#Betting101: Pounding the NBA Weekend Totals

mccollum defended

Jason Lake

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 8:34 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 8:34 PM UTC

Some teams are built to go over, while others will drive the under to the pay window. Getting the right two teams on the floor together will help you beat the NBA odds.

NBA: Betting the Totals

Making NBA picks against the spread is a lot of fun. That’s how most people do it. But betting on totals can be a pleasure, too – and a profitable one, if you do it right. In theory, it’s easy enough to bet the under; recreational bettors tend to pick the outcomes they want to see happen, and people want to see lots of scoring. Indeed, the under was 311-285 (52.2 percent) in the NBA this season as of this writing.

That’s still not enough to make a profit, though. You need 52.4 percent to break even at the standard -110 juice. Finding the right games to bet on will help you make the leap into the black.

Let’s see what we can find on this weekend’s schedule, so you’ll be ready to pound the NBA odds board when the lines come out.

The Under Years

First, what makes a team go under the posted total? A combination of strong defense and weak offense is ideal. Here are the top five under teams as we go to press, along with their overall efficiency rankings at both ends of the court:

Portland Trail Blazers: 26-14 (No. 22 offense, No. 5 defense)
Washington Wizards: 25-14-1 (No. 10 offense, No. 8 defense)
Miami Heat: 25-15 (No. 23 offense, No. 12 defense)
Memphis Grizzlies: 23-15-1 (No. 24 offense, No. 17 defense)
Detroit Pistons: 23-15-1 (No. 19 offense, No. 11 defense)

Story checks out. The Wizards are the main outliers here; they played 11 games without superstar point guard John Wall, taking the under to an 8-3 record in that span, so strike them off the list now that Wall is healthy. The Trail Blazers, on the other hand, are tailor-made for going under. Their offense is pretty much a two-man show with Damian Lillard (plus-5.3 OBPM) and C.J. McCollum (plus-1.8 OBPN) in the backcourt, but they get strong defense – and not much else – from their starting frontcourt of Jusuf Nurkic (plus-2.0 DBPM), Al-Farouq Aminu (plus-1.8 DBPM) and swingman Evan Turner (plus-1.0 DBPM).

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Five defenders, one @CJMcCollum. #NBAVote. pic.twitter.com/PA15lHTq0o

— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) January 10, 2018
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If you can get two of these under-developed teams in the same game, even better. Unfortunately, this weekend’s NBA schedule doesn’t give us that, but the Utah Jazz (under 21-18-1) do visit the Charlotte Hornets (under 22-18) on Friday night, and both teams fit the defense-heavy profile we’re looking for.

Be prepared to jump on the NBA lines if you see a total you like -- and may the sphere be with you.

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