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NBA Totals Betting: Handicapping Trends Report
by - 2/15/2013

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Washington Wizards power forward Kevin Seraphin

The all-star break is here. Many players will use these few days as a chance to refuel their bodies after a tiring first half of the season. Bettors can use this time to look inside the numbers and get an edge on the books for the start of the second half. 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. 31 through Feb. 14.

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Top Five Over Teams (Over listed first then under)

-Denver Nuggets (6-1) The Denver Nuggets have been an over machine of late. The over is 9-1 in their last 10 games. The one game that went under the posted total only stayed under by a single point. The Nuggets offense is on an amazing roll of late. How good have they been? Denver has scored 102 points or more in 13 straight contests. They have scored 108 points or more in nine of their last 10 games. Can the Nuggets keep this offensive explosion going into the start of the second half?

-Memphis Grizzlies (6-1) Everyone wondered how the Rudy Gay trade was going to change the way the Grizzlies played. So far it seems like the Grizzlies are playing a little faster since Gay went to Toronto. Tayshaun Prince was expected to make the defense even better, but he isn’t the same player he was a few years ago. The jury is still out on exactly what the new-look Grizzlies will do as far as style of play, but for now the oddsmakers are setting their totals too low.

-Miami Heat (6-2) It’s really no secret why Miami’s games are sailing over the posted total of late. LeBron James can’t miss a shot of late, and that has resulted in some impressive offensive numbers for the team. James has been on a remarkable run that few players could ever dream of. He is shooting 56 percent for the floor for the season, and if he keeps up that torrid pace it’s hard to imagine anyone stopping the Heat this season.

-Portland Blazers (6-2) Portland was one of the bigger surprises in the league early this year, but the Blazers have cooled off drastically of late. The Blazers lost five straight heading into the break. Their defense is largely to blame for their recent collapse. Opponents are shooting 46.7 percent from the floor against Portland this season. Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are putting up the points, but the defense has to get some stops for this team to stay in the playoff race.

-Oklahoma City Thunder (6-2) Oklahoma City is second in the NBA in scoring at 106 points per contest. The Thunder did drop their last two games before the break. They gave up 109 points to Utah and 110 to Miami in those losses. If Oklahoma City is going to take that next step, their defense has to be elite. We know this team can score with guys like Durant, Westbrook, Martin, and Ibaka. Will the defense be good enough?

Top Five Under Teams (Under listed first then over)

-New York Knicks (6-1) It was just a matter of time until the Knicks ended up on a big under run. New York is one of the slowest-paced teams in the league in terms of tempo, but their unusually high shooting percentages early in the year made their games high-scoring. As their shooting numbers have come down to earth, the Knicks have been a great under team over the last few weeks.

-Charlotte Bobcats (6-1) There really isn’t any doubt that Charlotte is the worst team in the league at this point. The team’s recent under stretch is largely due to the fact that they are shooting the ball terribly. Charlotte is shooting 42.1 percent from the floor as a team, which is comfortably the worst of any team in the NBA. It’s never a good sign when the single highest shooting percentage of an individual on your team is 43.1 percent (Gerald Henderson).

-Philadelphia 76ers (5-1) Philadelphia has been bitten by the injury bug far too often this year. Andrew Bynum’s absence all year has hurt the team a lot. Jason Richardson was averaging 10.5 points per game, but he is out for the year with a knee injury. Thaddeus Young, who has been one of the team’s most consistent performers, will miss a couple more weeks with an injured hamstring.

-Detroit Pistons (6-2) The Pistons aren’t a good team yet, but they are working much harder on the defensive end this year. Detroit is 10th in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. Opponents are shooting just 44.3 percent from the floor. Andre Drummond’s shot blocking ability will be missed. Drummond will be out until mid-March with a back injury. Greg Monroe has quietly racked up eight straight double-doubles leading into the break.

-Washington Wizards (5-2) This is the Wizards second straight appearance on this side of the report. Washington is definitely pushing it in transition more with John Wall healthy, but the Wizards defense is infinitely better than it was last year. In fact, Washington is fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. Opponents shoot just 43.6 percent against the Wizards. At the same time, the Wizards are second-to-last in the NBA in field goal percentage offense at 42.8 percent. The pace might be quicker in Washington’s games, but that doesn’t necessarily equal a high-scoring game.

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