NBA Betting: How Highest-Scoring Teams Performed Against the Total Last Season

Friday, June 26, 2015 5:57 PM UTC

Friday, Jun. 26, 2015 5:57 PM UTC

Scoring lots of points is nice, but that doesn't necessarily mean the OVER is a deadbolt lock when you're making your NBA picks. Just ask the Golden State Warriors.

<p>Phil Jackson is not a happy man. Sure, he's got 13 NBA rings – 11 as a head coach, and two as a player with the New York Knicks, where he's now the team president. But Jackson isn't a big fan of the so-called “modern” game, with its emphasis on the pick-and-roll and the 3-point shot. It's definitely not the same as his preferred triangle offense, but that's not what's really bugging Jackson. He's more concerned about old-school ideas like teamwork and sacrifice and creativity.</p> <p>Good luck with that. Basketball fans love scoring, and they love the 3-pointer. Every time someone tickles the twine from long distance, the crowd goes nuts. It's like Pavlov's dog, but instead of a bell, it's the sweet, sweet swish of leather meeting corn. Imagine what this must do to your typical “square” bettor. The more 3-pointers they see, the more they're going to open their saliva-covered wallets and bet the OVER when they make their <a href="" target="_blank" title="Don't Miss Our Free NBA Picks &amp; Updates">NBA picks</a>. Never mind what some cranky old man has to say about it.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>I'm Sorry, Mr. Jackson</strong><br /> Ummm... yeah, about that. Last year, teams scored an average of 100.0 points per game. When Jackson was a player, it was more like 110 points. So maybe our idea of the new NBA as some kind of idyllic freewheeling offensive juggernaut needs to be adjusted. Maybe. Let's see if there's anything in the numbers that can help us make some smarter basketball picks next year. Here's how the Top 10 teams in scoring did against the total in 2014-15.</p> <p> </p> <p>1. <a href="" target="_blank" title="Deja Vu for Warriors Fans as Salary Cap to Restrict Changes: Look Elsewhere with Your NBA Picks">Golden State Warriors</a> 110.0 points; UNDER 43-39<br /> 2. <a href="" target="_blank" title="Are Clippers 2016 Title Contenders With Lance Stephenson?">Los Angeles Clippers</a> 106.7 points; UNDER 43-36-3<br /> 3. Dallas Mavericks 105.2 points; UNDER 43-28-1<br /> 4. Toronto Raptors 104.0 points; OVER 45-37<br /> 5. <a href="" target="_blank" title="What Team Will Be Biggest Bust of 2015-16 Season?">Oklahoma City Thunder</a> 104.0 points; UNDER 42-39-1<br /> 6. <a href="" target="_blank" title="NBA Betting: Where Did The Rockets Fall Short And How Do They Rebuild?">Houston Rockets</a> 103.9 points; UNDER 42-40<br /> 7. San Antonio Spurs 103.2 points; UNDER 43-39<br /> 8. <a href="" target="_blank" title="NBA Odds Favor Cavaliers for 2016 NBA Title: Too Chalky of a Bet or Worth the Risk?">Cleveland Cavaliers</a> 103.1 points; UNDER 48-33-1<br /> 9. Portland Trail Blazers 102.8 points; UNDER 42-39-1<br /> 10. <a href="" target="_blank" title="Atlanta Hawks Plummet to Bottom of NBA Futures Odds: From Top Seed in East to Bottom Feed">Atlanta Hawks</a> 102.5 points; OVER 42-40</p> <p> </p> <p>Well well. Looks like our high-scoring heroes are having some trouble reaching their posted totals. This is a league-wide issue for the most part; only eight of the 30 teams posted an OVER record last season. But notice how scoring more points per game didn't get these top teams over the hump. And by the way, nine of these 10 teams were in the Top 10 in 3-pointers attempted. The Spurs (No. 15), who happen to be one of Jackson's favorites, were the only outliers.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><em style="text-align:center">Must Read: <a href="http://Best Early Value Bets for 2015-16 Season" target="_blank" title="The Warriors are at +400 to win the title">Here's an early look at the best value bets for the 2015-16 NBA season</a></em></p> <p><strong>Life on the Margins</strong><br /> In theory, we can take this knowledge and just carpet-bomb the UNDER next year. But we probably need to do better than that. Across the league, the UNDER went 676-619 last year, or 52.20 percent. That's not quite enough to cover the standard –110 vigorish on single bets; we need a success rate of 52.38 percent to break even. And it just so happens that the 10 teams listed above combined for a 423-380-7 UNDER record, or 52.68 percent if I did the math right. Huzzah~!</p> <p>We still wouldn't advise just pounding these teams blindly next year, but this exercise does lend credence to the idea that fading the public is the key to opening up those slim profit margins. The more bias you can find in the system, the more you can exploit it. Consider the value of defense, for example. Casual fans don't pay much attention to defense, but if they did, they'd know that the Warriors (98.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) had last year's most efficient defense, while the Raptors (104.8) were No. 23. Shhhh, don't tell anyone. Let them keep salivating over those 3-pointers and laughing at Jackson.</p>
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