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A Hot Week of Underdog Picks: What to Look For When Betting the Dog

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

Our hot picks of the day were on fire last week. We went 6-1 with three straight underdog winners. So, if you bet them, you more than likely made a little money. I personally love to bet the moneyline on an underdog because of the bet’s value in terms of the potential payout.

Here are the games we won:

  • Jazz vs. Knicks (Knicks ML+265)

  • Cavaliers vs. Grizzles (Cavs ML +210)

  • Thunder vs. Knicks (Thunder ML +120)

If you asked the casual NBA fan to predict who would win each game outright, I’d venture to guess they’d take the Jazz over the Knicks and the Grizzles over the Cavs… Thunder vs. Knicks might be a toss-up. So, let’s examine a few factors from each game that might have contributed to success for the underdog or lack of success for the favorite.

Jazz vs. Knicks - New York won this game 112-100 in NY

  • The Jazz were on the backend of a back-to-back, having played in Brooklyn the night before where they got crushed 130-96. Fatigue was definitely a factor in this one and the Knicks took advantage of it. New York had a slow start to the game, trailing by 18-points in the first half, but surged in the second half as Utah’s legs began to tire.

  • The violence that took place in Washington could have also had a mental and emotional impact on the players. In fact, Utah head coach Quinn Snyder even said after the game that it was difficult to concentrate on basketball and have a normal pre-game routine with everything going on not too far away.

Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies – Cleveland won this game 94-90 in Memphis

  • At the time this game was played, Memphis had not won a single home game. How teams trend playing both home and away is always something to keep in mind when placing a bet.

  • While the Grizzlies had an off day before facing the Cavs, they were coming off a West Coast trip where they played two games against the defending NBA champs. It's also worth noting that the Lakers own the best record in the NBA this season. Memphis lost both of those games – the second one by two points. With two losses and a cross-country flight home, it can be tough for some teams to get mentally ready for the next game, especially against a team like Cleveland.

  • The Cavs were without their leading scorer Collin Sexton who was out with a left ankle sprain. I always find it interesting when a star player is out because you’d think that would hinder a team, yet often it forces players to step up and play harder to fill that star’s role, while it gives the opposing team the mindset that ‘this game just got a little easier.'

Thunder vs. Knicks – Thunder won this game 101-89 in NY

  • This game seemed to be a case of an off night for the Knicks – and hey, that’s going to happen sometimes. The Thunder shot just 20.8% in the first quarter and New York wasn’t able to capitalize by sustaining that energy on the defensive end for the remainder of the game. After the game, ESPN even quoted Julius Randle saying, “I just felt like today, on both ends of the floor, for whatever reason, we just didn’t play for each other and that happens.”

  • The Thunder stuck together and persevered through a bad first quarter and the Knicks folded a bit. Because of the small sample size at this point of the season, I don't want to say that this is a characteristic of the Knicks, but as a sports bettor, it’s definitely something to pay attention to in the future.

  • OKC also received a big game from Hamidou Diallo who scored a season-high 23 points.

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