Eight years, that’s how long it has been since the Eastern Conference had a winning record against the West. The Western Conference has been better in head-to-head play in 17 of the last 18 seasons. The trend was expected to continue in 2017-18 with 22 of the league’s 30 best players out West according to FiveThirtyEight.com.
A little over a month into the season no one is talking about conference disparity. The East has a 58-49 record in interconference play. Boston is undefeated (6-0) against teams from the West, the Pistons, Knicks, Raptors and 76ers have won at least five games against Western Conference teams and only four squads have losing records.
Why does this matter? Gambling, duh.
The East has never been as profitable against the West as they are to start the season. Eastern Conference teams are 66-37-4 (64.1%) ATS in cross-conference action. This would be just the third time in our database that the conference was profitable vs. the West.
Will the good times last? Probably not. There is reason to believe the East is outperforming expectations. Underdogs are winning over 40% of their games against the West in 2017-18, in the previous 13 seasons teams getting points won less than 30% of the time.
Regression is coming but for now, East vs. West is no longer a one-sided affair.