Kyrie Irving Wins For Fantasy Players But Not Spread Bettors
Kyrie Irving set an NBA scoring record in the first three games with the Brooklyn Nets. That doesn’t provide any comfort to those with NBA betting action on the spread who backed the former Boston Celtic and his new team to start the 2019-20 season.
Serving as a perfect example of the divide between daily fantasy and sports gambling, Irving is a DFS stud having broken James Harden’s record for most points in his first three games with a new team. LeBron James’ former running-mate put up 113 points for the Nets, better than Harden’s 106 in his 2012 Houston Rockets debut.
Irving’s 37.7 points per game are second-best in the NBA behind Trae Young from the Atlanta Hawks. He’s been filling it up for DFS players and justifying the high price tag.
Spread bettors, meanwhile, have received no such payoff. The Nets are one of only two teams to start the year 0-3 against the spread alongside the Sacramento Kings. They were picked to go over the 45.5 win total this season. Their only win came at home against the New York Knicks, where they failed to cover the -8 line in a 113-109 victory. They also have a pair of overtime losses against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies.
Kyrie Makes Splash In Brooklyn
The Nets signed Irving as a free agent after two seasons with the Boston Celtics, where he averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds per game in 2018-19. The six-time All-Star was also the leader on a 2017-18 Celtics squad that went 62-37-2 ATS. Oddsmakers adjusted in the 2018-19 season and the Celtics were 43-46-2 ATS with essentially the same roster - plus Gordon Hayward.
While Irving continues to get plenty of attention, the best ATS teams thus far are noticeably light on superstars. The Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns are both 3-0 ATS, with Bradley Beal averaging 20.3 points per game in Washington and Devin Booker scoring 23.3 in Phoenix.
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Of course, the James-led Lakers and Khawi Leonard’s Clippers are both 2-1 ATS thus far. But this early sample size shows that the best value is often found outside the daily social media highlights and Stephen A. Smith screaming matches.
The Nets are off until Wednesday and will be well-rested when the Indiana Pacers come to Brooklyn. The Pacers are also winless ATS at 0-2 and will be coming off a Monday night game at the Detroit Pistons.
Irving should continue to light it up in the coming weeks in games against the Pacers, Rockets, Pistons, Pelicans and Trailblazers. None of the next five opponents are above-average defensively. Don’t overlook Irving when filling out those daily fantasy lineups. But it might be wise to look the other direction when betting the Nets ATS.