NBA Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
We are a little more than two weeks into the season. Generally at this point, we'd only be a game or two into the season, but the start date of the NBA season was moved up this year to eliminate some of the back-to-back scheduling spots. Cleveland has been the biggest disappointment of the season so far. Not only are the Cavs 3-4 overall, but they are 1-6 against the spread. Orlando is the biggest surprise for me. The Magic are 5-2 overall, and they are the leader in the NBA Southeast Division
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.
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Overall in the NBA, the under is 57-44 so far on the season. After the over hit at a very high rate early last year, we've seen a role reversal in the early going so far this year. Let's see if the oddsmakers adjust the totals downward at all in the coming weeks.
The statistics listed below are for games from the beginning of the season through Oct. 31.
Top Five 'Over' Teams (Over Listed First)
1. Minnesota Timberwolves (6-0-1) The Timberwolves are easily the best over team in the NBA so far this year. Why? Minnesota's defense has been awful. Minnesota is allowing 1.133 points per possession so far this year. Everyone keeps waiting for this team to play better defense because Tom Thibodeau is known as a defensive coach, but it just hasn't been happening. I believe Ricky Rubio is a solid defender, and the Timberwolves moving him made them an even worse team on defense. We know this team can score. If they want to consistently be a good team, they'll need to improve on defense.
2. Golden State Warriors (6-2) Why has Golden State already lost three games this year? The Warriors have been terrible on the defensive end. This isn't like the Warriors, either. Despite their high-scoring ways, Golden State has been top five in the NBA in defensive efficiency on a consistent basis. So far this year, they are the fifth-worst team in the league in defensive efficiency. Golden State is easily first in offensive efficiency as well. Their win over the Clippers earlier this week was an offensive clinic. This team should get it fixed on defense.
3. Brooklyn Nets (5-2-1) Brooklyn is first in the NBA in free throw attempts per game at 29.8 per contest. That's 1.1 free throws per game more than the second highest in the league (Memphis). Brooklyn also ranks first in the NBA in tempo so far this season. Playing at a quick pace and getting to the line a bunch is a great combination for overs.
4. Miami Heat (4-2) Miami has been disappointing on defense this year, but I think there is a good reason. Hassan Whiteside has played only one game so far this season. Whiteside is one of the best defensive big men in basketball, and the Heat have clearly missed him. He is expected back in the lineup this week, so I look for improvement on this end of the floor from Miami.
5. Phoenix Suns (4-3) Here's a team I want to keep a close eye on moving forward. Phoenix was awful on defense in their first few games. They fired Earl Watson and hired Jay Triano as their head coach. Since Triano took over, Phoenix actually ranks in the top ten in the NBA in total defense. I can't imagine that will continue, but I am curious to see if they can avoid being a bad defensive team. They'll continue to play fast, though I expect it will be a bit slower than Watson had the team playing in the past.
Top Five 'Under' Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Los Angeles Clippers (5-1) The Clippers had been perfect toward the under until Golden State routed them by putting up 141 points on Monday. Golden State scored 1.407 points per possession in that game, which is mind blowing. Before that game, the Clippers ranked first in the NBA in defensive efficiency. Was it a one-game blip? More than likely. No one else has the precision on offense that the Warriors do, and the Clippers seem committed on defense this year.
2. Utah Jazz (5-1-1) Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder says at the beginning of every season that the team is going to play faster. They never actually do it. Utah has been the slowest-paced team in the NBA so far this season. The Jazz are still really good on defense as well. Opponents are averaging only 0.969 points per possession on this defense. Utah's offense has sputtered so far this season. Totals on this team's games are clearly going down in the market.
3. Memphis Grizzlies (5-1-1) The Memphis Grizzlies have managed to continue their "Grit-and-Grind" style of play. Memphis has been a big surprise to the upside so far this year as well, but minor injuries to Marc Gasol and Mike Conley need to be closely monitored. This team can't afford to be without either of those guys for a long time. Chandler Parsons is having a bounce-back season, and I expect that to continue.
4. Houston Rockets (6-2) Which team would I not have expected to be on this side of the report? The Houston Rockets. Houston ranks 15th in the NBA in offensive efficiency so far this year. That is far worse than anyone would have ever predicted. On the other hand, Houston ranks 14th in defensive efficiency, which is definitely better than many expected. I don't think the oddsmakers will move Houston's numbers down too much. They know this offense is too good to struggle for much longer.
5. Denver Nuggets (5-2) I'll be looking to play overs with Denver moving forward. The Nuggets offense ranked highly in efficiency in the last couple months last season, and I expect them to end up being very good on offense again. Denver's defense will likely end up being one of the six or eight worst in the NBA. Look for spots where you can find value on the Nuggets games going over the total in the next few weeks.
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