Monday, 9 April 2018

Sleepless In Denver

Back in January 2011, I wrote about the uniqueness of the city of Denver in US Sports:

In US sports, Denver is a unique place to go for a game, given that the altitude there is about, as Broncos fans will know, one mile, and ideally teams arrive there more than a day ahead to get acclimated. Of course, when you have a game the night before, you have no choice but to arrive late, and if Miami left LA straight after their loss, they wouldn't have arrived until the wee hours of Thursday, and losing an hour on the way.

How significant is this? Over the last 55 games that Denver has hosted an opponent playing the second game of a back-to-back, they have a 46-9 record. A little nugget of information for you (pun intended).
My suspicion is that this post will have resonated with precisely zero readers, but should anyone have been following the Denver Nuggets in home games this season playing against teams on a back-to-back, they would have been rewarded with a 100% straight up winning record, and a 6-2 record against the spread. 

ESPN touched on the topic of NBA scheduling in this recent article. Surprisingly Denver isn't the toughest place to go this season on short rest when playing a rested opponent. Minnesota Timberwolves boast a 9-0 record in such games. Other impressive records this season (80%+) include the Houston Rockets 6-0, Philadelphia Seventysixers 9-1, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics both 7-1, Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder 6-1, Detroit Pistons 11-2, San Antonio Spurs 4-1 and Dallas Mavericks 2-0. ATS, these are a combined 50-30-3. Why the Mavericks have just two such games while the Pistons have 13 seems to be something of a scheduling issue.

The two 100% teams in this scenario from last season were the Golden State Warriors 15-0 and the Los Angeles Clippers at 11-0, but the newly extended season and subsequent reduction in back-to-backs has seen the number of opportunities for these teams drop to 7 and 8 games respectively.

As favourable as playing a tired opponent at home might be, some teams still manage to waste the opportunity. Over the past five seasons, ATS at home, the Sacramento Kings are 9-30 while the Orlando Magic are 12-30-1. On the road, the biggest flops are (again) the Orlando Magic joined at 3-8 by the Denver Nuggets who clearly find it easier to win these games at home, followed by the Boston Celtics at 5-12. 

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