Big Al's NBA System of the Week

by Al McMordie

Sunday, Dec 31, 2023
As we close out the 2023 calendar year, the attention of many sports bettors will start to shift from football to basketball.  Of course, I've been focused on hoops since October (I'm 142-99-3 this basketball season), but a lot of bettors will wait for the football schedule to thin out before playing basketball.

The NBA is about 40% through its regular season, and it's been an entertaining season.  There are many upstart teams in the Western Conference looking to dethrone the Denver Nuggets, including the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves.  The Eastern Conference, though, is being dominated by the usual suspects -- Boston, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee.

This season, scoring is way up, with the Indiana Pacers averaging 126 ppg, and Memphis at the bottom with "only" 107.2 ppg.  Overall, there are six teams averaging north of 120 ppg (Indiana, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Boston).  With higher scoring comes greater variance with regard to the point spread.  This season, the average final score has been 10.0 points away from the point spread, which is in line with the last several years.  Another by-product of higher scores is a greater number of blowouts.  And there have been 25 games so far decided by 30+ points, which is also similar to recent seasons.

Here are the point spread differential data for the last 7 NBA seasons (with the number of 30-point blowouts in parentheses).

2023-24:  10.0 point differential (25)
2022-23:  9.76 point differential (46)
2021-22:  10.64 point differential (79)
2020-21:  10.69 point differential (59)
2019-20:  9.87 point differential (40)
2018-19:  9.92 point differential (56)
2017-18:  9.44 point differential (40)

And, to put this data into context, here are the numbers for 10, 20 and 30 seasons ago.

2013-14:  9.18 point differential (39)
2003-04:  8.80 point differential (23)
1993-94 8.95 point differential (47)

All of this background leads us to our NBA System of the Week.  What we want to do is:

Play on any favorite with revenge from a loss by 30+ points earlier in the season.

Since 1990, this revenge angle has gone 113-91-2 ATS (55.3%).  Today, there is one play:  New Orleans -5.5 over the Los Angeles Lakers.  Earlier this month, the Pelicans and Lakers matched-up in Las Vegas, in the In-Season Tournament semi-finals.  Los Angeles blew out New Orleans, 133-89.  With revenge from that 44-point pasting on their minds, look for New Orleans to exact some revenge this evening.

Good luck, as always,
Al McMordie.   

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