NBA Handicapping: Weekly Look at Key Betting Statistics
by Dave Schwab - 3/7/2012
Given that the NBA regular season is already half over, we have a wealth of information and statistics on all 30 teams that we can easily access when it comes to handicapping matchups. The problem with trying to process too much information is that it becomes extremely easy to bog yourself down by trying to factor in every possible measure known to mankind. Sometimes it is the simple things in this game that can provide the most important insight to correctly predicting the actual outcome of a game.
This week we will take a look at which NBA teams have continued to light things up on the scoreboard in relation to their overall record against the spread. Oftentimes these trends can carry through the entire season, which in-turn help to provide a consistent return on investment from your wagering activities.
NBA 2011-12 Regular Season Overview
The beginning of March marked the start of the second half of the NBA’s abbreviated 66-game schedule. Through Tuesday night’s games, the favorite has won 68.5 percent of the time straight up and 50.34 percent of the time against the spread. The home team has won 59.3 percent of the time SU and 50.5 percent of the time ATS.
It stands to reason that the home favorite has the highest winning percentage ATS at 50.62 percent, but that just goes to show you how good the oddsmakers are at setting lines.
The total has stayed ‘under’ in 54.4 percent of all games, but this number has moved closer to 50 percent with each passing week as the oddsmakers continue to do a good job at making adjustments to this line as well.
Individual Team Results
The Denver Nuggets do not have any really big-name scorers on their roster, but collectively they lead the NBA in points-per-game with 104.1. Balance and an offensive-minded philosophy have been the key with this team as seven different players are scoring in double-figures. Another key to their success is a 46.7 percent shooting percentage from the floor, which is third-best in the NBA. Denver is 22-17 SU on the year and 8.5 games in back of Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division, but it has the third-best record in the league ATS at 23-16.
The next highest scoring team in the NBA is the Miami Heat with an average of 103.2 points a game. Unlike Denver, there is some serious star-power behind this number with LeBron James averaging 27.6 points a game and Dwyane Wade chipping in another 22.5 points. What makes this team so dangerous is its league-leading 48.7 percent shooting from the field and 40.5 percent shooting from three-point range. This efficiency has helped lead Miami to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference at 29-9 SU and a five-game lead over Orlando in the Southeast Division. After a slow start, the Heat are catching up with their often-inflated spreads with a 20-18 record ATS.
The team with the best record in the Western Conference at 30-8 SU is also one of the most prolific when it comes to putting points on the board. The Oklahoma City Thunder are averaging 101.9 points a game behind a pair of scoring machines; Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. These two have combined for an average of 51.8 points through the Thunders’ first 38 games and show no signs of slowing down. Durant is shooting 50.4 percent from the floor and 37 percent from three-point range. Throw in James Harden’s 16.5 points a game while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor and it is easy to see why Oklahoma City is ranked second in the NBA in shooting the ball. This has also translated to success ATS with an overall record of 21-17.
The fourth-highest scoring team in the NBA is the San Antonio Spurs with 98.9 points a game and the fifth is the Portland Trail Blazers with 98.2 points a game. The Spurs are 21-15-1 ATS and the Trail Blazers are 19-18-1 ATS.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of factors that go into a team’s success, but the combined record of the top five scoring teams in the NBA is 125-65, which translates to a 65.8 winning percentage. More importantly, their record ATS is 104-84-2, which translates to a 54.7 winning percentage. Not great, but not bad either.
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