The playoffs get underway in April. Most teams have about 16 or 17 games left in the regular season. While both Golden State and Cleveland have had the top spot in their conferences locked down the majority of the year, both Toronto and San Antonio are within striking distance for the No. 1 spot. If San Antonio does want to make a push for the top spot in the Western Conference, they will have to win this weekend when they host Golden State. March Madness will be on all weekend, but you won't want to miss that Warriors vs. Spurs game on Saturday night!
Doc's Sports has done an NBA Totals Trends report in the past, and we'll be doing it again this season. We'll highlight the Top Five 'over' teams and the Top Five 'under' teams in each article. Because of the streaky nature of the NBA, it can be profitable to look at these totals trends and try to jump on a winning streak before the oddsmakers adjust. This report will be offered on a bi-weekly basis throughout the NBA regular season. The statistics listed for this article are for games played between Feb. 26 and March 13.
Immediately after the All-Star Break there was a huge over run in the league, but things have gone back to normal with the over and under being almost exactly 50/50 since Feb. 26. For the year as a whole, the over is hitting 50.51 percent of the time.
Top Five Over Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Golden State Warriors (5-2) It shouldn't surprise anyone, but Golden State is putting up eye-popping offensive numbers in the past couple weeks. The Warriors have scored less than 115 points only twice in their last 10 games! Golden State is fifth in the NBA in field goal percentage defense, but the Warriors fast pace means that opponents are scoring plenty of points on them as well. Golden State is allowing 104.6 points per game on the year.
2. Philadelphia 76ers (6-3) The Philadelphia 76ers made some important moves a couple months ago. One was to hire Mike D'Antoni as the associate head coach. That was a sign that the team wanted to be more committed to pushing the tempo on a consistent basis. Philadelphia's offense is still the least efficient in the league by a wide margin, but the 76ers are playing noticeably quicker.
3. Charlotte Hornets (6-3) The Charlotte Hornets are playing good basketball right now. They've won seven games in a row! Charlotte is all the way up to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Hornets are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven games overall, and the over is 6-1 in those games as well. Marvin Williams was a great pickup, and his contributions have helped this team immensely.
4. Toronto Raptors (5-3) Toronto is quietly sitting at 44-20 on the year. The Raptors are fifth in the league in points allowed per game, and that improvement on defense is at the heart of their consistent strong performances this year. Lately though, it has been the offense that has been on fire. Toronto has scored at least 104 points in each of their last six games. The over is 21-7 in Toronto's last 28 games vs. the Central Division.
5. Phoenix Suns (5-3) If the Phoenix Suns front office was hoping for an immediate boost after getting a new coach and changing up the roster some, it hasn't worked. While other teams seem to be clearly in rebuilding mode, it is hard to figure what exactly is going on in Phoenix. Opponents are averaging 108 points against the Suns this year.
Top Five Under Teams (Under Listed First)
1. New York Knicks (8-1) I was curious what would happen with the Knicks with Kurt Rambis taking over, and so far it has turned them into a dream team for under bettors. The team has slowed down their pace of play even more, and they have been better on defense. New York plays at Golden State and at Washington later this week, so their defense will get two good tests in those games.
2. Atlanta Hawks (7-2) The Atlanta Hawks are in third place in the NBA Southeast Division, but they are only one half of a game behind the first-place Miami Heat. This is the division to watch as far as a battle to the finish. Atlanta is working hard on the defensive end lately, and that has kept them competitive. The Hawks offensive efficiency is way down from a year ago, but they rank second in the league in field goal percentage defense at 43.3 percent.
3. Los Angeles Lakers (6-2) The Lakers have flip-flopped between the over and under section of this report multiple times this year. This is an extremely tough team to get a read on as the season winds down. Will they care or will they pack it in? They know they are going to finish with one of the worst records in the league, but they seem to get up for some of the top teams in the league. The Lakers are a clear stay away team for me the rest of the year.
4. San Antonio Spurs (6-2) It's all about defense for the San Antonio Spurs. They rank first in the NBA in defensive efficiency, and no one is even in the same zip code as them in that category. The Spurs next five games are all against playoff teams. San Antonio has the toughest schedule in the NBA between now and the end of the season. How will this team hold up? Time will tell, but I wouldn't want to bet against them too often. This team has great balance.
5. Boston Celtics (5-2) The Celtics are perfectly even at 33 games over and 33 games under so far this year. Lately, the Celtics defense has played better again after having a bad couple weeks. Brad Stevens' team is tricky when it comes to totals because they push the tempo as much as anyone in the league, but they do rank third in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Jae Crowder is out at least two weeks with an ankle injury, and that will change the dynamic for this team a bit. Still, Boston is a deep team and there shouldn't be a huge change in style.
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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