When it comes to NBA handicapping, experts are constantly looking for edges to over the NBA odds. Today we take a look at handicapping the NBA best and worst teams over the final quarter of the season.

We determined the best and worst teams byt number of double-digit wins/losses. We feel the number of blowout wins or losses, better defines how competitive a team is.

Do bad teams over the first three quarters of the season, continue on the same path or improve? Is it wise to continue backing the best teams down the stretch. These were the two main questions that I had going into the research.

Let’s take a look at the results. You might be surprised by what the numbers have to say.

Fewest Double-Digit Wins Final Quarter of Season

Every year the NBA produces at least one team that is just brutally uncompetitive. This past season it was the Los Angeles Lakers, who finished with 44 losses by 10 or more points. The Philadelphia 76ers laid claim to this title the previous two years. That includes 46 double-digit defeats in the 2013-14 campaign.

As bad as those two teams were, they don’t have anything on the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets. That year the Nuggets lost a staggering 51 games by 10 or more points. That’s the highest mark during our research, which dates back to the 1995-96 campaign.

SituationATS RecordPercentage
Home 174-234 42.6%
Away 89-113 44.1%
Home 10+ Underdog 25-20 55.6%
Away 10+ Underdog 55-71 43.7%
Overall 188-249 43.0%

As you can see from the table, these teams are obviously horrible bets all the way around. The only exception being when they are posted as a double-digit home dog.

If you pass on fading these teams in that spot, the overall record here is 163-229. That comes out to a miserable 41.6% win rate against the spread.

It turns out, you want to keep fading bad teams down the stretch run of the regular season.

Most Double-Digit Wins Final Quarter of Season

Now let’s take a look at the other side of things. How do teams that have dominated early in the season perform in the final quarter of the season. Just to clarify, we use games 61-82 to define the fourth quarter of the season.

Once again we collected data going all the way back to the 1995-96 season. No surprise, the Golden State Warriors held the top mark this past year with 53 double-digit wins. Golden State ended up finishing the season with a NBA-record 73 wins.

What you may find shocking, is they actually had more 10+ point wins the previous season. Golden State won 55 of their 67 wins by 10 or more points. For those wondering, 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who won 72 games only had 46 double-digit wins.

SituationATS RecordPercentage
Home 113-91 55.4%
Away 108-119 47.6%
Home 10+ Underdog 60-41 59.4%
Away 10+ Underdog 13-25 34.2%
Overall 221-210 51.3%

In terms of the value of betting these teams down the stretch, it all comes down to where the game is being played.

When playing at home, these teams have gone 113-91 (55.4%) against the spread. They are even stronger at home as a double-digit favorite, going 60-41 (59.4%).

It’s a different story on the road, where they are just 108-119 (47.6%) ATS. They are also a dreadful 13-25 (34.2%) when listed as a double-digit road favorite.

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