There are two more weeks in this exciting regular season. The playoff race is hot and parity is the highest it has been in a long time. It makes being an NBA fan more fun.
This week’s column will mark the final weekly column as next week’s final week of the regular season is usually unpredictable with some teams shutting it down and other teams making a final push to secure seeding.
Totals went 29-22 (56.8%) to the under in Week 23, which will bring the season-to-date over/under record back to the 50% mark at 554-555-11.
Key Totals Trends to Watch
Totals went 29-22 (56.8%) to the under in Week 23. This takes the season-to-date over/under record up to 554-555-11 (50.0%).
Both the average scoring (223.3) and closing totals (225.8) were lower in Week 23. Pace slowed down to 96.4, the lowest weekly average all season long. There weren’t as many matchups between the high-scoring teams as weeks past. Also, teams may be slowing down the pace to get ready for the playoff speed.
As mentioned last week, 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 138-91-1 (60.3%) 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 28: Golden State Warriors vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Tues. March 29: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Wed. March 30: Phoenix Suns vs. Golden State Warriors
Wed. March 30: Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Fri. April 1: Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Sat. April 2: Utah Jazz vs. Golden State Warriors
Sun. April 3: Dallas Mavericks vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Recent Under Trends
Bulls: 14-4 to the under in last 18 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.
Jazz: 11-3 to the under in last 14 games
Their offense has taken 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. They are first overall in Offensive Rating this season, but only 10th since the All-Star break. They have also slowed down the pace dramatically and are 29th in Pace since the All-Star Break, per NBA Advanced Stats.
Raptors: 14-6 to the under in last 20 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.
Bucks: 6-2 to the under in last eight games
The market has set high expectations for Bucks’ totals over the last few weeks and they have not been able to meet them. Brook Lopez’s return improves their defense and slows the game down. Monitor Jrue Holiday’s status as he has a huge impact on the Bucks’ offense – they are 12-2 to the under when he sits.
Mavericks: 9-2 to the under in last 11 games
Our favorite under team has not disappointed. There is not much to add here outside of what we’ve consistently seen from them all season: A surprisingly stout defense and the league’s slowest pace.
Rockets: 6-0 to the under in last six games
Their defense has improved since the All-Star break and their pace has slowed down. They are experimenting with new lineups and developing some of their younger players. They’ve ramped down the minutes for Eric Gordon, one of their most potent scorers.
Spurs: 8-2 to the under in last 10 games
Much like the Bucks, the market had set some lofty expectations for the Spurs. Fatigue and injuries are an issue here. Doug McDermott is out for the season and Lonnie Walker has missed a few games. Both are two of their better scorers.
Recent Over Trends
Thunder: 14-4 to the over in last 18 games
The Thunder continue to keep rolling with overs. Derrick Favors has been out, forcing them to play smaller lineups. Their Defensive Rating ranks 29th (119.4) and Pace is fourth (101.7) since the All-Star break.
Cavaliers: 6-1 the over in last seven 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: 7-3 to the over in last 10 games
The Kings have been great to the overs, but De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis missing time have me avoiding this team.
Suns: 7-2 to the over in last nine games
The Suns have averaged 127.4 points per game during these nine games and have the league’s best Offensive Rating during this timeframe. Chris Paul is back in the lineup and this shoul
d improve their defense. Also, with the first seed locked up, don’t be surprised if the Suns start resting some of their players for the playoffs.
Celtics: 5-0 the over in last five games
The Celtics have been on a tear lately. Not only do they have the best Defensive Rating in the league, their offense has caught fire. They are 1st in Offensive Rating (133.5) in this five-game timeframe. I would be cautious of Monday night’s game, as they appear to be punting this game to get their guys some rest.
Lakers: 7-3 to the over in last 10 games
The Lakers are the train wreck you can’t stop watching. LeBron James is getting his. He is averaging 30.1 points per game and has scored 30-plus in four consecutive games. Their defense is awful and if Dwight Howard sits and they start James at the center, that is usually a combination for an automatic over.
Nuggets: 6-1-1 to the over in last eight games
The Nuggets have hit one of their over streaks again. I think fatigue is a factor here and it has adversely affected their defense. During this timeframe, they are 28th in Defensive Rating (120.5).