The Los Angeles Clippers have played like the best team in the NBA so far this year. What's been the difference? The Clippers are rated first in the NBA in defensive efficiency, and it isn't even close. This team is buying in on the defensive end, and if they can stay healthy this year, the Clippers will be a very tough out in the postseason. Cleveland is doing a nice job taking care of business in the Eastern Conference.
Doc's Sports has done an NBA Totals Trends report in the past, and we'll be doing it again this season. This will be a bi-weekly article here on the site. We'll highlight the Top Five 'Over' and the Top Five 'Under' teams of the past couple weeks in each article. Because the NBA season is a very long, there can be some impressive streaks inside the season, and catching one of these can help build your bankroll. The statistics for this article are for games from the beginning of the NBA season through Nov. 15.
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Top Five 'Over' Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Phoenix Suns (9-2) The Phoenix Suns lead the way on this side of the report. Phoenix ranks first in the NBA in pace so far this year. The Suns have decided to try to use their speed as an advantage. It hasn't worked out all that well so far this year, but I can't blame them for trying. This is a team that is undermanned, and they are looking for any way to find an edge.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (8-4) The Lakers have been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA so far this year. Luke Walton wanted his team to play fast, and they are doing that in a big way. The Lakers are fourth in the NBA in pace, just behind the Golden State Warriors. Los Angeles is 7-5 overall, and they are 4-1 on their home floor. The Lakers have won all three of their games against teams from their division.
3. Portland Trail Blazers (8-4) The Blazers are a little bit hard to figure out so far this year. While they have been a good over team, three of their games that have gone over the posted total went into overtime. The team has been above average defensively. Their pace has been inconsistent from game to game. I think this is a good team to take a wait-and-see approach on at this point.
4. Utah Jazz (8-4) The Jazz rank as the slowest-paced team in the NBA, and it really isn't even close. How could they be going over the total so consistently in the early going? It is simply a case of the oddsmakers setting their totals extremely low. Everyone knew the Jazz would play slowly, and the oddsmakers have put most of their totals in the mid 180s. Utah's numbers are slowly creeping up, and I expect there to value on the under before too long.
5. Toronto Raptors (7-3) Toronto ranks third in the NBA in offensive efficiency behind only Golden State and Cleveland. The Raptors have been attacking the rim and getting to the line frequently this year. Toronto's defensive numbers have also slipped a bit from last season. They host Golden State Wednesday night before going on a five-game road trip.
Top Five 'Under' Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Detroit Pistons (8-3) The Detroit Pistons rank third in the NBA in defensive efficiency. That's ahead of teams like San Antonio, Utah, and Oklahoma City. Stan Van Gundy had trouble getting his team to buy into his defensive philosophy for a while, but it seems like it is working right now. Andre Drummond is the key as their rim protector.
2. Houston Rockets (7-3) I never expected Houston to be on this side of the report to start things out. Mike D'Antoni's team hasn't played as fast as expected, but they have been involved in a lot of blowouts. Here is a spot where I am going to be looking for value playing the over with Houston moving forward. This team will be involved in a lot of high-scoring games this year. Let's see how much their totals are adjusted downward.
3. Dallas Mavericks (6-3) The Mavericks have played the least games of any team in the NBA. Dallas has had some serious offensive struggles so far this year. In their nine games, they have topped the 100-point mark only two times. Dallas is shooting only 41.9 percent from the field. They are knocking down only 30.2 percent of their shots from long range.
4. Sacramento Kings (7-4) This is a spot where bettors who did their homework have gotten some money in the early going. With Dave Joerger replacing George Karl, there was going to be a big change in tempo. The oddsmakers didn't adjust the Kings totals down enough, and the under has been a good play in the first couple weeks. Also, one of the four games that went over the posted total did so only because of overtime.
5. Chicago Bulls (7-4) When looking at the Chicago Bulls statistics, the biggest thing that jumps out at you is how good the Bulls have been on the glass. Chicago is first in the NBA in offensive rebounding. Chicago is in the middle of a long road trip on the left coast. This will be a good chance to see how the team can hold up during a tough travel schedule.
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