The Golden State Warriors let the San Antonio Spurs back in the race for the top spot in the Western Conference, but the Spurs have dropped two of their last three games to fall behind by two games once again. In the Eastern Conference, the first seed (Cleveland) and the fourth seed (Toronto) are only 5.5 games apart. Also, only 1.5 games separate the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings (Pacers) from the No. 9 spot (Heat). There's plenty left to be decided.
In the past month, the 'under' is 108-80 in the NBA as a whole. That's 57.45 percent of games staying under for the month. In the past week things have leveled off though, as the 'over' has gone 27-25 in the past seven days.
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Doc's Sports has done an NBA Totals Trends report in the past, and we'll be doing it again this season. This will be a bi-weekly article here on the site. We'll highlight the Top Five 'Over' and the Top Five 'Under' teams of the past couple weeks in each article. Because the NBA season is a very long, there can be some impressive streaks inside the season, and catching one of these can help build your bankroll. The statistics for this article are for games from March 1 through March 19.
Top Five 'Over' Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Washington Wizards (9-2) In the past 10 games, Washington ranks sixth in the NBA in offensive efficiency. They also rank 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency during that time. No wonder they have had so many overs. Washington is pushing the tempo more also as they rank seventh in the league in pace in their last 10 contests. This is a dangerous team that I don't think anyone really wants to play in the playoffs.
2. Portland Trail Blazers (7-3) Portland is fourth in the NBA in offensive efficiency in their last 10 games. The Blazers are ahead of Cleveland, Golden State, and San Antonio in that category in the last 10 games. Portland is trying hard to catch the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final spot in the playoffs in the Western Conference. They host Denver in a key game next week. Portland is home for six of their next seven games.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (6-3) Which team ranks dead last in defensive efficiency in the last nine games? Indeed, it is the Los Angeles Lakers. Los Angeles is doing the right thing by playing more of their youngsters at the end of this season, but a lot of those guys aren't playing any defense right now. The Lakers totals will continue to climb, but it would be hard for me to get excited about taking an under with the Lakers.
4. Memphis Grizzlies (6-3) For the year as a whole, Memphis ranks in the top five in the NBA in defensive efficiency. In their last nine games, though, Memphis ranks as the fourth worst defense in the league. The Grizzlies are very capable of being good on defense, but their inconsistency on this end of the floor is worrisome. We'll see if they can right the ship before the playoffs get underway.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (5-3-1) The Thunder have won five straight games going into their contest Monday night against the Golden State Warriors. Oklahoma City is a whopping 24-10-1 ATS in their 35 home games this year. The over is 20-15 in their games at home. The Thunder sit at sixth in the Western Conference standings. They definitely want to try to move up to be part of the four vs. five matchup instead of having to take on the Rockets in the first round.
Top Five 'Under' Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Golden State Warriors (8-1) The Warriors have been an under machine of late. Why? There are several good reasons. First, the Warriors are only 17th in the NBA in offensive efficiency in their last nine games. Golden State just isn't shooting the ball very well. Second, this team continues to play good defense. The Warriors are second in the NBA in defensive efficiency during this nine-game period. Finally, Golden State has slowed their tempo a bit. Golden State ranks second in the NBA in pace for the year but only 10th in the NBA in pace in the last nine games.
2. Milwaukee Bucks (9-2) Speaking of pace, the Milwaukee Bucks have played slower than any other team in the NBA in their last 11 games. Milwaukee has won 8 of their last 11 games, so this new strategy of stalling and winning with improved defense is working well for the Bucks. They have moved up to the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Milwaukee plays four of their next six games on the road.
3. Chicago Bulls (8-2) The Bulls have been money in the bank for under bettors on the season. The under is a whopping 43-26 in their 69 games on the season thus far. Chicago will be without Dwyane Wade for the rest of the year. Cameron Payne is dealing with a foot injury as well, and he is questionable for Chicago's next game. The Bulls just don't have that much firepower on offense right now.
4. Indiana Pacers (7-2) The Pacers have completely changed the way they play. Indiana now ranks 28th in the NBA in tempo in their last nine games. Early in the season, this was a team that was consistently in the Top 10 in the NBA in tempo. The slower tempo has helped their defense as well. Indiana is fourth in the league in defensive efficiency in their past nine games. For the year as a whole, the Pacers are 17th in that same category.
5. Boston Celtics (7-2-1) The biggest reason Boston has swung toward the under of late has been their improvement on defense. Boston was a big disappointment on defense most of the year. The Celtics ranked in the bottom half of the league in defensive efficiency until this recent run of solid defense. In their past 10 games, Boston ranks as the third-best defense in the NBA. It didn't make much sense for Boston to rank as poorly as they did on defense earlier in the year, and if Boston keeps playing good defense they'll be a very tough out in the playoffs.
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