NBA Handicapping: Weekly Look at Key Betting Statistics
by Dave Schwab - 2/8/2012
The first full week of February is in the books, adding to the wealth of information and statistics we now have on all 30 NBA teams. The problem is that oftentimes you end-up with too much information, which, in turn, can actually bog you down if you try and study every possible statistical measure known to mankind. Most often it is the simple things in this game that can provide the most valuable information to correctly predicting the correct outcome of a particular matchup.
This week we will take a look at which NBA teams have shown the ability to effectively shoot the ball. Oftentimes these positive trends continue to hold up through an entire season and can be instrumental in providing a positive return on investment from your NBA betting activities.
NBA 2011-12 Regular Season Overview
Through the first 25 games or so of this year’s abbreviated 66-game regular season, the home team has won 60.7 percent of time straight-up and 51.3 percent of the time against the spread. The favorites have won 69.4 percent of the time SU and have covered the spread in 51.3 percent on the games. The home favorites have a slight edge overall, covering 51.8 percent of the time.
The total line still favors the ‘under,’ with 55.4 percent of all the games played staying under the total. The total has stayed under in 56.4 percent of the games that ended in regulation and has gone over in 61.9 percent of the games that went to overtime.
Individual Team Results - Shooting Percentages
Much has been made about the poor play in the league this season as the effects of the prolonged lockout appear to have had a negative impact on the overall quality of the game. One area that has been especially impacted is the ability of teams to effectively shoot the ball.
If the overall percentages are down, the Miami Heat continue to buck the trend with the best field goal percentage in the league. The Heat are shooting 48.4 percent from the floor and 39.1 from three-point range. They are also ranked second in the NBA in scoring with an average of 103.3 points a game. This has helped Miami post the third-best record SU at 19-6, but it has been a costly team to wager on with an 11-14 record ATS.
The next best shooting team in the league is the Denver Nuggets, who also happen to lead the NBA in scoring with 104 points a game. The Nuggets are shooting 47.8 percent from the field, but are connecting on just 32.9 percent of their attempts from three-point range. Denver is currently 15-10 SU overall, but 5-5 SU in its last 10 games, including losses in its last three. It is also 15-10 ATS, but just 1-5 ATS in its last six games.
Right behind the Nuggets are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are shooting 47.2 percent from the field. They are shooting 35.3 percent from beyond the arc and are ranked third in the NBA in scoring with an average of 101.2 points a game. Oklahoma City features two sharpshooters in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who are scoring a combined 49.6 points a game with Durant hitting 50.4 percent of his shots. The Thunder have the second-best record in the NBA at 20-5 SU and are 14-11 ATS. They are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games and 6-4 ATS.
The fourth-best shooting team in the league is the Chicago Bulls. They are shooting 46.6 percent from the floor and 38.3 percent from three-point range. The Bulls are ranked ninth in scoring with an average of 97.6 points a game, and they have the best record in the NBA at 21-6. They have also been a very profitable team to wager on with a 16-11 record ATS. Chicago is easily the most complete team through the first-third of the season as it ranks near the top of the league in a number of major statistical categories.
The Bottom Line
The correlation between a high shooting percentage and winning games is evident as the four teams on this list are a combined 75-27 SU. Miami is the only team with a negative record ATS, but that could be due to a high majority of the betting public driving up the spreads in its games. Overall, teams that can consistently shoot the ball well have shown a tendency to not only win games, but cover the spread in them as well.
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