NBA Handicapping: Weekly Look at Key Betting Statistics
by Dave Schwab - 2/15/2012
As the abbreviated 66-game NBA regular season approaches the halfway point, we now have a wealth of information and statistics on all 30 teams. One of the problems to having easy access to all this information is that it can actually bog you down if you try and study every possible statistical measure known to mankind. Many times you will find that it is the simple things in the game of basketball that can provide the best insight into predicting the correct outcome of a particular matchup.
This week we will take a look at which NBA teams have shown the ability to dominate the boards with rebounds. Oftentimes these positive trends continue to carry through an entire season and can be instrumental in providing a positive long-term return on investment from your wagering activities.
NBA 2011-12 Regular Season Overview
With the majority of the teams in the NBA playing or approaching the 30-game mark, the home team has won straight-up 57.9 percent of the time. Against the spread, the home team’s winning percentage drops to 50 percent as the oddsmakers have already achieved a perfect balance with their NBA odds. The overall favorite has covered 50.44 percent of the time with a road favorite covering in 50.7 percent of the games and the home favorite covering in 50.3 percent of them.
The total line still favors the ‘under’ with 55 percent of all games staying under the total. The total has stayed under in 56 percent of the games ending in regulation and it has gone ‘over’ in 62.5 percent of overtime games.
Individual Team Results - Rebound Margin
One of the best statistical measures to determine a team’s ability to control both ends of the court is its ability to rebound the ball. Very simply, offensive rebounds generate second and sometimes third chances to score, while defensive rebounds prevent the opponent from having the same opportunities.
The team that currently has the best rebound margin in the NBA is the Chicago Bulls, who also happen to have the best SU record in the league at 24-7. The Bulls are ranked second in the league in total rebounds with 44.9 a game and are holding their opponents to an average of 39.9 for a margin of plus-five. They are pulling down 13 offensive rebounds a game and 31.9 on defense. Chicago currently has the fifth-best record in the league ATS at 18-13.
The second-best rebound margin in the NBA at plus-3.6 belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. They are pulling down a league-best 45.3 rebounds a game while holding their opponents to 41.7. The Lakers are averaging 11.8 rebounds on offense, but the real edge has been on defense with 33.3 boards a game. Through 29 games, LA is 17-12 SU but just 13-16 ATS.
The Houston Rockets are 16-13 both SU and ATS on the year and in third-place in the Western Conference’s Southwest Division. They are also third in rebound margin at plus-3.1 with 43.9 rebounds a game verses 40.8 for their opponents. The Rockets are one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the NBA with 12.1 a game and are averaging 31.9 on defense.
Things tighten-up from here as decimals separate the next five teams, but the Miami Heat’s numbers stand out a bit from the rest. Their overall margin is plus-2.6 but they are getting outrebounded on the offensive boards 9.8 to 11.5, while controlling the defensive end 32.9 to 28.6. The Heat are second in the Eastern Conference at 23-7 SU but an even 15-15 ATS.
The Bottom Line
You can draw the conclusion that controlling the boards definitely contributes to winning games as the teams mentioned above are a combined 80-39 SU, but its impact is inconclusive ATS based on these teams combined record of 62-57. Keep in mind that one of the biggest factors skewing the ATS numbers is the betting public’s perception of the Lakers and the Heat, but that is whole other discussion on its own.
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