I must admit I was wrong.
Not only did I watch part of the NBA All-Star Game last Sunday, I enjoyed it. Actually, I enjoyed the fourth quarter and the intensity that was displayed by the players on both Team LeBron and Team Giannis.
Apparently, I was not alone. Overnight ratings showed an eight percent increase in viewership over last season and the new format was generally well received.
It’s long been held that over the course of a season the linesmaker does a pretty good job in terms of having all teams 50/50 ATS. Of course, perfection is unrealistic and while most teams come close to that split, there are usually teams at either ends of the spectrum.
Through the All-Star break, the team coming closest to perfection has been Golden State. The Warriors start post-All Star break play 27-27-1 ATS. Only two teams have cashed better than 60 percent of their point spread decisions and only two others have cashed under 40 percent. Oklahoma City has the NBA’s best ATS record of 36-19 (65.5 percent.) Boston is next at 32-20-2 (61.5 percent.) The NBA’s most costly team has been Minnesota at 18-33-2 ATS (35.3 percent) followed by Detroit (21-35-1, 37.5 percent.)
The other 26 teams fall within a range of 41.8 to 57.4 percent with each within eight or fewer games of .500. That compares to the aforementioned quartet with each of them 12 or more games above or below .500.
Interestingly, those four “extreme” teams have played close to their full season ATS percentages over their last 20 games prior to the All- Star Break. Oklahoma City has gone 13-7 ATS, Boston 12-8 ATS, Minnesota 5-15 ATS and Detroit 7-13 ATS.
The range between highest and lowest is narrower for Totals. Only two team have had more than 60 percent of their Totals decisions go Over as Dallas is 34-20-1to the Over (63.0 percent) and San Antonio 33-20-1 (62.3 percent.) No team has cashed more than 60 percent on the Under with the closest being Houston’s 31-21-1 mark to the Under (59.6 percent).
For the season there have been 420 Overs, 385 Unders and 13 Pushes using the closing lines from the Westgate (52.2 percent going Over, ignoring pushes.)
There have been 51 games that went into a single overtime and two more than went two overtimes. Of those 53 games that went beyond the 48 minutes of regulation play, only 12 still stayed Under the total despite the extra 5 or 10 minutes of play.
Of the 41 games that had overtime and went Over the total, only 23 had gone Over the total by the end of regulation. Seventeen of the games were Under the total after 48 minutes and one other game was Pushing the total.
Two of the 30 teams have had more than two games that were Under the total after 48 minutes but resulted in the Over tickets cashing due to the extra time. San Antonio had four such games and Detroit three.
Thus the Spurs 33-20-1 “actual” Totals record would be 29-24-1 were it not for overtime. Similarly Detroit would be 31-26 to the Over instead of its listed record of 34-23.
It’s important to keep in mind the context in which data is presented. Such information, on its surface, can often be misleading. It’s a concept I’ll discuss next week and has applications in all sports on which we wager.
Nuggets at Thunder: Both teams are playing their first game after the All-Star break. Denver won their only prior meeting, 110-102 at home in mid December.
Denver played well in the weeks leading up to the break, going 8-3 both SU and ATS. OKC was just as sharp, going 10-3 SU, 9-4 ATS.
This game has greater significance for the hosts who trail Denver by five games in the standings, tied for the sixth seed while Denver sits second.
Nikola Jokic has been playing his best ball of the season for the Nuggets and the team is regaining its health as both Paul Millsap and Jamal Murray have returned after each missed nearly a month. OKC has been one of the more pleasant surprises to date but with both teams fresh after more than a week off the edges lie with Denver and their better balance and greater depth. NUGGETS
76ers at Bucks: Both teams began post-All-Star play on Thursday. The home team has won each of their first two meetings by nearly identical margins. Philadelphia won by 12 on Christmas Day and Milwaukee won by 11 on Feb. 6.
Giannis Antetokounmpo continues his quest for back-to-back MVP awards but his supporting cast should not be overlooked. Philadelphia matches up nicely against the Bucks with its strong inside presence. Milwaukee lost its last game before the All-Star break and has yet to lose back-to-back games this season. The Sixers are an NBA-best 25-2 SU at home but a woeful 9-19 on the road. They are 1-10 ATS in the last 11 on the road and are 0-7 both SU and ATS as road underdogs since Dec. 31. BUCKS
Celtics at Lakers: This is each team’s second game after the break with each having played on Friday. In their only prior meeting the Celtics blew out the Lakers 139-107 on Jan. 20.
Projected to win 48 games this season the 41-12 Lakers are on a pace to win 63. But they are just 4-8 SU and ATS against the top teams they’ve faced, those winning at least 65 percent of their games. Boston is 6-4 SU against such teams, 9-1 ATS.
The Lakers are likely to be favored here as they’ve been by 2.5 points or more in all home games to date. There are also intangibles to consider as the memorial tribute for Kobe Bryant takes place the next day and the Lakers seek to avenge that 32-point loss a month ago in which both LeBron James and Anthony Davis played poorly. LAKERS
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