NBA Handicapping: Best Over and Under Teams
by Trevor Whenham - 3/27/2014
As we get down to the stretch run of the NBA regular season and look towards the playoffs, it's time to look at the best teams at going "over" the total in the last two weeks in the NBA and the best at staying "under" (games from March 13 to 27 are included) to help you with your NBA handicapping:
New Orleans Pelicans (6-1 over/under): Betting the under had actually been a breakeven proposition for the season before this recent stretch, so we have seen something somewhat different from this team lately. They exceeded their season scoring average in each of the six games they went over the total, and they allowed more than their defensive average in five of those six. They have won five of six, and Anthony Davis has been superhuman, so while they aren't likely to keep going over at this pace, they could carry on performing well on this front down the stretch.
Houston Rockets (5-1 o/u): The Rockets had gone over the total five times is a row before falling way under the total last time out against Charlotte. Like New Orleans, they had gone under more than they have gone over on the season, so this is a somewhat unexpected trend. They are an elite offensive team with a defense that has been even worse lately than their typical, underwhelming performance, so there is no mystery to this recent trend.
Brooklyn Nets (5-2 o/u): The Nets have dropped two in a row in overtime, but before that had won 11 of 13 to turn what was looking like a lost season into a potentially interesting postseason appearance. It's easy to go over totals when games go into overtime, and it's pretty easy as well when a team is scoring well - they are averaging 108 points per game over their last eight, and they are playing with tremendous confidence with the ball.
Portland Trail Blazers (5-2 o/u): Only the Pistons and the Knicks have gone over more totals this year than the Blazers have, so it is not surprise to see this team here on this list. They have the second-best offense in the league and a defense that gives up 103.3 points per game, so they are a team designed to go over. They have lost eight of their last 11 and are a shadow of the team they were earlier in the season. They are playing so poorly, though, that they are hard to trust - even when it comes to allowing a lot of points and going over the total.
Los Angeles Clippers (0-6 o/u): The Clippers are one of the hotter teams in the league right now as they settle into postseason form. Their offense, which is tops in the league on the season, has been scoring slightly fewer points per game of late. Combined with that, they have really upped their defensive intensity as they look towards the games that really matter. Add it all up and you have a team that is finding it easy to stay under totals inflated by public expectations.
Indiana Pacers (1-7 o/u): Only the Warriors and Bulls have gone under more totals this year than the Pacers, so it's not a particular surprise to find them here on this list. They have the top defense in the league and an offense that has some issues, so they are designed to go under totals. The fact that they can keep doing it so consistently when their reputation for defensive play is well known and respected is particularly impressive. What has really helped in their last five games - at least in this regard - is that their offense has been particularly anemic. When a team is averaging less than 82 per game over the last five, they aren't in any danger of going over totals.
Philadelphia 76ers (1-6 o/u): Here's a newsflash - this is a really terrible team. They are playing particularly poorly lately - they haven't scored more than 94 points in their last seven games. Surprisingly, though, they have allowed fewer than their season average in six of their last seven games. The combination of the poor offense and the better-than-expected defense has made it easy for this team to go under totals. As a surprising aside, it has also allowed them to go 4-1 ATS in their last five.
Memphis Grizzlies (1-5 o/u): All year this has been a team with a pretty lousy offense that is saved by a very strong defense. Lately the offense has been slightly worse than expected, but in the last six games they have given up fewer points than their already-stingy average.
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