NBA Handicapping: Weekly Look at Key Betting Statistics
by Dave Schwab - 2/29/2012
The first half of the NBA regular season is in the books so there is now a wealth of information readily available for all 30 teams for all you stat junkies out there. When it comes to NBA betting, sometimes it is best to stick with the simple measures that often times provide the most important insight in helping you successfully predict 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. Often times these trends will continue to carry themselves 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
The recent labor dispute between the leagues’ players and owners shortened this regular season’s NBA schedule to just 66 games, so the first half numbers are based accordingly. That being said, 55 percent of all the games played through this past Tuesday night have stayed under the total. Overall scoring in the league remains down this season, but the oddsmakers are still trying to adjust their total lines to better reflect this trend.
Games that have ended in regulation have stayed under 56.1 percent of the time and games that were extended to overtime have gone over 64.3 percent of the time.
Top NBA Teams on the Over Line
The Milwaukee Bucks are the top team in this category with 20 of their 34 total games played going over the total. The total has gone over in 12 of 16 games at home but has stayed under in 10 of the Bucks 18 games on the road.
Milwaukee is averaging 95.3 points a game, which is the 12th-highest total in the league. It is allowing an average of 97.4 points a game on defense, which is ranked 23rd overall. The Bucks are not known as a scoring machine, but have still demonstrated the ability to put points on the board. Its biggest asset for giving-up a good number of points each night is a defense that is ranked 21st in rebounds and an offense that has a turnover ratio of 23.1.
The next team on this list is the Detroit Pistons, with 20 of their 36 games going over the total. The total has gone over in 12 of their 19 games at home and it has gone 8-9 on the road.
The Pistons are one of the lowest scoring teams in the league with an average of just 88.7 points a game and they are ranked 19th in points allowed; giving up an average of 95.9 points a game. This combination often results in the total line being set a bit lower to reflect Detroit’s inability to score. However, since its defense is prone to major breakdowns, it often allows opponents to run up the score.
Top NBA Teams on the Under Line
The New York Knicks head up this list with 25 of their 35 games played staying under the total. The total has stayed under in 12 of 19 games at home and in 13 of 16 games on the road.
New York is averaging 95.2 points a game and giving up an average of 94.1 points. While all the hype in New York over the past few weeks has been around the emergence of Jeremy Lin as a budding superstar in the league, it has done little to change the results on the total line with 10 of the Knicks last 13 games still staying under.
The next team on this list with 23 of their 35 games staying under the total is the Houston Rockets. The total has stayed under in 13 of 19 games at home and has stayed under in 10 of 16 games on the road.
This kind of consistency both home and away reflects the stable play of this team. The Rockets are ranked ninth in the league in scoring with an average of 97.3 points a game and they allow an average of 95.6 points a game. They have scored more than 100 points just 10 times this year and have given up more than 99 points in 14 games.
The Bottom Line
Consistently making the right call on the total line based solely on particular team’s current record is a risky proposition to say the least. The overall league trends currently favor the under so the best handicapping tip would be to concentrate on uncovering matchups that may have a higher-than-expected total line and then take into consideration each individual team’s performance.
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