With the All Star Break in the rear view, it is time to start looking at the playoff races. Remember, in less than two months the NBA Playoffs will be here. Portland has been scorching hot in recent weeks, and the Blazers are now in the seventh spot in the Western Conference. Utah is half a game behind Houston for the No. 8 spot. In the Eastern Conference, the No. 4-ranked team in the standings (Miami) is only 3.5 games ahead of the ninth team (Detroit). The NBA Southeast Division is the only real divisional race we have right now, but playoff seeding will be vitally important.
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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. 5 and Feb. 25.
Note that this date range is from some games before the break and some games after the break. Since the break, the over has been on fire. The over is a whopping 38-18 in the past week! That huge run has pushed the over to 51.06 percent for the year after the under dominated for the first few months of the season. We'll keep tabs on this number.
Top Five Over Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Dallas Mavericks (6-0) There a couple key reasons for the Mavericks going over the posted total so often of late. First, three of their last six games have gone into overtime. Secondly, this Mavericks defense has been awful in the past few weeks. They haven't allowed less than 103 points in a game in their last six contests. They play their next four games at home against subpar competition. Dallas is falling in the standings, and they need to turn things around right away.
2. Boston Celtics (7-1) The Boston Celtics rank fifth in the NBA in defensive efficiency, but this defense has been really bad in the past couple weeks. The Celtics actually ranked second in the league in defensive efficiency before this recent poor defensive run. Boston has allowed 111 points or more in six of their last seven games. This team does push the tempo, but allowing that many points isn't a recipe for success.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves (6-1) Minnesota has no shortage of talent, as we have seen in the last couple years during the NBA All-Star festivities, but this Timberwolves team is extremely inconsistent. This is one of the toughest teams in the league to get a solid read on as far as backing or fading them. Minnesota has been money for over bettors on the road this year. The over is 18-8-2 in their road games.
4. Portland Trail Blazers (6-1) Portland has been putting on offensive clinics of late. None of them were as impressive as their 137-105 win at home against Golden State. Damian Lillard is on fire of late, and the emergence of C.J. McCollum as another star has been massive for this team. They seem to be pushing the pace more of late, which makes sense with the athleticism they have on their roster.
5. Sacramento Kings (6-1) Only one team has played faster than the Golden State Warriors this year, and it is the Sacramento Kings. The over is 18-10 in the Kings 28 road games so far this year. Sacramento is a tough team to gauge as far as their motivation over the rest of the season. The Kings can turn just about every game into a shootout, but they are going to have very high posted totals the rest of the way.
Top Five Under Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Los Angeles Clippers (7-1) The under is 4-0 since the break for the Clippers. In their last eight, the one game that went over the total was a shootout against the Celtics that went into overtime. The Clippers have a lot of injury concerns, but that hasn't stopped the team from playing good basketball. Defense has been the key during this run. The Clippers are up to No. 6 in defensive efficiency in the NBA.
2. Detroit Pistons (5-2) Stan Van Gundy has been preaching defense to his team for the last month. For a long time, it seemed like they weren't listening. Lately, their defense has improved a bit. This Pistons team is just a mediocre team in every sense. They are 29-29 and just out of the playoff picture. Seven of their next nine games are on the road. Let's see how this trip goes.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (5-3) How is Ty Lue doing as head coach of the Cavs? There's really no way to judge that until the playoffs get here. Cleveland is working to play at a quicker tempo, but they are still playing solid defense. This Cavs team is eighth in the league in defensive efficiency. The oddsmakers have so far raised their totals a little too much since Lue has been at the helm.
4. Milwaukee Bucks (4-3) Milwaukee has been a disappointment this year. This is a team that surprised last year and most expected them to be more competitive than they are this season. The under is 17-14 in Milwaukee's 31 road games as an underdog. On the other hand, the over is 11-4 in their 15 games as a home underdog.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3) Oklahoma City has lost three of their first four games out of the break. They were favored in all three of those losses. The Thunder have a massive showdown at home against Golden State on Saturday night. That one will be nationally-televised by ABC. The under is 21-10-1 in Oklahoma City's 32 home games this year.
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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