What We’ve Learned About NBA Over/Unders at the All-Star Break

What We’ve Learned About NBA Over/Unders at the All-Star Break article feature image
Credit:

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Trae Young (left) and Jalen Johnson (right) of the Atlanta Hawks.

Betting NBA totals can be one of the more difficult concepts for novice bettors to grapple with. So many different factors can influence a game, including travel, pace of play, 3-point shooting and much more.

And that's before we even get to load management and try to project which players are actually going to suit up.

There was also the inaugural In-Season Tournament that included tiebreakers like point differential and total points scored in the group stage. Thus, teams were further incentivized to score as many points as possible in the event of a tie in the group.

But since the In-Season Tournament games count toward regular-season standings — except the Championship — they may have had an even greater impact on how oddsmakers set the totals and how the betting market ultimately shaped the numbers.

As a result, we'll take a look back at how the totals have adjusted throughout the season while identifying one team with a potential market inefficiency that bettors should look to target moving forward.


Impact of In-Season Tournament on Over/Unders

Having a baseline knowledge of the average total across the league can be helpful for future months. To help with our analysis, we'll utilize results from the Killer Sports database.

In October, we tracked 54 games, and over bettors went 26-27-1 (49.1%). The average total was 225.1 points, and the Kings had the highest average at 235.7, while the Raptors were the lowest at 217.2.

Then, in November, with the In-Season Tournament getting underway, over bettors had their best month (120-99, 54.8%) despite the average total increasing to 227.3. Indiana had the highest average total at 240 and went 13-1 to the over. Chicago and Houston shared the lowest average total at 219.4.

With over-bettors having such a profitable November, we saw totals rise even higher in December, averaging 232.5. Over-bettors went 112-93-2, covering at a 54.6% clip. The Pacers maintained the highest average total at 246.9. But this time, Indiana went 6-8-1 (42.9%) to the over. The Rockets yet again had the lowest average total despite increasing to 224.1.

After another profitable month for over bettors, the average total increased only marginally to 232.8 in January. However, that slight adjustment was enough to create some buy-back opportunities for under bettors, who went 131-97-2 (57.5%).

Indiana had the highest average total (246.6) for a third straight month but went 10-7 to the under. Chicago finished with the lowest average at 222.7, and the under in Bulls games went 8-7.

February tends to be a tricky month, as standards can drop with teams looking ahead to the All-Star break. Through 109 games, the under has gone 56-51-2 (53.3%). We've also seen the average total (232.1) drop for the first time in three months.

Atlanta supplanted Indiana with the highest average total at 243.9 as Indiana dropped to third (242.1). Minnesota currently has the lowest average total (218.3), while Chicago has the fifth-lowest (223.9).

MonthOver/under record for monthAverage monthly totalHighest-average team totalTeam w/ highest average totalLowest average team totalTeam w/ lowest average total
October26-27-1 (49.1%)225.1235.7Kings217.2Raptors
November118-98-2 (54.6%)227.3240Pacers219.4Bulls / Rockets
December112-93-2 (54.6%)232.5246.9Pacers224.1Rockets
January97-131-2 (42.5%)238.8246.6Pacers222.7Bulls
February (before All-Star break)51-56-2 (47.7%)232.1243.9Hawks218.3Timberwolves
Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for NBA bettors
The best NBA betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

The Market Still Hasn't Caught Up to the Hawks

The above chart provides a month-to-month breakdown of the average monthly totals with the highest and lowest average corresponding teams.

Since the Pacers posted the highest average monthly total for three straight months, they're not exactly flying under the radar.

The team I'd look to target moving forward is the Hawks, given that they currently have the highest average total in February at 243.9, which is 3.3 points higher than their season average.

I think we're still in a bit of price discovery with Atlanta because it's still roughly three points behind the Pacers, who have the highest season average at 243.5. Both teams share similar characteristics, as Atlanta (105.7) averages one-tenth fewer possessions than Indiana (105.8), per TeamRankings.

Regarding efficiency, the Hawks (114.8 points scored per 100 possessions / 117.3 points allowed per 100 possessions) are roughly two points behind the Pacers (116.7 points scored per 100 possessions / 115.6 points allowed per 100 possessions) offensively and almost two points worse defensively.

Since those numbers somewhat cancel themselves out, you could argue that the Hawks' average season total should be closer to that of the Pacers. If we assess how the Hawks perform using the highest average monthly total at around 246.5, Atlanta is still 9-5 to the over.

Thus, I think there's still room for the over in these Hawks totals to go even higher before the under will start to show some value.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.

Sportsbook Promos
See All
Legal Online Sports Betting

PrizePicks Promo Code ACTIONMAX Unlocks a 100% Deposit Match for Any Sport in 25+ States

Nick Sterling
May 21, 2024 UTC