NBA Totals Betting: Handicapping Trends Report
by Aaron Smith - 4/4/2013
With just a couple weeks left in the regular season, many of the Western Conference Playoff standings are up for grabs. There are some battles for positioning in the Eastern Conference as well, but the first and eighth spots are completely locked up. 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.
Totals are rising across the NBA as oddsmakers account for teams who are packing it in for the season and playing virtually no defense. Please note that all statistics used in this article are for games played from March 20 through April 3.
Top Five Over Teams (Over listed first then under)
--Brooklyn Nets (6-1) The Brooklyn Nets were a great under bet for much of the season, but the team hasn’t played much defense of late. Brooklyn started the year as one of the best defensive teams in the league, but opponents are now shooting 46.4 percent from the floor against the Nets. On the other end, the Nets offense has exploded of late. Brooklyn has scored 107 points or more in six of their last 10 games.
--Utah Jazz (7-2) Utah was left for dead in the NBA playoff race by many as recently as a week or two ago, but the Jazz are just half a game behind the Lakers for the eighth spot in the West. The Jazz have topped triple-digits in six of their last seven games. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap have been doing a nice job dominating on the interior for Utah in the past couple weeks.
--Toronto Raptors (6-2) The Toronto Raptors are one of those teams with nothing to play for at the end of the NBA season. Toronto has picked up the pace and stopped playing defense of late. Oddsmakers are adjusting, but they aren’t adjusting quickly enough to the big change in style of play from this squad. Look for Toronto’s totals to be lined much higher in their last seven games of the season.
--Los Angeles Clippers (6-2) The Clippers have been slowly losing ground in the Western Conference, but it hasn’t been because of their offense. Los Angeles has topped 100 points in eight of their last nine games. Unfortunately for the team, they have lost five of those nine games because their defense has gone downhill. The Clippers need to get some positive momentum going before the playoffs get underway.
--Phoenix Suns (5-2) Lindsay Hunter has brought an up-tempo style to Phoenix. Hunter is coaching his team to get out and run at every opportunity. It took a little while for the team to get accustomed to the new style, but their games have been much higher scoring in the past couple weeks. Defense is still a major problem here, as evidenced by the fact that they have allowed 112 points or more five times in their last nine games.
Top Five Under Teams (Under listed first then over)
--Oklahoma City Thunder (5-1) Everyone knows Oklahoma City can score, but not everyone understands how good this team’s defense is this season. Oklahoma City is second in the NBA in field goal percentage defense. Serge Ibaka is one of the most versatile defenders in the league, and his shot blocking has been huge for the Thunder. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are getting much better on the defensive end as well.
--Denver Nuggets (5-1) The Nuggets have been a good over team this year, but the oddsmakers seem to have elevated this team’s posted totals a little too much. While the Nuggets still aren’t excellent on the defensive end, they do rank in the top half of the NBA in field goal percentage defense. Kenneth Faried’s presence in the lane has made this team much better defensively.
--Philadelphia 76ers (6-2) The 76ers have been a big disappointment this year. Doug Collins’ team appeared to be on the right path last season, but the team just never got going this season. The team has missed Andre Iguodala, and Andrew Bynum’s season being lost to injury was too much for them to overcome. Philadelphia is last in the league in points scored per game. This team has packed it in for the year too, but they have been very tough to get a read on of late. The 76ers might be a good team to avoid altogether in the last few games.
--San Antonio Spurs (6-2) The Spurs still push the tempo quite a bit this season, but the under is actually 41-32 in their 73 games so far this year. San Antonio’s defense is quite a bit better than it was last season. Opponents are shooting only 44.2 percent from the floor against the Spurs. San Antonio has quite a few injury problems right now, so their offense isn’t quite as dangerous as normal.
--Houston Rockets (6-2) Houston was absolutely blazing up and down the court earlier this year, but as the games have gotten more important the Rockets have slowed things down a bit. This team still looks to run as much as anyone in the NBA, but the oddsmakers are setting numbers that are just too high right now. The Rockets would like to battle their way up to the sixth seed in the West to avoid a first-round matchup with the Thunder or the Spurs.
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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