You could have made a tasty profit with your NBA picks just by taking the OVER in every game thus far. Will this money train keep rolling along, or is it time to switch tracks?
The NBA is the game of the future. Ratings are up big-time for the top basketball league in the world, while the NFL continues to hemorrhage viewers, not to mention goodwill. Why are so many people switching to roundball? Lots of reasons, but let's talk about scoring: It's gone up. Way up, by more than seven points (per team per game) since 2011.
2011-12: 96.3 points
That's a lot of points. We haven't seen scoring like this since the end of Michael Jordan's first run with the Chicago Bulls. And go figure, the OVER has been a profitable auto-bet this year at 90-77 (53.9 percent) as we go to press. Sweet, sweet profit for your NBA picks, with hardly any brain power required.
That is the question. Small sample sizes are always troubling, but after 168 regular-season NBA games, we can see two very important league-wide trends continuing this year: a faster pace, and more 3-point shooting. Let's take a gander at those numbers for a second.
2011-12: 91.3 possessions per game; 18.4 3-point attempts per game
2012-13: 92.0; 20.0
2013-14: 93.9; 21.5
2014-15: 93.9; 22.4
2015-16: 95.8; 24.1
2016-17: 96.9; 25.9
That's the new NBA for you. Even while people across the league are “only” shooting 34.7 percent from behind the arc, the lowest rate since 2003-04, the players are making up for it with more possessions and more 3-point attempts. A lot more. And it's a very good thing. Analytics gurus have been digging the long ball for quite some time; Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors proved them right by winning the title two years ago.
While we can expect the NBA to keep racking up high scores, the same can't be said for the OVER. The more people jump on the bandwagon – maybe you, for instance – the higher the totals will get on the NBA odds board, and the tougher it will be to capitalize. Always be prepared to jump off the bandwagon when the time is right, but for now, let's roll.