Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard
Sports Betting Commercial Content. 21+. Provided by Action Network, official betting partner of The Inquirer.

NBA betting trends: Celtics continue to produce big profits for bettors

The NBA’s best team on the court also has been the best team at cashing tickets

Led by forward and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics are off to an NBA-best 21-5 start to this season. The Celtics also lead the league with a 17-9 ATS record. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Led by forward and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics are off to an NBA-best 21-5 start to this season. The Celtics also lead the league with a 17-9 ATS record. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Read moreChristian Petersen / Getty Images

If you’ve been paying attention to the NBA this season, you’re certainly aware that the Boston Celtics are off to a torrid start. And by torrid we mean Boston has won 17 of 19 games since opening 4-3.

Not only do the Celtics have the NBA’s best record at 21-5, but they have put more money in the pockets of bettors than any other team in the Association. Heading into Saturday night’s NBA Finals rematch at the Golden State Warriors, they’re 17-9 ATS.

That includes a 10-2 ATS run since Nov. 16.

Boston isn’t the only NBA moneymaker, of course. Five other squads are right behind the Celtics in the point spread standings with 15 ATS wins.

With most teams having now completed more than 30% of their 2022-23 regular season schedule, here’s a look at several NBA betting trends — both positive and negative — going into Thursday night’s three-game slate.

Note: All stats via Action Network and updated through games played Dec. 7.

  1. Get your Caesars Sportsbook Promo Code

  2. New to NBA betting? Check out our NBA Betting Tips

  3. Learn about the Best Sports Betting Apps

NBA betting trends: Celtics delivering the green

As if its incredible record didn’t say enough, Boston made an emphatic statement Wednesday night in Phoenix, thumping the Suns 125-98 as a 2-point underdog.

Phoenix, which had the NBA’s best record last season, entered the game leading the Western Conference at 16-8. Meanwhile, the Celtics entered the game without starting center Al Horford.

None of it mattered, as Boston built a 45-point lead early in the second half and took a 104-65 advantage into the fourth quarter.

It was the Celtics’ second straight victory as an underdog, as they topped Toronto 116-110 as a 1.5-point pup on Monday. Those were the first two games this season in which Boston was catching points.

Led by NBA MVP frontrunner Jayson Tatum, the Celtics have been getting the job done across the board at the betting window. They’re 9-4 ATS at home (5-1 ATS in the last six), 8-5 ATS on the road (6-1 ATS in the last seven) and 15-9 ATS as a favorite (7-2 ATS in the last nine).

Boston even has delivered as a big chalk, cashing in four of five games when laying 9.5 points or more.

Like betting NBA totals? The Celtics have settled into a nice routine there, too. Boston is 11-2 to the Over on the road and 10-3 to the Under on the road.

No team has cashed more Over tickets as a host or more Under tickets as a visitor.

NBA betting trends: Kings, Blazers among next in line

Prior to the season, not much was expected from the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.

In fact, the latter three squads were projected to win fewer than 30 games.

Yet Sacramento (13-10 SU), Portland (13-11) and Utah (15-12) all are above .500, while Oklahoma City (11-14) has also surpassed preseason expectations.

That quartet of squads has 15 ATS triumphs, with the Kings (15-8 ATS) second to only Boston in the point spread standings. The Blazers (15-9 ATS) are sitting third, followed by the Thunder (15-10 ATS), Cleveland Cavaliers (14-9-2 ATS), Milwaukee Bucks (14-9-1 ATS) and Jazz (15-11-1 ATS).

Like the Celtics, Sacramento has been profitable both at home (8-4 ATS) and on the road (7-4 ATS). The Kings also got off to a sizzling 9-1 ATS start as an underdog, including five outright upsets. However, they’ve failed to cover in their last four as a pup.

On the home/road front, no team has been a more inhospitable host than Cleveland. In addition to sporting an NBA-best 11-1 SU record in their building, the Cavaliers are 10-1-1 ATS.

Milwaukee (10-5 ATS) and Memphis (9-3 ATS) also have been moneymakers at home.

Meanwhile, Portland has been a great bet in opposing arenas, going an NBA-best 10-4 ATS. The Thunder (9-4 ATS on the road) rank second.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

NBA betting trends: Heat, Mavericks bring up the rear

The Miami Heat finished last season with the best overall record in the Eastern Conference and tied for the fourth-best point spread record in the league (46-35-1).

The team tied with Miami in the ATS standings? Dallas.

Well, times have changed, because the Heat (8-16-1 ATS) and Mavericks (8-15-1 ATS) are currently at the bottom of those same standings. Minnesota and San Antonio (both 9-15 ATS) and the Los Angeles Lakers (9-14-1 ATS) are the only other teams that haven’t reached double-digit ATS wins.

Miami and Dallas also share the basement when it comes to cashing tickets at home (the Heat are 3-9-1 ATS; the Mavs are 4-8-1 ATS).

The worst point spread team on the road? That would be the defending champion Warriors, who are 3-10 ATS in enemy territory (but a solid 9-4 ATS at home).

Memphis (9-3/3-9-1), Cleveland (10-1-1/4-8-1) and the Orlando Magic (8-6/3-8-1 road) also have stark home/road splits from a betting perspective.

» READ MORE: NBA championship odds: 76ers holding steady in betting market

NBA betting trends: Over achievers and Under performers

No NBA squad has hurdled the total more often this year than Oklahoma City, which is 16-9 to the Over (including 9-2 Over at home).

Dallas (15-9) is the only other team in the league that has played at least four more Overs than Unders.

On the flip side, the Los Angeles Clippers head into Thursday’s battle at the Heat with the NBA’s best Under mark. The Clippers have stayed low in 17 of 26 games (but are 4-1 Over in their last five).

The Chicago Bulls (15-9) are the next best Under team, followed by the Brooklyn Nets (16-10) and Cavaliers (15-10). In fact, Cleveland has cashed Under tickets in six straight games and nine of the last 10.

Oddly enough, the two teams seemingly on a collision course to meet in the Eastern Conference finals — Boston and Milwaukee — have been the best Over teams at home and best Under teams on the road. As noted earlier, the Celtics are 11-2 Over at home and 10-3 Under on the road, while the Bucks are 10-5 Over as a host and 8-1 Under as a visitor.

The top Under teams at home are the Clippers (11-2) and Bulls (9-2), while the Charlotte Bobcats are an NBA-best 9-4 to the Over on the road.

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.