NBA Totals Betting: Handicapping Trends Report
by Aaron Smith - 1/31/2013
We haven’t hit the all-star break quite yet, but the NBA is now past the midway point of the season in terms of games played. At Doc’s Sports, we like to take a closer look inside the data to help find valuable betting trends. The bi-weekly NBA Hot and Cold Report helps keep bettors up to speed on 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. 17 through Jan. 30.
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Top Five Over Teams (Over listed first then under)
--Dallas Mavericks (5-0) Some thought the Mavericks would slow the tempo down some once Dirk Nowitzki got back in the lineup, but that hasn’t been the case. Instead, it has been Nowitzki sharing the stage with O.J. Mayo as the Mavericks offense shines. While he has gotten the same amount of attention, Darren Collison’s terrific season at point guard has helped Dallas stay afloat as well. This team has the talent to make a push toward the playoffs.
--Milwaukee Bucks (6-1) Scott Skiles is no longer the head coach, and the Bucks are now under Coach Jim Boylan. Boylan is more of an up-tempo type of guy, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that the Bucks have played to six straight games going over the posted total. With a backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, it makes a lot of sense to try to outscore the opponent. Milwaukee should be one of the highest-scoring teams in the league the rest of the year.
--Denver Nuggets (5-1) The Denver Nuggets are playing better defense than they have in recent years, but they can still push the tempo with the best of them. Corey Brewer has burst onto the scene as a major force for Denver in their fast-break system this year. The Nuggets are able to run and put up a ton of points mainly because they have so much depth. Nine players on this roster average at least eight points per game.
--Golden State Warriors (6-2) Golden State has scored more than 100 points in six of their last seven games. The Warriors shoot 39.4 percent from beyond the arc, which is the best of any team in the NBA. When Stephen Curry sat out last game against the Cavaliers, it was Klay Thompson who picked up the slack. Thompson scored a season-high 32 points in that game. Golden State has also gotten much better on the offensive glass, and this team is now getting far more second-chance opportunities than they did last year.
--New Orleans Hornets (5-2) New Orleans started the season in a terrible offensive slump, but lately the Hornets have been shooting the ball well. Anthony Davis being healthy and occupying a lot of defenders definitely helps guys like Ryan Anderson and Greivis Vasquez get more open shots. Eric Gordon is getting healthy now too, and he makes this offense far more dangerous. This team has plenty of room for improvement, but they are quickly heading in the right direction.
Top Five Under Teams (Under listed first then over)
--Washington Wizards (6-2) The oddsmakers appear to have adjusted the Wizards lines a little too quickly in the past couple weeks. There is no doubt that the Wizards play faster with John Wall in the lineup, but the oddsmakers have been setting the Wizards totals so high that they can’t reach them because of their poor shooting numbers. Remember, the Wizards are shooting only 42.2 percent from the floor, which is the worst mark in the entire NBA.
--Brooklyn Nets (5-2) After P.J. Carlesimo first took over the Nets, the team’s offense exploded for the first few games. Oddsmakers adjusted the Nets totals higher, but, once again, the movement was overdone. Some thought the Nets might be running more under Carlesimo, but they still rank dead last in the NBA in terms of pace. If the oddsmakers keep posting higher numbers on Nets’ games, consider looking at the under as a nice value.
--Sacramento Kings (5-2-1) For the year, the over is 27-19-1 in the Kings 47 games overall, but lately the Kings are on a bit of an under run. Sacramento isn’t running nearly as much as they did last season, so whenever they decide to play a little defense their games have a decent chance to go under. Unfortunately for bettors, it’s very hard to determine when this team is going to commit itself in any serious way on the defensive end.
--Chicago Bulls (5-3) The Bulls have played 45 games this year, and 27 of them have stayed under the posted total. Chicago has been playing without Derrick Rose all year, and they played without Luol Deng for several games recently. In some ways, their experience without their leading scorers has helped make their defense even better. The Bulls have had to rely on great defense to win games all year. When their scorers come back healthy, if the Bulls keep playing tremendous defense they’ll be a tough out in the playoffs.
--Los Angeles Clippers (5-3) The under is 6-3 in the Clippers nine games without Chris Paul in the starting lineup. I don’t think this is a case where the Clippers defense is any better without Paul, rather it is just the offense isn’t as good. The Clippers had a four-game losing streak last week, but they have recovered with wins over Portland and Minnesota. Regardless, it’s clear that the Clippers need Paul in the lineup to be at their best.
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