The NBA season is just about halfway completed. Several teams are exactly halfway done with their 82-game schedules, while others are just short of the halfway mark. At Doc’s Sports, we like to take a closer look inside the trends to help find valuable betting angles. The bi-weekly NBA Hot and Cold Report helps keep bettors up to date regarding the hot and cold teams as far as covering the number. Totals are another popular way to bet on the NBA, so we are now tracking which teams are trending “over” and which teams are trending “under” versus the posted total. Please note that all statistics used in this article are for games played from Jan. 3 through Jan. 16.
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Top Five Over Teams (over listed first then under)
--Brooklyn Nets (6-1) It’s always interesting to watch how teams respond to a coaching change. Since Avery Johnson was fired, the Nets offense has been much better. Brooklyn is playing at a slightly quicker pace, but they are being far more efficient on the offensive end. Is it the coaching change or just a blip in the data? Time will tell, but for now you can expect the oddsmakers to adjust Nets totals upward in the near future.
--Sacramento Kings (6-1) The Kings were one of the best over teams in the NBA last year thanks to their quick pace and poor defense. They had slowed down a bit earlier this year, but they seem to be back to running at every opportunity. Sacramento is also dead last in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Opponents shoot the ball well from the floor against the Kings, and Sacramento really struggles to get defensive rebounds as well.
--Orlando Magic (5-1) Orlando is on this side of the list for the second straight time. In fact, the Magic had 11 straight games go over the posted total until Wednesday night’s game stayed just under the total against the Pacers. It isn’t really the Orlando offense that has made this possible, rather it has been their lack of defense. Orlando has allowed at least 105 points in eight of their last 10 games.
--Los Angeles Clippers (4-2) The Clippers have the second best record in the NBA. Jamal Crawford has made a far bigger impact on this team than anyone could have imagined. When Crawford scores 30 points or more, the Clippers are 11-1 this year. Crawford has taken a lot of pressure off Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Paul has missed the team’s last two games with a bruised kneecap, but he should be back in the lineup soon.
--Denver Nuggets (5-3) Denver isn’t the amazing over team they were a couple years ago, because they actually play some defense now. Still, the Nuggets like to push the tempo about as much as anyone in the NBA. Danilo Gallinari is starting to heat up from three-point range, and that is dangerous for the Nuggets opponents. Denver will play eight of their next nine games at home, where they have been an offensive machine. Don’t be surprised if this team is on this side of the report again next time around.
Top Five Under Teams (under listed first then over)
--Indiana Pacers (7-1) The Pacers sit atop the Central Division, and it is solely because of their strong defense. Indiana still hasn’t gotten into a good rhythm offensively this year, but the Pacers have been tremendous on the defensive end. Opponents are shooting just 41.3 percent from the floor against the Pacers. Indiana is allowing only 89.1 points per game. The Pacers are one of the top rebounding teams in the league. The under is 25-14-1 in their 40 games this year.
--Phoenix Suns (6-1) Phoenix has finally started playing a little bit of defense, and that has caused them to hit a nice streak to the under of late. Alvin Gentry has been asking his team to become more committed on defense for weeks, and it seems they have finally listened. Phoenix is still far from a defensive stalwart, but the oddsmakers have been putting out very high numbers on Suns games.
--Boston Celtics (6-1) Boston’s defense has slipped from what it was a few years ago, but they are improving as the season moves along this year. The Celtics defense was mediocre in the first month of the season, but they have been coming up with big stops over the last few weeks. Remember, this team still has a couple stars on the defensive end in Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.
--San Antonio Spurs (6-1) Here is a case of the oddsmakers likely getting a little ahead of themselves. The Spurs are still a high-scoring team, but the numbers being placed on their games recently have just been too high. The only game that went over for the Spurs in the past two weeks was their overtime loss at Memphis. Without that overtime period, the Spurs would have been 7-0 to the under.
--Oklahoma City Thunder (6-2) It isn’t that Oklahoma City can’t score anymore. In fact, the Thunder are first in the NBA in points per game at 105.4 per contest. The reason Oklahoma City is having a lot of games that stay under the total is that the Thunder have really upped the intensity on the defensive end. Not many people think of this team as an elite defensive team, but they really should. Oklahoma City is only allowing opponents to shoot 42.7 percent from the floor, which is second best in the NBA.
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