NBA Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
The strength of the NBA Eastern Conference Central Division has been a big surprise so far this year. Detroit is arguably the biggest surprise in the league. The Pistons now see the Cleveland Cavaliers quickly charging in their rear-view mirror as well. No surprise that the Cavs are putting it together. Indiana being 12-9 through 21 games is a big surprise as well. Then you have Milwaukee at 10-9, and they are a team that should make the playoffs. Will this division continue to overachieve? The polar opposite is the Western Conference Pacific Division. The Warriors are the best team in the NBA, but no one else in the division is any good. Golden State might clinch the division in early February at this rate.
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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. This will be a bi-weekly article here on the site. We'll highlight the Top Five 'Over' and the Top Five 'Under' teams in the last couple weeks. The NBA season is a very long one, and that lends itself to finding changes in style of play that aren't yet noticed by the oddsmakers. We'll try to find some value in the totals market through this report.
For the season, the under is 162-136. That is 54.36 percent of games staying under the total so far this year. There have been only eight overtime games, and six of those have gone over the total.
The statistics listed below are for games from November 15 to November 28.
Top Five 'Over' Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Boston Celtics (6-1) Two weeks ago Boston was on the other side of this report. At that time, Boston was first in the league in defensive efficiency allowing only 0.958 points per possession. Recently Boston is allowing 1.036 points per possession, and they are also playing at a quicker tempo. The oddsmakers had moved their numbers down quickly, and they got too low. Let's see if things normalize on Boston's totals in the next few weeks.
2. Los Angeles Lakers (5-1) In the last six games, the Lakers are first in the league in pace of play. This team is really pushing the tempo. Lonzo Ball isn't shooting well, but he is definitely showing how much of an impact he can have on a team. The Lakers play some very high-scoring teams in their next few games. Look out for some very high totals!
3. Orlando Magic (5-2) The Orlando Magic started out the season looking like one of the biggest surprises in the league. That's no longer the case. Why? They aren't playing any defense. Orlando is easily worst in the league in defensive efficiency in the past seven games. They are allowing 1.157 points per possession during that time. If they are going to get back on track, they have to be at least decent on defense. This team has some pieces, but they have some clear weaknesses too.
4. Phoenix Suns (5-2) Phoenix tried to play some better defense when Jay Triano took over as head coach, but that didn't last very long. The Suns have committed the second most fouls in the league, and that has been a real problem. Phoenix is second in the league in tempo in the last seven games, so they'll get up their shots. The Suns have several talented scorers. Expect to see continued high totals from this team.
5. Atlanta Hawks (4-2) Atlanta is a miserable 4-16 this year. The Hawks are going to be going through the motions for a long time this year. This isn't an organization that is accustomed to losing at this kind of rate. I want to watch and see if we see signs of team chemistry problems here. Will the Hawks continue to push the tempo despite their offensive efficiency problems?
Top Five 'Under' Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Memphis Grizzlies (5-1) The Memphis Grizzlies fired David Fizdale this week. Now it's time to see what the Grizzlies will look like under a different coach. Will their style of play change or not? Memphis is shooting only 32.3 percent from long range so far this year. The injury to Mike Conley hurts this team badly.
2. Toronto Raptors (5-1) Toronto is a tough team to gauge when it comes to totals. The Raptors are very efficient on offense, but they don't play very fast. They are improved on defense as well. The under is 8-4 in Toronto's 12 road games so far this year. The Raptors play a weak schedule in the next couple weeks, and they need to get on a nice winning streak in this time period.
3. Detroit Pistons (5-1) Detroit has been playing at a slow pace and trying to grind out wins. It has worked so far this year. I don't think this team can keep winning at the rate they have, but they are certainly improved. The Pistons have pulled off some big upsets so far this year, but their huge loss at home to Cleveland had to be a little bit tough to take for fans who were eager to see how they stacked up against LeBron James and company.
4. Portland Trail Blazers (6-2) The Portland Blazers defense has been tremendous this year. Portland is second in the NBA in field goal percentage allowed. They are third in the NBA in defensive efficiency. That's a huge change from last year, when the Blazers finished 21st in the NBA in defensive efficiency. I would still look to play unders with this team more often than not. This is a completely different team than last year.
5. Washington Wizards (5-2) Washington is without John Wall right now, and I want to see if the Wizards slow down their pace without him on the floor. It's no secret that Wall is extremely quick, and I would guess the oddsmakers will lower Washington's totals a decent amount without him. Will it be enough? I would still tend to look for unders with this team right now.
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