Key Nets Betting Trends Emerge Since James Harden Trade

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By Mark Strotman

The blockbuster trade that sent All-Pro James Harden to the Brooklyn on January 14 had a ripple effect across the entire NBA. Overnight there was a new favorite in the Eastern Conference behind the three-headed monster of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and oddsmakers wasted no time shifting a number of different futures odds as a result.

Nearly three weeks have passed since the latest Super Team joined forces. Here are the NBA betting trends we’ve seen with the new-look Nets:

Nets New Offense Fueling Overs

Harden’s first game with Brooklyn was on Jan. 16, a seven-point Nets win over the Orlando Magic. Brooklyn scored 122 points in that game, and they haven’t slowed since. In the 10 games post-Harden trade, Brooklyn has the league’s No. 1 offense (121.0 points per 100 possessions), the No. 1 effective field goal percentage (weighing 3-pointers more heavily), and the eighth best assist-to-turnover ratio.

They’ve done all this despite Harden missing one game and Irving and Durant missing two apiece. In six games with the Big Three active, Brooklyn has scored the following point totals: 145, 128, 98, 132, 147 and 124. Durant has led the way be averaging 32.3 points in that span, though Harden’s 24.1 points and 12.0 assists have been equally impressive.

The defense? Well, that has been a different story. While touting the league’s most potent offense, Brooklyn’s defense has been embarrassingly bad. In that same 10-game span, Brooklyn has allowed the fourth most points per 100 possessions. Consider that they have lost games in which they scored 135 and 146 points.

The combination of an elite offense and awful defense has meant Nets games are hitting the Over on a consistent basis. Since acquiring Harden, 9 of the first 10 Nets games went over. The Over has hit in games that had a total set at 238 (over by 22 points), 240 (over by 8 points) and 244.5 (over by 50.5). There’s no telling just how high oddsmakers will continue to set Brooklyn games at, but the over will always be in play given the makeup of their team.

Few Covers But Plenty Of Promise

Such an ugly defense has meant it’s been hard for Brooklyn to pull away, resulting in a measly 5-5 record ATS despite a 7-3 SU record since the Harden trade. Sportsbooks are betting on Brooklyn’s ability to simply outscore its opponent in games played in the 120s.

Brooklyn hasn’t faced the most daunting schedule during the Harden Era, but they did pass their lone test with flying colors, a 125-123 victory over the Bucks in which Harden and Durant combined for 64 points (Irving was out).

Durant and Irving have championship rings, and Harden is no stranger to the postseason. The three-headed monster will be the biggest challengers to the defending champion Lakers, and oddsmakers haven’t blinked on their initial title odds movement: The Nets entered this week with +385 odds to win the 2021 Finals at DraftKings, second only to the Lakers’ +250 odds.

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Mark Strotman
Mark Strotman is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports. He covered the NBA Playoffs in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as Team USA Basketball in 2014 and 2016. He has also covered high school football and was nominated for a Midwest Emmy in 2016 for his work on a documentary featuring local Chicago product and NFL prospect Miles Boykin.
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Mark Strotman is a veteran sports journalist who has covered the Chicago Bulls and the NBA for NBC Sports Chicago for about 8 years. His work has also appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune, Yahoo Sports and NBC Sports. He covered the NBA Playoffs in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 as well as Team USA Basketball in 2014 and 2016. He has also covered high school football and was nominated for a Midwest Emmy in 2016 for his work on a documentary featuring local Chicago product and NFL prospect Miles Boykin.
... Read More