NBA Handicapping: Taking a Closer Look at Playoff Totals Betting
by George Monroy - 5/8/2013
Wagering on NBA point spreads can be tricky and at times frustrating. Those late-game comebacks or last-second shots to ruin a spread can be enough to drive a gambler mad. During the first round of the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets gave up a 14-point lead with under four minutes left in the game and ended up losing and not covering the spread after a triple-overtime affair. Any bettor who wagered on the Nets plus the points must have felt like they had been punched in the gut.
And that’s not even mentioning the San Antonio Spurs massive late-game comeback from the other night that probably left bettors who had wagered on the Golden State Warriors’ moneyline sobbing themselves to sleep that night. The point of these horror stories is that sometimes taking a break from the spread, and wagering on totals, can be a welcomed change of pace. As a fan you can simply enjoy the game and not care who wins or loses just as long as both teams score or don’t score points.
Let’s take a look at the “over” and “under” totals for each team still in the playoffs.
(Note: all records and lines are based on Sportsbook.ag odds)
5) Golden State Warriors: 4-3, 57.1 percent—the Warriors have no qualms about shooting the basketball. The team has been averaging 110 points in the postseason and has consistently seen totals in the 205 range. On average, Golden State has gone over its totals by 7.1 points per game.
4) San Antonio Spurs: 3-2, 60 percent—the Spurs have been lighting up the scoreboard this postseason with an average of 109 points per game. Sure, they were able to pad their stats in the first round against a Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers team. However, San Antonio has gone over its totals by an average of 11 points per game.
3) Chicago Bulls: 5-3. 62.5 percent—the Bulls have averaged nearly 97 points per game and have managed to not only score but actually win games as well — which has been an impressive feat since many of their key players have battled injuries. Chicago’s totals during the first round were in the high 170s to low 180s but have seen a substantial increase against the Heat, where both of their first two totals have been in the 187 range.
2) Indiana Pacers: 5-2, 71.4 percent—the Pacers have averaged only 93 points per game during the postseason, but their totals during the first round were so low — in the 170s — that the team was able to go over on many occasions. Indiana has been receiving totals in the mid 180s against the Knicks
1) Memphis Grizzlies: 6-2, 75 percent—the Grizzlies have been averaging nearly 99 points per game and have been one of the most impressive teams in the postseason thus far. On average, Memphis goes over its totals by 11.9 points per game and has been receiving totals in the high 180s.
3) New York Knicks: 5-2-1, 71.4 percent—the Knicks have been staying under their totals by an average of 8.4 points per game. The team nearly averaged 100 points per game during the regular season, but the half-court pace set during the playoffs has slowed their offense quite a bit. Through eight playoff games, the Knicks are averaging only 90.8 points per game. The team has seen totals in the mid 180s all playoffs.
2) Oklahoma City Thunder: 6-2, 75 percent— the Thunder have averaged 102 points in the playoffs and 105 in the regular season — the only problem is their totals were ridiculously high during the first round. The totals for the first two games of the second round against the Grizzlies have come down quite a bit and have been in the 187 range.
1) Miami Heat: 3-0-2, 100 percent—for all of Miami’s flashy offensive play from LeBron James and company, they do not score many points — particularly in the playoffs. The Heat have averaged a solid 97 points per game during the postseason so far, but the team’s defense has been so dominant that they are, on average, staying 10.8 points underneath the set total.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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