The NBA is a one-sided league, with the bulk of the power players residing in the Western Conference. While the Milwaukee Bucks are among the favorites to win the NBA Championship, you have to scroll pretty far down the NBA futures odds to find the next Eastern Conference contender.
But despite that heavy lean toward the West in the odds to win the NBA title, you can still get good value Handicapping Sports on non-conference competition when the East plays the West during the regular season. Here are the best non-conference bets against the spread in the NBA so far this season.
Utah Jazz (15-7-1 ATS vs. East)
The Jazz are 29-29-2 ATS overall on the season, picking up the bulk of those profits against Eastern Conference competition. Utah averages 112.5 points per game versus Eastern opponents but really makes its mark on the defensive end, shutting down those non-conference foes to an average of only 106.3 points over those 23 matchups.
That defensive mark slims to 101.7 points against when hosting Eastern Conference teams, which makes sense considering Salt Lake City is a tough place to play during a grueling road trip. The altitude and thin air can suck the energy out of any visitor, more so those Eastern teams playing a tight turnaround in the Mountain Time Zone.
Boston Celtics (17-8-0 ATS vs. West)
Holding it down for the East are the Celtics, who have kept competitive against Western foes. Boston has checked non-conference competition to 110 points per game over those 25 games outside of the Eastern schedule, which is about four points above its season average, but has countered that with an average of 114.7 points per game in non-conference play.
The Celtics have thrived against the best the West has to offer, covering in both meetings with the Lakers, Nuggets, and Clippers while going 1-1 ATS in two matchups with the Rockets. Boston’s offense has been especially outstanding in home games versus the West, scoring 120.7 points per contest in those 11 situations. The Celtics have an upcoming home stand against the Jazz on March 6.
Los Angeles Clippers (14-9-0 ATS vs. East)
The Clippers are getting healthy at the right time and have set the tone as one of the favorites to win the NBA Finals with strong showings against the East. Los Angeles has battled inflated odds on a nightly basis, leading to a 32-28-0 ATS mark overall. But this team has held an average margin of victory of 10.6 points over Eastern Conference rivals, easily covering those lofty pointspreads.
The Clippers aren’t afraid to hit the road either, shutting down non-conference opponents to a mere 108.8 points per game on their home courts. Los Angeles recent stumbled on a three-game East Coast stretch, going 1-2 SU and ATS, but with Paul George getting stronger and Patrick Beverly back, expect L.A. to bring home the non-conference cash in its seven remaining matchups with Eastern Conference teams.