets (Last Rank: 11)

Record: 24-33 (T-20th)

Record ATS: 23-32-2 (27th)

SOS: 16

The Hornets have lost 5 straight, 9 of 10, and covered the spread just thrice over their last 15 games. Oy.

23. Indiana Pacers (Last Rank: 27)

Record: 29-28 (13th)

Record ATS: 25-32 (25th)

SOS: 29

2 red flags here:

  1. Paul George’s declining numbers with each passing month.
  2. 13 of the Pacers final 25 games are on the road. They’re 10-16 ATS away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

24. Los Angeles Lakers (Last Rank: 30)

Record: 19-39 (28th)

Record ATS: 27-30-1 (22nd)

SOS: 14

Lonzo Ball is arguably the best prospect in this year’s draft. Lonzo Ball is from Cali. Lonzo Ball plays at UCLA. The LA Lakers are a half game back from the league’s 2nd worst record.

25. Portland Trailblazers (Last Rank: 24)

Record: 24-33 (T-20th)

Record ATS: 23-34 (28th)

SOS: 3

Look up disappointment in the dictionary, and you won’t find anything about the Portland Trailblazers. But, you should.

26. Orlando Magic (Last Rank: 29)

Record: 21-38 (27th)

Record ATS: 23-34-2 (29th)

SOS: 17

Have I mention it’s tanking season? Although, given their roster construct, I feel parting ways with Ibaka will help. For whatever that’s worth.

27. Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Rank: 22)

Record: 22-35 (25th)

Record ATS: 24-33 (26th)

SOS: 24

Who will join KAT, and Wiggins? Jayson Tatum? Malik Monk?

28. Milwaukee Bucks (Last Rank: 26)

Record: 25-30 (16th)

Record ATS: 22-33 (30th)

SOS: 26

The Bucks have covered the spread 7 times in 2017. They’ve played 23 games.

29. Sacramento Kings (Last Rank: 17)

Record: 25-33 (19th)

Record ATS: 31-26-1 (8th)

SOS: 6

DeMarcus Cousins was that old ass king from the Braveheart type movies. You know he’s on his way out, but he still holds the power.  Meanwhile the prince fights the power struggle, and waits for (or dreads) his day. Well, now that he’s gone, all these young princes finally get their chance to shine. They were blinding last night, but don’t expect it to last.

30. Brooklyn Nets (Last Rank: 28)

Record: 9-47 (30th)

Record ATS: 24-29-3 (23rd)

SOS: 27

Their pick goes to Boston, so they have no incentive to tank. They just stink. And, giving away their 2nd leading scorer makes for a mirthless end to ’16-’17.

As always, be sure to check me out on Twitter/Instagram: maxingyourodds, and Facebook: maximizeyourodds or shoot me an email: leonard@maximizeyourodds.com and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date with all of my fantasy advice, and betting picks.

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