NBA Totals Betting: Handicapping Trends Report
by Aaron Smith - 3/6/2013
The stakes are getting higher and higher for many teams in the NBA. With less than 25 games left in the regular season for most teams, the push for the playoffs is beginning in earnest. At Doc’s Sports, we like to take a closer look inside the data to help find valuable betting trends. The bi-weekly NBA Hot and Cold Report helps keep bettors up to speed on hot and cold teams as far as covering the number. Totals are another popular way to bet on the NBA, so we are now tracking which teams are trending “over” and which teams are trending “under” versus the posted total.
One thing you’ll notice in this report is that the over has been pretty dominant of late in the NBA as a whole. In fact, the over is 102-86 in all games in the league in the past 30 days. Please note that all statistics used in this article are for games played from Feb. 15 through March 5.
Top Five Over Teams (Over listed first then under)
--New Orleans Hornets (7-1) The Hornets started the year out playing a lot of low-scoring games, but that has changed in a big way of late. New Orleans isn’t pushing the tempo of the game, but they are shooting a much higher percentage from the floor. The Hornets are shooting 37.1 percent from three-point range as a team, which is sixth-best in the NBA. Eric Gordon is healthy again, and that gives the team another offensive weapon.
--Sacramento Kings (6-1-1) The Kings have been an over machine all year, and that trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. The over is 37-23-2 in their 62 games so far this year. The emergence of Isaiah Thomas as a scorer and distributor in the backcourt has made this offense much better. Defensively, the Kings are absolutely terrible. They give up 105.1 points per game, which is more than any other team in the league.
--Portland Blazers (5-1) The Blazers offense has been on fire (no pun intended) over the past few weeks. Portland has scored 98 points or more in 11 of their last 13 games. For the season, their average points per game sits at 97.6. Portland has topped 100 in seven of their last 10 games. The Blazers have four guys averaging at least 13 points per game. Damian Lillard continues to excel in his rookie season. J.J. Hickson is quietly putting together a terrific season in the frontcourt as well.
--Orlando Magic (6-2) Orlando is sporting a roster full of guys who are less than household names. Jameer Nelson continues to be dinged up, and Glen Davis is out for the year. J.J. Redick is gone, and Arron Afflalo is now the team’s leading scorer. Afflalo is a solid player, but when he is your go to guy on the offensive end you know your team doesn’t have very much star power. Still, the Magic continue to push the tempo and play some terrible defense. When will the oddsmakers catch up?
--Los Angeles Lakers (5-2) The Lakers offense has been quite a bit better of late, but their defense is still struggling. Los Angeles won’t be a real contender until they can get some stops against elite teams. Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant are both less than 100 percent right now, but they should continue to be in the lineup. The schedule gets easier for the Lakers in the next week, so they’ll need to make a run.
Top Five Under Teams (Under listed first then over)
--Washington Wizards (5-1-1) This is the third straight time the Wizards have been on this side of the report. The oddsmakers continue to line Washington’s games relatively high, and the Wizards continue to play games that finish under the total. The under is 19-7-1 in the Wizards last 27 games. Washington continues to surprise on the defensive end. The Wizards are fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage defense.
--Atlanta Hawks (5-2-1) Atlanta went through a really tough stretch when the trade deadline rumors hurt the team a lot, but the Hawks are back to playing decent basketball of late. Atlanta appears to be focusing on the defensive end more in the last few games. Look for oddsmakers to adjust Atlanta’s numbers down pretty quickly. I don’t think there will be value on the under much longer in Atlanta’s games.
--Charlotte Bobcats (5-3) Is there any doubt that this is the worst team in the NBA right now? Charlotte has lost each of their last six games by at least 17 points! The Bobcats games are staying under the total frequently of late because the team is struggling to get out of the 80s on the offensive end. The schedule is tough for the Bobcats in the next couple weeks, so more blowouts are to be expected.
--Toronto Raptors (5-3) The Raptors are certainly a better team now that they have added Rudy Gay. Since adding Gay to the lineup, Toronto’s defense has gotten much better. Having an athletic wing who can contest a lot of jump shots is making a big difference for the Raptors. The oddmakers have started to account for this improved defense, and I think the value might be gone in this case.
--Brooklyn Nets (4-3) Brooklyn has consistently been at the bottom of the league in terms of pace, and that has led to quite a few unders this year. The under is 33-26-1 in the Nets 60 games so far this season. Four of the Nets next five games are against teams that are out of the playoff picture. Look for Brooklyn to make a run at the Knicks for the top spot in the Atlantic Division standings.
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