Finding the Edge in a Random NBA Prop: First Team to Score
This may become a series in which I look at random props across various sportsbooks and try to find an edge. Mostly, I just got cool data on jump balls in the NBA and wanted to write about it. We’ll see where it goes.
There are sportsbooks that offer odds on teams to score first. The limits are not super high, but for most teams, it’s set at about 50-50 odds plus the juice. That means, if a team has a center who is undervalued in terms of his jump ball skills, there could certainly be an edge with the props. Of course, there are many more factors that go into a team scoring first. If you were going to attempt to create a formula to predict the first team to score, you’d have to account for at least the following dynamics, and probably more smaller ones:
- The jump ball prowess of each player and the resulting probability of a team gaining first possession
- Each team’s starting unit’s offensive efficiency
- Each team’s starting unit’s defensive efficiency
Wednesday’s Games and Prop Odds
Let’s look at Wednesday’s slate as an example. Here are the games and odds for each side to score first.
- Phoenix Suns (-105) at Indiana Pacers (-125)
- New Orleans Pelicans (-115) at Charlotte Hornets (-115)
- Utah Jazz (-105) at Detroit Pistons (-125)
- Chicago Bulls (-110) at Philadelphia 76ers (-120)
- Toronto Raptors (-125) at Atlanta Hawks (-105)
- San Antonio Spurs (-110) at Memphis Grizzlies (-120)
- Houston Rockets (-130) at Dallas Mavericks (+100)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (-110) at Portland Trail Blazers (-120)
- Boston Celtics (-110) at LA Clippers (-120)
Again, the books have these mostly as a toss-up plus the juice. So are some players much better at jump balls than others? You’re darn right.