NBA Handicapping: Weekly Look at Key Betting Statistics
by Dave Schwab - 1/18/2012
When it comes to wagering on the NBA, today’s advances in technology can deliver a wealth of statistics and information with just a few simple clicks on a mobile device. However, sometimes it is the simple things that can provide the most important insight to help handicap the outcome of a particular matchup.
This week we will take a look at which NBA teams have been solid plays either ‘over’ or ‘under’ the total line. Even though the regular season is only a couple of weeks old, often times these early trends can carry through an entire season to provide a consistent return on investment from your wagering activities.
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NBA 2011-12 Regular Season Overview
Many people wondered what kind of effect the extended player lockout and shortened preparation time would have on the NBA regular season, especially the oddsmakers who set the daily lines for the games. In terms of the total line, you would have to surmise from the early returns, that scoring has been at a premium and defense has the edge over offense so far.
Through Tuesday night’s games, the total has stayed ‘under’ in 133 games, which equates to 58.3 percent of the time. There have only been eight overtime games with the total evenly split at 4-4, but in games ending in regulation, 58.6 percent have stayed ‘under’ the total.
The Miami Heat have been the highest scoring team in the league with an average of 107.2 points a game, while the Detroit Pistons have scored the fewest points with an average of 85 points a game.
Defensively, the Chicago Bulls have been the stingiest; giving-up an average of just 85.75 points in 16 games, and the Sacramento Kings have been the most porous with their opponents averaging 101.8 points in their first 14 games.
Top NBA Teams on the Over Line
So far scoring and the over have gone hand-in-hand with nine of the Heat’s 13 games going over the total. It also helps that Miami is giving up an average of 99.3 points a game. The total has gone over in six of its last seven games overall despite some nagging injuries to one of its top scorers, Dwyane Wade. In his place, LeBron James has stepped-up to average 29.8 points a game. All told, five Miami players are scoring in double figures with four averaging more than 18 points a game.
Given the early trends favoring lower-scoring games, there are just four other teams which have more games going over than staying under. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are 7-6 on the total line, the Charlotte Bobcats are 8-7, and the New Jersey Nets are 8-6.
There are two teams that are evenly split on the total line at 7-7; the Denver Nuggets and the San Antonio Spurs
Top NBA Teams on the Under Line
Given that there are 23 teams that have favored the under so far there are a number of top candidates for this list, but the top team so far has been the Minnesota Timberwolves. They have played 13 games so far, and 10 of them have stayed under the total. The Timberwolves have been surprisingly gritty behind a defense that is giving-up an average of 93.1 points a game to go along with an offensive output of 94.7 points a game. This balance makes any of their games worth a second look when it comes to the total line.
The defending champion Dallas Mavericks are just 8-6 straight-up on the year, but 10 of their 14 games have stayed under the total. Their scoring ratio is even better than Minnesota’s with an average of 92.6 points a game, while holding their opponents to just 88.5 points a game.
Another team with a profitable record favoring the under is the Los Angeles Lakers. The total has stayed under in 10 of 15 games overall and in seven of 10 at home. The Lakers are another team that has been extremely well balanced when it comes to points. They are putting up an average of 93.3 points a game, while giving-up an average of 89.4.