Last week, I started this column to track relevant early season NBA totals trends and teams to target based on a number of key factors.
I highlighted the Memphis Grizzlies as a team to target for overs and all four of their games ended up going over the total. They’ve now gone over the total seven games in a row. Ja Morant’s injury (Get well soon, Ja!) makes it tough for this run to continue, but it is something we will keep an eye on.
Also, I highlighted the Washington Wizards as a team to target for unders. They went 2-2 as their defense took a step back in their games against the Pelicans and Mavericks.
Here is the weekly market update through Week 6 (week ending Sunday Nov. 28):
Key Totals Trends to Watch
- Is scoring back? Overs went 30-22 (57.7%) in Week 6, the first week there were more overs than unders. This brings the season-to-date over/under record to 134-170 (44.1%).
- Average points scored per game was 218.9 in Week 6. This brings the season-to-date average up to 214.6. There were two high-scoring overtime games (Kings vs. Lakers, Hornets vs. Rockets) that drove these averages up, but broadly, the offense has looked a lot better.
- The average closing total this season is 217.4. The average closing total in Week 1 was 223.2, consistent with average scores last season. Those totals dipped down to 216 in Week 6.
- It appears that the dip in offense and scoring in Week 5 were indeed influenced by the low-scoring matchups and the injuries to various major superstars that week. Week 6 saw an increase in Offensive Efficiency and Pace. Teams may be shaking the rust off and getting more accustomed to the new rules.
- Fouls and free throw attempts have steadily increased in the past three weeks. It appears the officials are not swallowing their whistles as much as they did at the beginning of the season.
Teams with highest scoring games (220 and above)
- Hornets: Avg: 114.2 | Opp. Avg: 114.0 | Total: 228.2
- Grizzlies: Avg: 110.7 | Opp. Avg: 115.6 | Total: 226.2
- Lakers: Avg: 111.3 | Opp. Avg: 114.1 | Total: 225.4
- Kings: Avg: 110.2 | Opp. Avg: 113.1 | Total: 223.4
- Trail Blazers: Avg: 110.6 | Opp. Avg: 110 | Total: 220.6
Teams with lowest scoring games (208 and below)
- Thunder: Avg: 99.0 | Opp. Avg: 105.9 | Total: 204.9
- Cavaliers: Avg: 103.0 | Opp. Avg: 102.9 | Total: 205.9
- Nuggets: Avg: 102.7 | Opp. Avg: 103.5 | Total: 206.3
- Pistons: Avg: 99.0 | Opp. Avg: 108.1 | Total: 207.1
- Clippers: Avg: 105.2 | Opp. Avg: 102.7 | Total: 207.9
Best Over Teams
- Lakers: 14-8 (65%)
- Grizzlies: 13-7 (63.6%)
- Heat: 10-7 (60%)
Best Under Teams
- Warriors: 6-14 (30%)
- Thunder: 6-13 (31.6%)
- Pelicans: 7-15 (31.8%)
- Bucks: 7-14 (33.3%)
Recent Under Trends
- Warriors: 7-2 to the under in last nine
- Knicks: 9-1 to the under in last 10
- Magic: 4-0 to the under in last four
Recent Over Trends
- Blazers: 7-3 to the over in last 10
- Suns: 5-1 to the over in last six
- Raptors: 7-2 to the over in last nine
- Grizzlies: 7-0 to the over in last seven
- Heat: 9-3 to the over in last 12
- Jazz: 5-1 to the over in last six
- Nets: 7-2 to the over in last nine
- Nuggets: 6-1 to the over in last seven
Teams in the Spotlight
Hornets games are the highest-scoring in the NBA (228.2 points per game). They are 12-10 to the over this season and are one of the five teams that have gone over their total more than 50% of the time. The market is aware of this and prices their games accordingly, however, I think this run can continue, especially with the absence of Mason Plumlee.
The On/Off numbers show that with Plumlee off the court, Charlotte’s Pace increases from 99.6 to 101.2 and the Offensive Efficiency increases from 107.5 to 116.5. The Hornets have started P.J. Washington in his spot. This helps the overall offense, but their defense suffers as he does not have the size to compete with some of the bigger frontcourts.
They’ve scored 133 and 143 in their last two games. If Plumlee continues to sit out, continue to target overs.
The Rockets recently benched Daniel Theis, moved Christian Wood back to the center position and shifted Jae’Sean Tate to power forward. This has kick-started the Rockets offense.
The On/Off numbers show that with Theis off the court, Houston’s Pace increases from 100.1 to 103.3 and the Offensive Efficiency increases from 89.5 to 107.6. Taking Theis out of the lineup and having better 3-point shooters (Garrison Matthews, Armoni Brooks) has really opened the Rockets offense.
Their defensive metrics are still poor and they still running at the fastest Pace in the NBA. With an uptick in their offense with Theis out of the rotation, I think they are a good target for overs in the next few games before the market adjusts. They put up 118 against a stout Bulls defense and 146 in the overtime thriller against the Hornets.
They have a four-game slate this week that include a pair of games against the Thunder. Their last game against the Thunder only hit 190 points and both their matchups have gone under. With the Rockets’ recent surge in offense and the Thunder struggling in defense, I think the overs in that matchup looks enticing.