Philadelphia, PA – Thirteen of the 30 NBA teams averaged 100 points per game last season while more than half the clubs gave up 100 or more. Two years ago 18 squads topped the century mark with 15 allowing 100 or more on a nightly basis.
Given this season's compacted schedule, it is fair to say that many clubs have been unable to continue at that torrid pace, particularly with so many injuries throughout the league.
Prior to Sunday's action, only three clubs (Miami, Denver and Oklahoma City) were averaging 100 points per game. On the opposite end of the spectrum, four teams (Charlotte, New Orleans, Detroit, and Toronto) garnered fewer than 90 points per contest. Furthermore, only six squads have allowed more than 100 points per game, far below the 16 and 15 that graced the league in the 2010-11 and 2009-10 campaigns, respectively.
The folks benefiting most from these outcomes are the gamblers who are consistently playing the "under" rather than a particular side.
Check out these numbers. Only five of the 30 teams have more "overs" than "unders," and two of the five are just one game above the .500 mark. In addition, just seven teams have gone over the total at least 15 times this season while a whopping 26 have gone under the total that same number of times.
It is a humbling task for most people who bet on sporting events as the general public usually comes out on the losing side. That is why it is so important to find the trends that can lift a gambler out of the red and into the black. Betting the "under" on a consistent basis will accomplish that task.
Let's take a quick look at the clubs at the top of the "under" list and see how they have been doing of late.
New York leads the way with 22 "unders," compared to just nine "overs." The Knicks have gone under the total in each of their last three games, and seven of their last nine. Phoenix, next on the list at 19-10-2 to the under, has four "unders" in its last six contests. Moreover, the Suns have failed to reach the century mark in each of those six matchups.
New Orleans is 19-11 to the under in 2011-12, including three consecutive "unders." Surprisingly, the Hornets have won all three games for their first three-game winning streak since last April.
Another example is Houston as the Rockets have gone under the total in eight of its last 10 games. That run has brought them to 19-12 overall to the under.
The best strategy to use this shortened season is to stick with what works. And as long as the oddsmakers fail to compensate for the low-scoring contests that appear in NBA arenas on a nightly basis, the time is right for picking up more easy winners by playing the "unders."
BETTING SIDES INSTEAD OF TOTALS
On the opposite end of the betting spectrum is wagering on the favorite or underdog depending on how many points a team is giving or getting. The problem with that strategy is that 15 teams are above the .500 mark against-the-spread while the other 15 squads are below that mark.
Given those totals, it is almost impossible to consistently come out ahead when betting a particular side. For example, let's take the top-six teams in terms of their ATS records and tally up the last three games played by each squad.
The 76ers have not only been the surprise team of the league at 20-11 approaching the midway point of the season, but they also have the best ATS record at 19-12. However, being No.1 does not automatically guarantee consistent winners since the Sixers are 0-3 ATS in their last three games, not to mention a 1-5 ATS mark since February 8th.
The Mavericks are right there with Philadelphia at 19-12-1. Fortunately for those folks betting Dallas, the team is 2-0-1 ATS in its last three games. Nevertheless, the Mavs were 2-4 ATS in the six games prior to their recent stretch so a 4-4-1 overall mark will certainly not help bettors stay on the plus side of the ledger.
The other four clubs in the top six in terms of ATS records are a combined 6-5-1 in their last three games so when the numbers of all of the teams are meshed together, the results show an extremely average 8-8-2 ATS record.
In recapping the above information, the one question I ask is which trend looks to be the one paying off: betting the under or ATS?
When you consider the fact that the Knicks, Suns, Hornets and Rockets are a combined 9-3 to the under in each of their last three games, while the 76ers, Mavericks, Bulls, Clippers, Spurs and Nuggets are a combined 8-8-2 ATS, the answer seems to be an obvious one.