NBA Totals Betting and Handicapping: Top Over and Under Teams this Season
When it comes to betting NBA totals, the enemy of bettors is a moderate team. Teams that perform pretty close to expectations consistently are no good for bettors. They are break-even teams, and bettors hate break-even teams. The nice things about totals, though, is that there are two ways for teams to be successful, and both ways work just fine for bettors. A team can go "over" totals in bulk or rarely go over them, and the profits are both just as sweet. As we head into the home stretch of the NBA season, then, it's a good time to look at the teams that are good over bets and those that shine because they have mastered going "under". As you'll see it's a democratic group here - there are both pretty good teams and very bad ones in both groups.
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New Orleans Pelicans (38-24): A lot of this success is recent. Anthony Davis has found a whole new level of superhuman performance lately, and the team is on fire. It turns out that losing DeMarcus Cousins was just the boost they needed as the team has risen in the second half from a high risk of missing the playoffs to a potential first-round home team. They have won eight in a row and have gone over in the last six of those. The way they are playing now, no total is high enough
Minnesota Timberwolves (36-29): The T-Wolves are tied with the Pelicans in the standings right now and have gone over the total in eight of their last 10. They have the perfect recipe for consistent overs - an offense near the top of the league and a defense that is very ordinary and at times far worse than that.
Sacramento Kings (35-28): We have finally found something that the lowly Kings are good at. It's impressive that they are where they are at in terms of going over, because they have an offense that is totally toothless - they rank 29th in points per game. The defense is both mediocre and inconsistent, though, and that makes the difference.
L.A. Lakers (34-28): The Lakers are among the more profitable ATS teams, too, so they have been much more of a pleasure to bet on than to watch. They have, like Minnesota, a good recipe for success on the over - a Top 10 offense and a Bottom 3 defense.
Boston Celtics (34-30): This is the best ATS team in the league, so like the Lakers they are a pleasure to bet on in multiple ways. The over is 6-1-1 in their last eight, so they have only recently become a successful team to bet the over with. That they are here at all is impressive, though, as they have the top-ranked defense in the league by points allowed.
Portland Trail Blazers (26-38): This team is quietly staking claim to the third seed in the West - not that anything beyond the top two matters even slightly this year. The offense is far from elite, and the defense ranks in the Top 20 in a lot of categories, so it shouldn't be a surprise that they are going under a lot.
Indiana Pacers (26-37): They have a top 10 defense and a middle-of-the-pack offense, so they are capable of going under a total at any time. They have gone under in six of their last seven, too, so they are really rolling on this front. They are 5-2 ATS in that stretch, too, so they are bettors' friends right now.
Miami Heat (28-36): They are 28th in the league in offensive points scored. Fourth in the league in defensive points allowed. And they aren't exactly on the radar of most casual bettors. If they were anything other than a successful team on the under then something really bizarre would be going on.
Memphis Grizzlies (27-35): They have the worst offense in the league. And because they play at a slower tempo, and because good teams don't bother speeding it up often because they know they don't need to do so to win, they don't allow a ton of points. So they go under the total consistently. And they bore their fans to death every time they hit the court.
Dallas Mavericks (28-35): They are a bad offensive team that is quietly respectable on defense. Most notably, they are at this mark despite having gone over in seven of their last 10, so they were potent on the under early on.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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