NBA Over/Under Trends: Are the Chicago Bulls Turning a Corner on Defense?

Action Network NBA analyst Austin Wang looks at league-wide over/under trends and highlights how to approach the totals for two teams this week.

Unders made a nice comeback in Week 21 as 30 of the 53 games (56.6%) went under the total. In a bit of a surprise, the Minnesota Timberwolves and San Antonio Spurs, two high-scoring teams that have been successful with overs, both went 4-0 to the under last week.

The market may have over-adjusted for their totals and their games have been falling short recently. On the other hand, the Wizards and Thunder are two unlikely teams that have trended towards the over as of late.

Here is the weekly market update (through March 13) with a new sortable table for average scoring and over/under records by team.

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Key NBA Over/Under Trends to Watch

  • Totals went 30-23 (56.6%) to the under in Week 20. This takes the season-to-date over/under record down to 504-504-10 (50%). How is that for an efficient market?
  • The average closing total was 227.1 in Week 21, the highest it has been all season long. The market was quick to adjust to the recent influx in scoring.
  • Average scoring was at 226.8 points per game in Week 21, slightly lower than what we were seeing right out of the All-Star Break.
  • We have seen an increase in Pace post All-Star Break. These teams have been revitalized and we are seeing its effect on the scoring and faster tempo of the games.
  • We have seen nine games with a closing total of 240 or greater. Those totals have gone 6-3 to the under.

Recent Under Trends

  • Clippers: 7-2 to the under in last nine games
    • Struggling offense, solid defense and a slow tempo is a good recipe for unders. The injuries keep on piling with Robert Covington joining Norman Powell and Paul George as big names on the injury report. Head coach Tyronn Lue has also mentioned some of his starters playing heavy minutes may get a break, so guys like Reggie Jackson may get a breather soon.
  • Magic: 7-2 to the under in last nine games
    • The Magic are ranked first in Defensive Rating (106.4) during this nine-game timeframe. On the flip side, they are 28th in Offensive Rating (106.2). Markelle Fultz’s return has given them a boost on the defensive end.
  • Mavericks: 4-0 to the under in last four games.
    • Our favorite unders team returned to its old ways last week. The absence of Jalen Brunson took away a scorer in the Mavericks’ offense that was already mediocre to begin with. They’ve had to rely on what they do best: defense. The defense looked great in their road win against the Celtics on Sunday.
  • Spurs: 6-1 to the under in last seven games
    • A little bit of regression in scoring and fatigue has hit the Spurs. Also, the market has over-adjusted for Spurs’ totals making bettors pay a huge premium to bet the over. Gregg Popovich punted the last game against the Pacers and sat Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl.
  • Timberwolves: 4-0 to the under in last four games
    • Like the Spurs, you are paying a hefty price tag to bet Timberwolves’ overs. They are seeing consistent closing totals in 230s and have not delivered against those lofty expectations in the last week. With games against the Spurs, Lakers and Bucks this week, you can expect to see some high scoring, but don’t be surprised if all three of these totals close above 240.
  • Bulls: 10-3 to the under in last 13 games
    • DeMar DeRozan’s shooting has continued to cool off. Zach LaVine is not 100%, which hurts their offense, and Alex Caruso is back in the lineup, which helps their defense.

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Recent Over Trends

  • Thunder: 9-2 to the over in last 11 games
    • The Thunder had another strong week of overs. Derrick Favors has been out, forcing them to play smaller lineups. Their Defensive Rating ranks 29th (121.3) and Pace is first (103.5) since the All-Star Break.
  • Wizards: 11-3 to the over in last 14 games
    • Their offense has looked a lot better in the last three weeks. Their defense has remained poor. Also, Kristaps Porzingis has looked pretty good in his three games back. The Wizards haven’t exactly faced the cream of the crop in quality defensive teams, so it will be interesting how they fare against the Warriors on Monday night.
  • Lakers: 5-1 to the over in last six games
    • A small-ball lineup with LeBron James at the center position is always a nice look for the over.