NBA Betting Trends: Totals Report for Hot Over and Under Teams
Not many people would have guessed Toronto and Houston would have the best records in the NBA's Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively, in the month of March. Cleveland is in third place in the Eastern Conference, but they are only four games ahead of the eighth-place Miami Heat. The San Antonio Spurs have had a bunch of injury problems, and they have dropped to fifth in the Western Conference. The Spurs are only 2.5 games ahead of the Clippers, who are in ninth place and looking to fight their way into the playoffs.
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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 to date, the under is 490-462 (51.47 percent unders). In the last week alone, the under is 31-21.
The statistics listed below are for games from Feb. 14 through March 6. Keep in mind that this time period included the NBA All-Star Break.
Top Five 'Over' Teams (Over Listed First)
1. New Orleans Pelicans (7-0) The Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins to an injury, but that hasn't slowed the offense thus far. New Orleans is averaging a whopping 125.6 points per game in their last seven contests. They are playing at the fastest tempo in the NBA by a wide margin. Emeka Okafor has been much more valuable to this team than many thought he could be, and you have to think in the long run he'll help this team's defense quite a bit if he keeps getting a lot of minutes.
2. Los Angeles Clippers (7-1) The Clippers rank fourth in the NBA in tempo in their last several games. They have only played slower than the Pelicans, Suns, and Lakers during that time span. Lou Williams continues to have a tremendous season for this team. The Clippers are first in the league in free throws attempted in their last eight contests. This team will continue having high-scoring games, but the lines here are getting awfully high.
3. Denver Nuggets (6-1) For a while, I wondered where Denver's potent offense was, because their numbers weren't showing the full potential of the team. The Nuggets offense has been found, and they have been amazing of late. Denver is averaging a whopping 1.157 points per possession in their last seven games. On the other side, their defense is giving up 1.148 points per possession. As long as they remain in the Top 10 in the NBA in tempo, I think Nuggets overs will continue to have value.
4. Los Angeles Lakers (6-1-1) The Lakers have Lonzo Ball back in the lineup, and this young team has been playing some really good basketball. As mentioned above, the Lakers continue to push the tempo, and I don't see any reason why that would change anytime soon. Brandon Ingram's injury should hurt the team's offensive efficiency, so we'll see if the oddsmakers adjust the Lakers totals down at all while he is out.
5. Boston Celtics (5-1-1) Boston is still first in defensive efficiency on the year as a whole, but of late they haven't been very good on defense. The Celtics are 17th in the NBA in defensive efficiency in games played since the All-Star Break. Boston ranks first in the NBA in offensive efficiency in their last seven games. It's a big change for a team that was an under machine early in the season.
Top Five 'Under' Teams (Under Listed First)
1. Indiana Pacers (6-1) The Indiana Pacers defense has been much better of late. Indiana ranks third behind only the Blazers and the Jazz in defensive efficiency in their last seven games. During that span, the Pacers are also 20th in the NBA in tempo. The wins at Washington and Milwaukee were huge steps in the right direction for this team. Can they continue their improved performance on the road?
2. Atlanta Hawks (6-1) The Atlanta Hawks have nothing to play for now, and their offense has been dreadful in recent contests. They are shooting only 43 percent from the floor in their last seven contests. Atlanta is turning the ball over on 17 percent of their offensive possessions, which can certainly lead to some lower-scoring contests.
3. Utah Jazz (6-1) Here's a team on the outside of the playoff standings right now, but I don't think they will be there for long. With Rudy Gobert back in the lineup, the Jazz have assumed their spot right back at the top of the defensive statistics. Utah has gone back to being one of the three or four slowest-paced teams in the league again as well. I'll continue to lean toward the under in Utah contests moving forward.
4. Portland Trail Blazers (6-2) Portland has been playing some terrific basketball of late. Quietly, the Blazers are up to third in the Western Conference playoff standings. Granted they are only four games ahead of the team in ninth place, but it is still impressive what the Blazers have done of late. It has been their defense that has taken them here. Portland is allowing 0.955 points per possession in their last seven games. They are second in the NBA during that span in defensive rebounding percentage.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers (5-2) It hasn't been a case of the Cavs suddenly playing great defense that has them on this side of the report. They have gone from a top three offense to No. 13 in the league in offensive efficiency in their last seven games. The defense is much better than it was before they made significant changes at the trade deadline. Can the offense get back to where it was? They need Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love to get healthy.
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