Let’s keep this train rolling for a third week in a row and find the best NBA totals to bet on this week. For those following, we’re on a solid 11-6 run the last two weeks on the back of these rankings.
I’ll summarize the process again below, for anyone new. To give each team one overall ranking for both offense and defense, I’ve averaged their league rank for three categories:
- Points per game
- Effective field goal %
- Efficiency (off/def)
This has helped give a clearer picture on which offenses are strong and which defenses have been struggling. I’m also keeping tabs on pace, which is a combination of possessions per game and field goals attempted per game.
Shoutout to TeamRankings.com. The guys over there have organized such a treasure trove of statistics – I appreciate the availability and depth the site offers.
This is meant to be a resource. I’m focused on betting over/unders – but you can use this information to guide your spread picks or player props. Spoiler: I’ve noted a couple of spread picks below.
|Offensive Ranking||Defensive Ranking|
NBA Totals to Target This Week
I’m looking for two strong offenses going against two bottom-ten defenses, ideally. If one game has two poor defenses and just one strong offense, I’ll then take a look at pace to see if a team places highly there.
I should note, a few of the Hornet games this week qualified for these picks, but without LaMelo Ball – I need to see how this offense performs before taking an over bet. I’m sure their defense (24th) will only get worse – but still need enough offensive punch.
Let’s get started on the week’s picks.
Indiana Pacers-Milwaukee Bucks OVER 229
This pick is a mixture of a few factors, heavily weighted to the offensive side of the ball. The Bucks and Pacers come in ranked 11th and 12th defensively, respectable numbers.
The Bucks offense is second-best in the league, while the Pacers come in ranked 13th. It’s the pace rankings that put this pick over the edge for me, both top-ten in the league.
Indiana and Milwaukee are both an identical 24-16-1 against overs this season.
Denver Nuggets SPREAD at Orlando Magic
This won’t be the first bet against Orlando this week, their rankings on both ends of the floor are abysmal. Hoping that the Nuggets on the road may help keep this spread somewhat reasonable, but I’ll be taking it unless egregious.
Trends may help keep this spread reasonable. Orlando is 20-21-1 ATS, while Denver is just 19-23.
Brooklyn Nets-Portland Trail Blazers OVER
A juicy matchup between two top-12 offenses (the Nets are tops in all three categories) and bottom-ten defenses. Don’t expect a low line, but don’t let that scare you.
Brooklyn is 28-15 against overs this season and Portland is 23-19.
Phoenix Suns SPREAD at Orlando Magic
Yup, we’re right back to the well with the Suns on Wednesday against the Magic. Phoenix is one of the rare teams in the NBA to be ranked in the top-ten on both offense and defense, while the Magic are one of the unfortunate few to be ranked in the bottom-ten of both rankings.
This one should be big once again, but we’re riding.
Phoenix is 8-1 ATS on the second night of a back-to-back and a league-best 28-13 ATS on the season. The Magic are 5-3 ATS on back-to-backs.
Dallas Mavericks-Minnesota Timberwolves OVER
This is another case of mixing rankings, but on the whole, this is a bet against two poor defenses in Dallas (19th) and Minnesota (26th).
The Mavericks’ offense is flirting with top-ten rankings, while the Timberwolves play at the second-highest pace in the NBA.
Minnesota is 22-20 against overs and Dallas is 18-23. This should be a reasonable line come Wednesday.
Chicago Bulls SPREAD vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Bulls are a surprising inclusion near the top of both rankings, 10th on offense and 15th on defense. Meanwhile, the Cavs are dead-last on the offensive end and 24th on defense. Advantage: Chicago.
The Bulls are fourth-best in the NBA with a 24-17 ATS mark. Cleveland is second-to-last, at 17-25 ATS.
Golden State Warriors-Sacramento Kings OVER*
*Updated 3/23: I need to see this over come in close to 220 or lower to take it… with Curry out of the lineup for another week a lot of the offensive ratings for Golden State go out the window. Looks like I’ll be taking Thursday off…
The only game from Thursday is a bet on pace, with both teams ranked inside the top-ten for the metric. It helps that Sacramento sports the league’s worst defense. Oddsmakers have caught on to the poor defense, with higher and higher over lines the last few weeks.
Thankfully for us, the Kings haven’t been able to hit these numbers, bringing the lines back down to a more reasonable number. We should be set for something in the low 230s in this one.
The Kings are 26-16 against overs this season, while Golden State is 17-26.
Denver Nuggets-New Orleans Pelicans OVER
What would these articles be without an inclusion from the Pelicans, the best team against overs this year?
New Orleans has the perfect recipe for overs, with a top-ten offense and a bottom-ten defense. Denver’s offense is ranked third in the NBA, with a defense down at 17th. This is a juicy one with two of the more consistent teams to hit overs this season.
New Orleans is hitting their overs 69% of the time – nice. Denver isn’t far behind, at 62%.
*Cleveland team total under would be a target, but with LeBron out, the Lakers above defensive rankings aren’t likely indicative of how they’ll perform this week
Milwaukee Bucks SPREAD vs. New York Knicks
*Edit: The Bucks are resting all starters. This pick is off.
Milwaukee should be able to handle New York’s #1-ranked defense, with their #2 offense. The Bucks defense is also strong – the same can’t be said for the Knicks offense. Add in the massive disparity in pace (Milwaukee: 1st, NY: 30th), and I think the Bucks control this game from start to finish.
New York is 24-18-1 ATS this year, Milwaukee is 19-22.
Dallas Mavericks-New Orleans Pelicans OVER
I think we’ve mentioned these a teams enough this week – they’re clear targets.
Boston Celtics-Oklahoma City UNDER
We’ll wrap the week’s picks with an under. The Celtics offense has been struggling a bit, currently 15th in the NBA, with the Thunder’s offense down at 27th.
The under pick becomes a favorite when you see two upper-half defenses, and two teams ranked 19th and 21st in pace of play. I’ll bank on a low-scoring affair because of it.
Boston is 22-20 against over/unders and the Thunder are 21-21.
That will do it for this week’s picks! I will update these rankings after every Sunday and get my picks out for the entire week. Make sure you’re following on Twitter, @griffybets, so you don’t miss the latest. Hop on board, there’s plenty of room.
2021 NBA Picks: