NBA Totals & Betting Trends: Heat vs. 76ers Matchup Among Key Over/Under Plays This Week
Michelle Farsi/Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo #13 and Max Strus #31 of the Miami Heat.
Remember the first couple of months of the NBA season when scoring was way down?
That seems like ages ago. The tide turned around mid-December and hasn’t it really looked back. Scoring and market totals continue to trend upwards week-by-week and have hit a peak in some areas.
Here is the weekly market update through Week 22 (week ending Sunday March 20) with a new sortable table for average scoring and over/under records team:
Key Totals Trends to Watch
- Totals went 28-22 (56.0%) to the over in Week 22. This takes the season-to-date over/under record up to 532-526-11 (50.4%).
- The average closing total was 227.9 in Week 22, the highest it has been all season long. The average closing total after the All-Star break has been 226.9, compared to 218.7 before the All-Star break.
- Average scoring was at 229.1 points per game in Week 22, also the highest it has been all season long. The average points scored after break has been 228.2, compared to 218.4 pre All-Star.
- All offensive metrics have seen an increase post since the break. Offensive Efficiency and Pace are both up from earlier in the season. The crackdown on new rule implementations and fouls drawn have died down — both fouls and free throw attempts have steadily increased over the course of the season — and 3-point shooting is up to 36.2%, consistent with seasons past.
- Despite all the love for overs, one system I am fond of is betting the under when two great teams face each other later in the season. Since the 2015-2016 season, regular season games between elite teams (defined as those with a 60% win percentage and greater) in February or later are 135-88-1 (60.5%) to the under.
- The logic here is that these teams ramp up the defensive intensity as they prepare for the playoffs and are still fighting for playoff seeding.
Here are some potential matchups this week to target:
- Mon. March 21: Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers
- Sun. March 27: Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks
- Mon. March 28: Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Recent Under Trends
- Bulls: 12-4 to the under in last 16 games
- DeMar DeRozan’s shooting has continued to cool off. Zach LaVine is not 100%, which hurts their offense, and Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams are back in the lineup, which helps their defense.
- Clippers: 9-3 to the under in last 12 games
- Struggling offense, solid defense and a slow tempo is a good recipe for unders. A long injury report and starters playing heavy minutes aren’t a good sign for their legs.
- Jazz: 8-2 to the under in last 10 games
- Their defense has really shined in the past few games. They rank fifth in Defensive Rating (108.8) during this timeframe. Three-time DPOY Rudy Gobert has been back in the lineup after a lengthy absence. Their offense takes a hit with Bojan Bogdanovic out with an injury. Also, Mike Conley’s inconsistency in the lineup due to injury management disrupts the flow of offense.
- Raptors: 8-3 to the under in last 11 games
- The Raptors play at a slow tempo and have multiple players that have the versatility to defend multiple positions. Fred VanVleet has been in and out of the lineup managing his injury and with the fatigue building up from Nick Nurse’s short rotations, this could be a consistent theme for the remainder of the season.
- Warriors: 5-1 to the under in last six games
- Draymond Green is back in the lineup. The Warriors are 24-11-1 (68.6%) to the under with him in the lineup, and 16-18 to the under with him out.
Recent Over Trends
- Thunder: 12-3 to the over in last 15 games
- The Thunder had another strong week of overs. Derrick Favors has been out, forcing them to play smaller lineups. Their Defensive Rating ranks 29th (120.4) and Pace is fifth (102.0) since the All-Star break. Their last game against the Orlando Magic went way under without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. I would be wary of playing their overs if their leading scorer is out.
- Wizards: 14-4 to the over in last 18 games
- Their offense has looked better in the last month. Their defense has remained poor. Also, Kristaps Porzingis has looked solid. However, the market has adjusted accordingly as their average closing total in Week 22 was 227.9, compared to mid 210s for all of February.
- Cavaliers: 4-0 the over in last four games
- No big surprise, but the Cavaliers’ defense has taken a hit with All-Star big man Jarrett Allen out with a fractured thumb.
- Kings: 6-2 to the over in last eight games
- Times have been tough for the Kings, who have lost seven of their previous eight games. They are giving up 122 points per game during this timeframe; however, they have been facing a rough schedule with some high-powered offensive teams. Expect to pay a huge premium on Kings’ totals.
- Suns: 5-1 to the over in last six games
- The Suns have averaged 128 points per game during these six games. Their Pace has quickened with Chris Paul out of the lineup and their offense has continued to look sharp.